Jeremy Irons Contributes to ‘Poems That Make Grown Men Cry’

Jeremy Irons has chosen a poem to be included in the new book Poems That Make Grown Men Cry, by Anthony Holden and Ben Holden.  The book, produced in partnership with Amnesty International, will be published in April 2014.

poems that make grown men cry

The book is available to pre-order from Amazon.com

In this fascinating anthology, one hundred men—distinguished in literature and film, science and architecture, theater and human rights—confess to being moved to tears by poems that continue to haunt them. Representing twenty nationalities and ranging in age from their early 20s to their late 80s, the majority are public figures not prone to crying. Here they admit to breaking down when ambushed by great art, often in words as powerful as the poems themselves.

On 29 April 2014, at 6:00pm at the Lyttleton Theatre, selections from the book will be read.  More information and a link to purchase tickets can be found HERE.

Poems That Make Grown Men Cry

Grown men aren’t supposed to cry. Anthony and Ben Holden, and Kate Allen (Director, Amnesty International UK), introduce readings from poems that haunt a host of eminent men; they explain why, in words as moving as the poems themselves.

With Melvyn Bragg, Ian McEwan, Mike Leigh, Simon McBurney, Ben Okri and Simon Russell Beale; directed by Richard Eyre.

This Platform is followed by a booksigning.
When you buy your copy from the NT Bookshop, every purchase benefits the NT’s work.

Anthony Grant Portrait of Jeremy Irons

Anthony Grant celebrity portraits: an exhibition in London

SOURCE <– See other celebrity portraits here.

Some 30 years ago, when Anthony Grant’s father died of cancer at the age of 55, Anthony decided he would do something positive to help people with the disease.

He says: “I went home and wrote letters to a long list of well known people I’d always wanted to meet with the idea of photographing them and using my portraits to raise funds for the Royal Marsden Hospital. The response was completely overwhelming and I was soon taking pictures of such diverse figures as John Gielgud, Henry Moore, Anthony Hopkins, Joanna Lumley, Dudley Moore, Harold Wilson, Enoch Powell and John Cleese.

Within a short space of time I was able to hold a series of exhibitions of my work, beginning at the Royal Court Theatre in Sloane Square, before touring the country and displaying the collection at many galleries and museums. I wanted to extend the idea, so I approached my sitters with the idea of photographing them in the various guises of the legendary or historical figure they would most like to have been. This produced an extraordinarily varied response and culminated in the publication of my book “Double Takes” (Robson Books).

Twenty-five years ago the entire collection was put on show at a fund-raising exhibition at the National Theatre. So it is with great delight on my part that the National has offered to stage a retrospective exhibition of this work from Monday 5 March until 24 March.

At this show, I intend to highlight the reasons why the sitters were so forthcoming in the first place – the sad fact being that the cause for which we were raising money then is as valid, if not more so, today. I am linking the National Theatre show to the “Just Giving” website where visitors will be asked to make any donations they can online to the Royal Marsden. Certain key images (signed) will be for sale to help raise even more.”

Jeremy Irons to Be Part of “King James Bible: The People that Walked in Darkness” at the National Theatre

UPDATED POST:  EXCLUSIVE!  Audio of Jeremy’s reading of excerpts from the Book of Isaiah from King James Bible: The People that Walked in Darkness, recorded live at the National Theatre 21 October 2011.  The clip is approximately 1 hour in length.

[Headphones strongly recommended]

Jeremy wore grey. Dark grey trousers, grey shirt and vest, and a long scarf which was beige or whitish. Plus brown boots. Prior to Jeremy reading, Simon Bubb, Maureen Lipman, Prasanna Puwanaraajah, and Emily Taaffe read excerpts from the Book of Esther for about 20 minutes.

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You read it here FIRST! As confirmed by the National Theatre today, Jeremy Irons will at the Lyttelton Theatre at the National on Friday 21 October 2011 as part of the cast of “King James Bible: The People that Walked in Darkness”.

The National Theatre will be taking part in the 400th anniversary celebrations for the King James Bible. An ensemble of leading NT actors, directed by Nicholas Hytner, James Dacre and Polly Findlay, will read twelve extracts from the Book that changed the world.

Read more about the event HERE.

Jeremy Irons to do Henry IV for BBC

Jeremy Irons takes lead in BBC2′s new Henry IV adaptation – from Guardian.co.uk

Jeremy Irons is set to film Shakespeare’s Henry IV, parts 1 and 2, as part of the BBC’s 2012 Shakespeare Season, directed by Richard Eyre.

Irons will feature alongside Tom Hiddleston as Prince Hal and Simon Russell Beale as Falstaff in Henry IV. Hiddleston will then take the lead role in Henry V, which along with Richard II forms part of the BBC cycle of Shakespeare’s history plays to be broadcast in 2012.

Henry IV will be directed by Sir Richard Eyre, the former director of the National Theatre, with Thea Sharrock taking directing duties on Henry V, which goes into production later this year. Henry IV is due to begin filming in January.

Oscar-winning director Sam Mendes has also signed up to helm four new versions of Shakespeare’s history plays for the BBC, it has been announced.

Mendes will be executive producer of Richard II, Henry IV parts I and II, and Henry V as part of a special season devoted to the Bard planned for 2012. They will be shown on BBC2.

The BBC’s 2012 Shakespeare season will be produced by Neal Street Productions with American partners NBC Universal and WNET.

Involving some of the most pre-eminent Shakespearian actors and directors of our time, the films will consist of bold adaptations of Richard II, Henry IV Parts I and II and Henry V, set in the Medieval period and filmed on locations around the UK and Europe. These four films will be linked to the Cultural Olympiad of 2012.

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More details from the Daily Mail:

Producers will be Rupert Ryle Hodges and executive producers Gareth Neame, Pippa Harris and Sam Mendes.

Julie Walters is in discussions to pull a pint or two as landlady of the infamous Boar’s Head Tavern.

Richard Eyre and Thea Sharrock would like the actress to play Mistress Quickly in Henry IV Parts 1 and 2 and Henry V, all of which are being filmed for BBC2 to be screened as part of next year’s cultural Olympiad.

The award-winning Ms Walters has agreed to do the project, but it’s a question of making the filming dates work.

Michelle Dockery, who has found much-deserved fame as Lady Mary in Downton Abbey, is being  approached about playing Lady Percy, Hotspur’s wife, in the Henry IV films.

Joe Armstrong is in negotiations to play Hotspur, and there’s a plan afoot to try to get his father Alun Armstrong to play the Duke of Northumberland — Hotspur’s father. As I told you a while back, Tom Hiddleston is playing Prince Hal, in the two Henry IV dramas, and Henry V.

Richard Eyre will direct the Henry IV films (more than four hours of drama in total).

Jeremy Irons – Playing for Real

Jeremy Irons has contributed to the book Playing for Real – Actors on Playing Real People.

Click on the photo for more...

ACTORS including Jeremy Irons, Simon Callow, Sir Ian McKellan and Liverpool’s own David Morrissey have some interesting observations on the task of playing the roles of real people in the new book Playing for Real by Mary Luckhurst and Tom Cantrell (modern drama professor and researcher at the University of York).

Here’s an excerpt of Jeremy’s interview:

Jeremy Irons on playing Harold Macmillan in Howard Brenton’s Never So Good at the National Theatre:

I learned he had a sense of humour, a twinkle in his eye. He was a little shy and rather humble. I was mainly struck by his dry wit. A lot of the time he is with Anthony Eden, who was famed for his temper, he is trying to diffuse the situation.


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More About Max Irons and the Ian Charleson Awards

Max Irons has been nominated for a 2009 Ian Charleson Award.  Here is more on his competition:
From The Sunday Times
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June 6, 2010

Ian Charleson awards

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To commemorate and celebrate the life of the actor Ian Charleson, who died in 1990, The Sunday Times and the National Theatre collaborate annually to present awards for outstanding performances anywhere in the UK, by actors under the age of 30, in a classical role. This is defined as one in a play written before 1918. The 2009 awards will take place at a private lunch this month. The nominees are:

Max Bennett: Claudio in Measure for Measure (Theatre Royal, Plymouth/ Thelma Holt) and Frank in Mrs Warren’s Profession(Theatre Royal, Bath)

Natalie Dew: Celia in As You Like It (Curve, Leicester)

Hedydd Dylan: Eliza Doolittle in Pygmalion (Clwyd)

Mariah Gale: Celia in As You Like It (RSC, Courtyard, Stratford)

Rebecca Hall: Hermione in The Winter’s Tale (Bridge Project at the Old Vic)

Tracy Ifeachor: Rosalind in As You Like It (Curve)

Max Irons: Max Piccolomini in Wallenstein (Minerva, Chichester)

Tunji Kasim: Lucius/Romulus in Julius Caesar (RSC)

Vanessa Kirby: Regina in Ghosts (Octagon, Bolton)

Keira Knightley: Jennifer in The Misanthrope (Comedy)

Jack Laskey: Orlando in As You Like It (Shakespeare’s Globe)

Harry Lloyd: Oswald in Ghosts (Arcola)

John MacMillan: Malcolm in Macbeth (Royal Exchange, Manchester) and Rosencrantz in Hamlet (Donmar at Wyndham’s)

Ruth Negga: Aricia in Phèdre (National)

David Ononokpono: Orlando in As You Like It (Curve)

Henry Pettigrew: Marcellus/Second Gravedigger in Hamlet (Donmar at Wyndham’s)

Prasanna Puwanarajah: Messenger in Thyestes (Arcola)

George Rainsford: Bertram in All’s Well That Ends Well (National)

Sam Swainsbury: Demetrius in A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Salerio in The Merchant of Venice (Propeller)

Ellie Turner: Agnes in The School for Wives (Upstairs at the Gatehouse)

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Jeremy Irons to read for Auden: Truth Out of Time

Jeremy Irons to participate in Auden – Truth Out of Time – at the National Theatre

The author Josephine Hart is joined by special guests to present her selection of the work of WH Auden; an opportunity to hear the succinct, elegant and unforgettable words of one of Britain’s greatest poets.

With Eileen Atkins, Jeremy Irons and Damian Lewis.

Tickets £3.50/£2.50
Running Time: 45mins

Monday 17 May 2010 – 6:00 pm – at the Cottesloe Theatre

Jeremy Irons attends celebration of Harold Pinter

from The Independent

Harold Pinter: a celebration, National Theatre, London
Some pauses to remember

judelawliawilliamsjeremyironspintertribute

Reviewed by Michael Coveney
Tuesday, 9 June 2009

Sunday night’s celebration of Harold Pinter, who died last Christmas, was a unique occasion which did something none of the fulsome obituaries quite managed: it reminded you how much actors love performing his stuff, what wonderful material he gave them, and how his work defined, to a very great extent, the acting styles of the last century.

And what a range of talent on view, from Colin Firth reprising his definitive performance as the lobotomised Aston in The Caretaker and David Bradley bringing the house down with that play’s hilarious speech about a tramp searching for a pair of shoes in a monastery in Luton, through to Eileen Atkins and Sheila Hancock as a pair of derelict old women discussing night buses in an early sketch that Hancock actually introduced in 1959.

This was like watching Peter Cook and Dudley Moore embalmed in their raincoats. The rhythm and London argot of Pinter’s writing caught the new satire wave, continued the spare, clipped style of Noël Coward to some extent, and allowed the British modern actor to develop laconic, brutal, and mostly post-Christian investigations into the psychology of modern manners and relationships.

Jude Law partnered the lustrous Indira Varma in the double adultery confession from The Lover, and Michael Sheen and Janie Dee played the edgily tense encounter from Betrayal in which her affair with his best friend is first acknowledged; that was being watched by Jeremy Irons, who appeared in the film, and Henry Woolf, Pinter’s oldest friend from schooldays, who arranged the love nest for Pinter and Joan Bakewell, the root of the 1978 play.

Irons wore a stunning pair of red shoes, Gina McKee a mauve dress, Penelope Wilton a much better black outfit than she has for Gertrude in Law’s Hamlet, and the actors sat in a big V, expertly marshalled by director Ian Rickson, beautifully lit by Peter Mumford and joined movingly at the end by students from LAMDA reciting Pinter’s Nobel Prize speech, as they did in the author’s presence last October.

Alan Rickman and Lindsay Duncan crossed swords over a languorous McKee in Old Times, while Douglas Hodge and Samuel West brought Pinter’s outstandingly evocative tributes to the actor-manager Anew McMaster and the cricketer Arthur Wellard to pulsating life. Kenneth Cranham did one of the great speeches from The Homecoming and Andy de la Tour got us delightfully lost in Bolsover Street from No Man’s Land.

Lia Williams, Susan Wooldridge, Roger Lloyd Pack, Harry Burton, Henry Goodman and Lloyd Hutchinson all had their moments. The programme was brilliantly compiled to include a good selection of poems, too, including several written for Pinter’s second wife, Antonia Fraser, and several angry ones, including “Cricket at Night”, done by Irons with great steel.

Lovely stuff indeed: a special treat.
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from The Guardian
by Michael Billington
8 June 2009

Stars celebrate the passion and poetry of Harold Pinter

A first-rate cast paid tribute to the great playwright last night with a series of readings and scenes at the National Theatre.

A great understanding of the heart’s affections … Harold Pinter.

The stars turned out in force last night for a celebration of the work of Harold Pinter, who died last December. Jude Law and Penelope Wilton rushed straight from a matinee of Hamlet to join the glittering onstage ensemble at the Olivier theatre – one that included Jeremy Irons, Colin Firth, Alan Rickman, Lindsay Duncan, Eileen Atkins, Janie Dee and a host of others for whom the memory of Pinter is strong and abiding.

The form of the evening, which was directed by Ian Rickson, had a crystalline, Pinteresque clarity. No eulogies, speeches or florid tributes: simply a focus on the work itself, revealing Pinter’s poetry and polemical vigour. If Pinter’s generosity came across, it was in some of his prose pieces. Douglas Hodge read three extracts from Pinter’s portrait of the great Irish actor, Anew McMaster, in which Pinter recalled playing Iago to McMaster’s Othello before a riotously drunken Saint Patrick’s Day audience. Sam West also reminded us of Pinter’s affectionate tribute to the great Somerset bowler, Arthur Wellard.

The passion and humour of Pinter’s plays was also richly represented. We had David Bradley and Colin Firth doing speeches from The Caretaker: the one evoking the vagrant aggression of Davies, the other the desolate pathos of Aston. We had Eileen Atkins and Sheila Hancock in the sketch The Black and White, as two old women keeping death at bay. I was also constantly reminded of the erotic tension in Pinter’s work. Lia Williams in The Homecoming, the sinuous Gina McKee and the svelte Lindsay Duncan in Old Times, and Janie Dee and Michael Sheen in Betrayal, all reminded us of Pinter’s ability to raise the sexual temperature to boiling point.

But it wasn’t simply an evening of famous names – and here I must declare an interest. At the climax, nine students from the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art, who I directed last year, performed an abbreviated version of Pinter’s Nobel lecture. I am hardly objective, but their energy and attack was deeply moving in that it showed the baton of Pinter performance being passed from one generation to the next. But perhaps the last word should lie with the poetry. To hear three of Pinter’s love-poems to his wife, Antonia Fraser, was to find one’s eyes pricked with tears, and to be reminded of a great playwright’s understanding of the heart’s affections.

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from Whatsonstage.com Blogs
8 June 2009

by Michael Covemey

Sher pleasure with Pinter

I topped and tailed my weekend in the same place, with one or two of the same people.

On Friday night the National Theatre hosted the new exhibition of paintings and drawings by Antony Sher, and on Sunday the Olivier auditorium was packed for a remarkable celebration of Harold Pinter.

Alan Rickman joined the Sher throng on a break from rehearsing his Old Times scene with Lindsay Duncan for the Pinter tribute. And Sher’s cousin, playwright of the moment Ronald Harwood, mingled with fellow South African refugees Sue McGregor, Janet Suzman and Richard E Grant before returning for his old friend Harold’s special evening.

If a bomb had gone off at either event, the British theatre would have had to start all over again this morning. I doubt if so many distinguished folk have ever crowded into the National over one weekend before — and there had already been a big exodus to the Tony Awards in New York where Billy Elliot has won ten gongs, one less than Spring Awakening two years ago (and about ten too many, in my view).

The Sher show has a big new canvas called The Audience, in which you can have fun spotting a wide gallery of heroes and villains in Sher’s life, and a few big oils that are really oustanding. My favourite is that of Mark Rylance in his youth in Stratford, sitting on a sofa like an other-worldly Peter Pan, eyes staring, boots scuffed and discarded. It could be yours for £3000.

There are beautiful crayon drawings of Brian Cox as Titus (Brian turned up in the flesh for the Pinter party), Thelma Holt in New York and Rupert Graves. And there are separate pen and ink studies of Ian McKellen and Eric Porter in the NT’s 1992 Uncle Vanya in which Sher played Astrov alongside those two great classicists.

Gregory Doran, Sher’s partner, is drawn reading against an olive tree, while Sher’s former partner Jim Hooper was excitedly checking out his own representation with his brother Robin. I said hello Robin to Jim and hello Jim to Robin, and they’re not twins or even remotely similar looking, but it was Friday night and the wine was flowing, so nobody cared too much.

The Pinter performance was one of the best tribute shows I’ve ever seen — I do hope somebody filmed it — and was quite beautifully directed by Ian Rickson. Everyone in it was wonderful, even Jude Law who’s taken a bit of a battering for his angry but dull Hamlet.

Michael Sheen and Douglas Hodge were not outshone but certainly matched by David Bradley and Lia Williams, but Jeremy Irons upstaged everyone with his extraordinary red ruby shoes.Not a friend of Dorothy, after all, surely?

Sheila Hancock and Eileen Atkins played two old gals in a cafe like an embalmed Dud and Pete sketch, and the LAMDA students whom Michael Billington directed last October in a Pinter programme joined their professional precursors in a moving finale.

There were some good “starters for ten” questions to pose among ourselves, such as — what was Maggie Smith’s only connection with Pinter? She gave one of her finest early film performances in The Pumpkin Eater which Pinter scripted.

Maggie was accompanying her great friend Joan Plowright, sitting across the aisle from Peter Eyre. Howard Jacobson and Tony Harrison (with his partner actress Sian Thomas) joined other playwrights Hugh Whitemore and Stephen Poliakoff in toasting their great contemporary.

I sat in a critics’ row with Matt Wolf, Vanessa Thorpe (arts reporter on The Observer) and Benedict Nightingale, and our nearest neighbours included Lynsey Baxter, Michael Blakemore, radio producer Ned Chaillet, Timothy West and Prunella Scales (son Sam brought the great Somerset cricketer and Pinter friend Arthur Wellard to life, although Ben Nightingale thought that he was about to recall someone else altogether, the flat-faced old character actor Arthur Mullard).

It was a marvellous evening and one of the best performances was that of BBC arts supremo Alan Yentob roaming the stalls bar in the interval to see if he could find anyone as important as himself to talk to.
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from The First Post
8 June 2009

Theatreland remembers Harold Pinter
Actors, writers and family gather at the National Theatre to celebrate the life of the great playwright
By Nigel Horne
FIRST POSTED JUNE 8, 2009

While Broadway was at the Tonys, many of London’s best-known stage actors spent their Sunday night off paying tribute to Harold Pinter, who died on Christmas Eve, at a memorial celebration at the National Theatre. Hundreds of actors, directors and fellow writers piled into the Olivier Theatre for an evening of readings from his plays, poetry and prose.

“It was amazing. Everyone was there,” said The First Post’s spy. “It was sad to think of him gone but it was also a very funny night, because many of the readings were so hilarious.” Among those who had the house in stitches were Douglas Hodge reading from Mac, Pinter’s memoir of his touring days in the 1950s with the Irish actor-manager Anew McMaster, and Penelope Wilton reading from the monoloque Tess.

Almost every London actor seemed to be involved: among the highlights were Jeremy Irons and Indira Varma reading from Apart From That, David Bradley from The Caretaker and Janie Dee and Michael Sheen from Betrayal.

Lindsay Duncan, Jude Law, Alan Rickman, Gina McKee and Kenneth Cranham were also in the line-up, while students from LAMDA read from Pinter’s 2005 Nobel Prize acceptance speech – a lecture he had to record in London because he was too ill to attend the ceremony in Stockholm.

“I think Harold would have been thrilled, and pleased to see us, all these actors he has kicked around with over the years,” said Lindsay Duncan on the eve of the event. “He was a mighty figure, a universal, unique writer; his work won’t ever go away.”

The audience included directors Peter Hall and Trevor Nunn, and fellow playwrights Stephen Poliakoff and Tom Stoppard.

Pinter’s widow, Lady Antonia Fraser, attended the celebration along with members of her family. She sat quietly at the back of the auditorium, reflecting on the 33 years she spent with the writer of such modern stage classics as The Birthday Party, The Caretaker and The Homecoming.

Fraser let it be known almost immediately after Pinter’s death that she was putting her historical books on hold while she worked on a memoir of her life with him. It has now been announced that the book, Must You Go? My Life with Harold Pinter, will be published next January.

Alan Samson of publishers Weidenfeld & Nicholson described Fraser and Pinter’s relationship as “modern literature’s most celebrated and enduring marriage”.

Fraser, 76, said she was basing the memoir partly on her diaries, which she has kept since 1968, when she was still with her first husband, Sir Hugh Fraser, and partly on personal recollections.

She has stressed that the book will not be the complete life of Harold Pinter, but a love story – “and as with many love stories, the beginning and the end, the first light and the twilight, are dealt with more fully than the high noon in between, described more impressionistically.”
FIRST POSTED JUNE 8, 2009
More People stories

http://www.thefirstpost.co.uk/48520,news,theatreland-remembers-harold-pinter-at-national-theatre-celebration

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