Jeremy Irons to Receive Award at San Francisco International Film Festival

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Jeremy Irons will be the recipient of the Peter J. Owens Award for excellence in acting at the upcoming 57th San Francisco International Film Festival, kicking off this week and running April 24 through May 8.

The award will be presented on May 1. The SF Film Society and its year-round programming will be the beneficiary of the star-studded fundraiser honoring Oscar winner Irons (“Reversal of Fortune”), who will be filling the shoes of Bruce Wayne’s trusty butler Alfred in the upcoming “Batman vs. Superman” mashup from Zack Snyder.

Meanwhile, Richard Linkater is the recipient of the Founder’s Directing Award; Stephen Gaghan the recipient of the Kanbar Screenwriting Award; and John Lasseter the recipient of the George Gund III Craft of Cinema Award.

Previous recipients over the past decade of the Owens Award are Harrison Ford (2013), Judy Davis (2012), Terence Stamp (2011), Robert Duvall (2010), Robert Redford (2009), Maria Bello (2008), Robin Williams (2007), Ed Harris (2006), Joan Allen (2005) and Chris Cooper (2004).

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An Evening with Jeremy Irons
WEDNESDAY, APRIL 30
7:30 pm Sundance Kabuki Cinemas
1881 Post Street (at Fillmore)
$20 members, $25 general

Buy Tickets

Join the Festival for a very special award night celebrating the career of one of cinema’s great acting talents, Jeremy Irons. Named for the longtime San Francisco benefactor of arts and charitable organizations, Peter J. Owens (1936-1991), this award honors an actor whose work exemplifies brilliance, independence and integrity. The evening will include a clip reel of career highlights and an onstage interview with the artist, followed by a film screening.

FILM SCREENING
The evening includes a special screening of a representative film from the career of the honoree. Film to be announced.

Jeremy Irons on CBS Sunday Morning

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Jeremy Irons talks trash

In the 1995 movie “Die Hard: With a Vengeance,” Jeremy Irons was pure evil as an urbane and elegant bad guy.

As Simon Gruber, he terrorized pre-9/11 New York City, practically in the shadow of the still-intact World Trade Center towers.

Scary stuff . . . but it’s nothing compared to Jeremy Irons’ latest film.

In the new documentary “Trashed,” Irons shows us the terrifying possibility of a future world buried in its own garbage.

“After doing the documentary, how conscious are you, when you walk down the street, of trash?” asked Smith.

“Well, I mean, this part of New York is wonderful, there’s no trash in sight,” Irons said. “And I think it’s a case of out of sight, out of mind.”

“We throw it away and it’s gone?”

“That’s right. It’s clean, it’s lovely, it’s not something we have to worry about. But where does it go?”

Where, indeed? In Indonesia, garbage goes in the nearest river, and eventually out to sea. Worldwide, according to the film, Americans could recycle 90 percent of the waste we generate, but right now we only recycle a third of that — and some of our trash eventually finds its way back into us — such as plastics leeching into our food supply.

It’s weird to see an Oscar-winning actor rooting through trash cans in New York City’s nicest neighborhood, but for Irons, garbage has become, well, personal.

He pulled out one object: “Now this is recyclable, this is great, but it’s half full, so it’s wasted food. Coconut water: Fantastic for you, 100% pure, and it’s thrown away half-full. We waste a huge amount of the food we buy.”

“You have no hesitation to just pick through the trash, Jeremy?” Smith asked.

“No, it’s rubbish. That’s all it is. It’s just dirt. A bit of dirt before you die is good.”

“Celebrities get asked to be involved in a lot of different causes; what was it about trash that made you say, ‘I have to do something’?” asked Smith.

“I wanted to make a documentary about something which I thought was important and which was curable,” he said. “It’s not rocket science. It takes a little effort, it takes a little thought. It takes a little education. I think most people want to do what is right. But they need a bit of organization.

“We make everybody wear seatbelts now. That was a bore, wasn’t it? But we do it, and we don’t think about it anymore. Very simple to do the same with how we deal with our garbage.”

It might not be easy to picture Jeremy Irons as a garbage activist: From his breakout role in 1981’s “The French Lieutenant’s Woman,” he has been in more than 40 movies, at least as many plays, and has won just about every acting award there is.

“I’ve been very lucky,” he said.

“You have a slew of awards that would say you got some talent,” Smith suggested.

“Yeah, if awards mean that. Yeah. Yeah.”

“You don’t think they mean much?”

“I do. I do. And I really don’t want to denigrate them. I think awards are fantastic. I don’t let them go to my head. I always, when I start a new piece of work, I still feel like a plumber, but I don’t know how to do it. I just sort of feel out of my depths — I’m not very good at plumbing!”

Well, he’s good at something. Born in England in 1948, Jeremy John Irons trained as a stage actor before breaking into film.

He’s been married to actress Sinead Cusack since 1978, with whom he has two sons. But on-screen he hasn’t always been such a devoted husband.

In 1990’s “Reversal of Fortune,” Irons was cast as socialite Claus von Bulow, accused of trying to kill his rich wife by giving her an overdose of insulin.

“Did you love getting in Claus von Bulow’s head?” Smith asked.

“I was slightly embarrassed,” Irons said, “and in fact fought off playing him for a while, because he was alive and I thought there was something tasteless about pretending to be someone who was still alive. And so I fought against it. Finally it was Glenn Close who persuaded me. She said, ‘If you don’t play him someone else will play him. You know, come on. Have a crack at it. It’s interesting.'”

Glenn Close was right: the performance earned him the Oscar for Best Actor.

Irons’ Claus von Bulow is a saint compared with his current role in the Showtime series, “The Borgias.” Irons is Pope Alexander VI, a man of many passions.

Off-screen, you might say Irons has become the unofficial pope of recycling — and, in what may be his most important role yet, an elegant and refined voice of caution.

Are we doomed?, Smith asked “I don’t believe we’re doomed because I believe that human nature is extraordinary,” Irons said. ” I think we will be brought to our senses eventually. I think things may have to get worse. I think, I hope we will be brought to our senses. We’re on a highway to a very expensive and unhealthy future if we do nothing.”

“And gloomy future,” Smith added.

“Well, the sun will still shine,” Irons replied.

Jeremy Irons in ‘Cigar Aficionado’ Magazine

Jeremy Irons is featured in the March/April 2013 issue of Cigar Aficionado magazine.

This magazine is a must own for any Jeremy Irons fan. Be sure to buy a copy at your local news stand, book seller or cigar store.

Here are scans and photographs of the magazine. Click on the thumbnails to enlarge the images and read the text.

All images © Cigar Aficionado Magazine [Text by Marshall Fine - Portraits by Jim Wright] No copyright infringement intended.

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Jeremy Irons at The New School for Drama

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Jeremy Irons-97 with Karen Ludwig at the New School for Drama

 

When Academy Award winner Jeremy Irons auditioned for theater school in the 1960s, he wasn’t the shoo-in many would now suspect, given his subsequent accolades. “I just told the admissions panel, ‘Well, I think I might quite like the life of being an actor.’ That’s apparently not what they wanted to hear.” Of the four English schools he applied to, only the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School took the bite. Last Tuesday, New School for Drama students and faculty had a rare opportunity to hear such stories not often told, as Irons peppered anecdotes like this throughout his Q and A session with faculty member and actress Karen Ludwig.

In front of a tightly packed audience at the Drama Theatre, Irons and Ludwig’s hour-long conversation covered quite a range. From love scenes with Meryl Streep (an experience both share actors share: Irons’ A French Lieutenant’s Woman and Ludwig’s Manhattan) speculations on his true calling (“I always thought I’d end up an antique dealer”), and the makings of a good director (“He’s like a great chef; ingredients have to simmer”), the actor’s responses drew in many laughs and, more than once, applause. When asked why he initially pursued acting as a career, Irons said that he “loved the smell, the theatre house, and the idea that everyone involved was working their own life.”

With notable awards such as a “Best Actor” Oscar for Reversal of Fortune, two Golden Globes, and an Emmy, Irons’ work transcends both film and theater. He is commended for his virtuosity in portraying some of literature’s more difficult roles, such as Humbert Humbert from Lolita. Stay tuned via the connect portal for video of the Q and A session.

Jeremy Irons on The Rachael Ray Show

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Jeremy Irons – The A.V. Club Interview

Read the original interview HERE.

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Jeremy Irons on Shakespeare, The Simpsons, and enjoyable inconsistencies

by Will Harris January 31, 2013

Jeremy Irons’ filmography encompasses everything from Disney to David Cronenberg, plus a 1990 Best Actor Oscar win for Reversal Of Fortune, but his first efforts as an actor were on the stage, and one of his initial entryways into the dramatic arts came via Shakespeare’s work. Which explains why he was tapped to host an episode of PBS’ new documentary series Shakespeare Uncovered; Irons’ instalment, airing February 1, will cover Henry IV and Henry V. In conjunction with the show, Irons spoke to The A.V. Club during the Television Critics Association winter press tour about how he came to participate in the program, which of the villains he’s played is the most Shakespearean, and how his training prepared him to play a bar rag on The Simpsons.

The A.V. Club: What was the initial pitch when you were approached about Shakespeare Uncovered?

Jeremy Irons: Well, it was that we were going to make a documentary about the plays, about the locations, where they were written, the historical occurrences around the period, and where Shakespeare diverges and where he follows history, and why. They said to me, “We’ll do it all in four days for you. Do you want to do it?” And I had the time, and I thought it was a very interesting idea. Because anything that opens up Shakespeare to an audience is good. You know, he has a lot of disadvantages. But he’s often taught badly, and people haven’t seen great productions, so they sort of think, “Mmm, I don’t think so. I think that’s a bit heavy.” So anything that can make people realize that he’s a fantastic playwright, a fantastic story-writer, and open it up for them in their minds… well, it must be a good thing.

AVC: Did you have carte blanche to select which plays you wanted to tackle for your episode, or did they say, “Hamlet’s off the tableDavid Tennant gets first pick because he used to host Masterpiecebut anything else is up for grabs”?

JI: [Laughs.] No, I was doing Henry IV at the time [for BBC2’s The Hollow Crown], so they thought it would be interesting if I did the one that included the two plays that I was doing.

AVC: What was your first introduction to Shakespeare?

JI: I think it was The Winter’s Tale… Well, no, no, no, it wasn’t. I’ll tell you what it was: It was reading ’round the class in my English lessons at school. And I think perhaps once a week in English, we would choose a bit of a Shakespeare play, and we’ll all take characters, and we’d sit at our desks and read them. But it wasn’t until I began to see productions at Stratford and… I can’t actually remember the first Shakespeare I saw, though I think it might have been the Hollow Crown series, with Alan Howard. Peter Brook’s Midsummer Night’s Dream, I remember seeing. That was pretty early on. And suddenly I realized how theatrical Shakespeare is, how alive, how wonderful it is when it’s opened up by a great director and a great company.

AVC: Was it Shakespeare that made you want to become an actor?

JI: He was one of many. No, I wanted to become an actor because I wanted to become a gypsy. [Laughs.] I wanted to live the gypsy life!

AVC: You mentioned The Winter’s Tale a moment ago. That was the first Shakespeare play you actually performed, correct? At the Old Vic?

JI: The Bristol Old Vic, yeah.

AVC: The Winter’s Tale is one of the lesser-adapted Shakespeare plays when it comes to film and television. Do you have any theories as to why that is?

JI: Hmm. No, I don’t. But I’d actually love to film it. It’d be very interesting to film, because it’s all about two sorts of people. It’s about the really buttoned-up and the very loose people, the people who are always touching, which is like I am. The so-called Bohemian people. [Laughs.] Especially now, in this world where we’re so politically correct, and you’re not allowed to hold the hand of a little girl under the age of 14, and you’re not allowed to do this, you’re not allowed to do that, you’re not allowed to smack your children… You have to be so correct. And you compare that with the ’60s and ’70s and that time, with hippies and free love. And to have those two societies rubbing up against each other, which you have in The Winter’s Tale, it’s interesting.

AVC: Watching your episode of Shakespeare Uncovered offers a reminder of just how many of Shakespeare’s lines have filtered into pop culture, such as Christopher Plummer delivering the “dogs of war” speech in Star Trek VI

JI: [Laughs.] Yep, yep, yep.

AVC: Do you have a favorite example of Shakespeare being adapted for current tastes in popular culture?

JI: Well, I mean, I saw Ralph Fiennes’ Coriolanus, which was a very interesting way to show the play. Ian McKellen’s Richard III. Again, an interesting film. I suppose you could argue The Lion King, in a way. [Laughs.] We always say that he has entered our language with so many of these colorful phrases that we use in life. I suspect that they were phrases that were being used at that time, which he used in his plays. I’m not sure he necessarily invented them all.

AVC: You mentioned The Lion King, but looking beyond Scar, who would you say is the most Shakespearean villain in your back catalog?

JI: I think Simon in Die Hard With A Vengeance, a man who enjoys creating mayhem and living his own rules. Quite Shakespearean.

AVC: Earlier today, you suggested that you might have a performance of King Lear lurking within you somewhere. Is that something you anticipate letting out anytime soon?

JI: Oh, I don’t know. How soon is soon? [Laughs.] In the next 10 years, let’s say. I’d like to do Iago [in Othello], who is a wonderful character. A smiling villain. I’ve also never done a Don John, in Much Ado [About Nothing], who is a really unhappy man. I’ve always tended to play people who relish playing against the rules.

AVC: Rodrigo Borgia on The Borgias seems to qualify for that category. 

JI: Oh yes. He is wonderfully bad, isn’t he? [Laughs.] He’s a man who… well, one of the great things about Shakespeare is that his characters are inconsistent, and that’s something I think makes him a writer above most writers, because inconsistency is what we as people are full of. We maybe don’t see it in ourselves too often, but we are inconsistent. We think one thing one day and something else another day. We act a certain way one day and another way a second day. And Shakespeare knew that. Now, that’s very hard to play on film. It’s very hard to get a writer who will write characters who are inconsistent. They see it as somehow a failure. But when playing the Pontiff, the great thing is, I’ve had time to develop those inconsistencies. The fact that he was no doubt a man of God—maybe his faith wavered sometimes, but he was a man of God, as most people were then—and yet he is able to authorize assassinations and live in a way which we would think, “Well, that’s not very godly.” But then you look at George W. Bush, and you think, “Well, he was also calling himself a man of God,” but he also sanctioned actions around the world—basically in Iran—where thousands of innocent civilians were killed because of his decisions. So we all contain a bit of that.

AVC: Many actors admit to taking certain TV and film projects solely to subsidize their theater work. Has that ever been the case for you?

JI: It’s sort of incidental, really. I mean, you manage a career, you have to pay bills, and… sometimes I have done work to subsidize my life. [Laughs.] And to subsidize other works, yes. Less so now. Now I’m lucky enough to be comfortable enough that I can just choose what I want to do. It sort of doesn’t matter too much what I’m paid for it, and I do what I enjoy doing now. But when I was starting, yes, very much, television would subsidize my theater work.

AVC: In what way did your Shakespearean training prepare you to play a bar rag on The Simpsons?

JI: It taught me the importance of the smallest character, the most insignificant character, who not only has a great history, but who is as involved and as caring and as emotional as the largest character, the most active character. So it taught me not to take the bar rag for granted and to realize that he was, in his soul, Hamlet. How’s that? [Laughs.]

Jeremy Irons to Attend ‘Trashed’ Preview Screening at 92Y for thoughtgallery.org

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Jeremy Irons – Trashed Preview Screening

Jeremy Irons - Trashed Preview Screening

Date/Time
12/11/2012 – 7:15 PM
From $38

Location
92nd Street Y, 1395 Lexington Ave.
212-415-5500
Official site/reserve tickets

The Oscar-winning star of such films as Reversal of FortuneThe French Lieutenant’s WomanThe MissionLolitaDead Ringers and the TV series “The Borgias,” Jeremy Irons is also a producer, director, and activist. He will join Reel Pieces moderator Annette Insdorf for an onstage discussion after a selection of clips from his movies and a preview of Trashed, which premiered at the 2012 Cannes Film Festival and will be released Dec. 14 in New York.

Irons is the executive producer of this powerful documentary, a wake-up call about global waste. Irons investigates and reveals the extensive pollution of land, water and air around the globe-a threat to the food chain and to future generations. While Irons is outraged, the film also features images of paradoxical beauty as well as a score by the renowned composer Vangelis.

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Reel Pieces – Jeremy Irons, with a Preview of “Trashed” (Candida Brady, Director, 2012, 97 minutes)

The Oscar-winning star of such films as Reversal of Fortune, The French Lieutenant’s Woman, The Mission, Lolita, Dead Ringers and the TV series The Borgias,  Jeremy Irons is also a producer, director and activist.

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