Jeremy Irons to narrate NY Philharmonic event!

Full details on Jeremy’s appearances with the New York Philharmonic


Wednesday, April 28, 2010, at 7:30 p.m., and Thursday, April 29, at 7:30 p.m.

The second program, on Friday, April 30, 2010, at 8:00 p.m., and Saturday, May 1, at 8:00 p.m.

Avery Fisher Hall
10 Lincoln Center Plaza, New York, NY 10023
(212) 875-5656

Valery Gergiev, Conductor
Jeremy Irons, Narrator
Waltraud Meier, Mezzo-Soprano (Jocasta)
Anthony Dean Griffey, Tenor (Oedipus)
Mikhail Petrenko, Bass (Tieresias)
Alexie Tanovitski, Bass (Creon)
Alexander Timchenko, Tenor (A Shepherd)
Mariinsky Theatre Chorus


World-renowned Valery Gergiev, arguably the most exciting interpreter of Stravinsky’s music, leads this all-Stravinsky program.

This evening’s concert features the stories of two great myths: Orpheus, a lush and highly descriptive score portraying a distraught musician who seeks his beloved Eurydice in the underworld; and Oedipus Rex, a powerful opera-oratorio which utilizes vocal soloists, a large chorus and orchestra.

Actor Jeremy Irons will be the narrator for Oedipus Rex!

Dennis Kelly and Maria Aberg discuss ‘The Gods Weep’

Click the PLAY button below to listen to the interview:

Interview: Dennis Kelly and Maria Aberg. The playwright and director of The Gods Weep, a Royal Shakespeare Company production at the Hampstead Theatre, starring Jeremy Irons, talk to Aleks Sierz about this epic play, which depicts the descent into an apocalyptic nightmare of Colm, its turbo-charged capitalist protagonist. Recorded at the RSC.


Jeremy donates St. Christopher’s pendant to auction

Jeremy Irons has kindly donated a gold St. Christopher’s Pendant for a ‘Tokens of Love’ auction.

Jeremy and several other celebrities have donated ‘tokens’ to be auctioned on ebay at from 18 – 28 March, 2010…

or check out the fanpage for further information about the campaign.

Donated by actor Jeremy Irons: a gold (Hallmarked – though unable to read clearly)  St. Christopher’s pendant of triangular form attached to complimentary slip.

Many of the original Coram mothers left ‘love tokens’ to identify their children in case they could come back for them. These were coins or scraps of ribbon, buttons, anything they had. But most were never able to return and so thousands of children lived their lives with only these simple items to remind them of their mothers.

The Tokens of Love campaign is a tribute to the continuing heartache of parents who, for whatever reason, are parted from their children or are unable to care for them.

Coram has been creating better chances for children since 1739. Established as the Foundling Hospital, a home for abandoned children dying on London’s streets, Coram has developed a range of programmes that brings positive change for children today and restores hope for the children of tomorrow.

For more information on Coram go to or

About Coram:

Coram is the UK’s first children’s charity, creating better chances in life since 1739. Coram tackles loss in all its forms and champions what matters most for children: safety, love, education, and opportunity. Coram provides help and support to children who have suffered, who have been separated from their parents, and who are at risk of losing their future. It also works to prevent harm, helping children get the best start in life and giving children and young people the education, confidence and skills to take responsibility for their own lives.

Famous names are donating Tokens of Love to raise funds for Coram’s work, helping the most disadvantaged children deal with loss and move on in their lives. Many of the original Coram mothers left ‘love tokens’ to identify their children in case they could come back for them. These were coins or scraps of ribbon, buttons, anything they had. But most were never able to return and so thousands of children lived their lives with only these simple items to remind them of their mothers. The Tokens of Love campaign is a tribute to the continuing heartache of parents who, for whatever reason, are parted from their children or are unable to care for them. Coram has been creating better chances for children since 1739. Established as the Foundling Hospital, a home for abandoned children dying on London’s streets. For further information please contact Meighan Bell on 020 7520 0357 or email

Sam Irons Interview: 1000 Words Photography

1000 Words Magazine – Sam Irons on Photography


More photos from ‘The Gods Weep’


Photos and Reviews from ‘The Gods Weep’

Photograph by Keith Pattison, 2010

Photograph by Keith Pattison, 2010.

Photograph by Keith Pattison, 2010.

Photograph by Keith Pattison, 2010.

Photograph by Keith Pattison, 2010.


Photo by Benedict Nightingale

Photo by Tristram Kenton


Times Online


The Telegraph

London Evening Standard

The Guardian

The Drama Student

The Stage

Official London Theatre Guide

The Arts Desk

Entertainment Focus

The Daily Mail

Camden New Journal

The Independent



Jeremy Irons: New Interview from The Telegraph

Jeremy Irons: interview

The actor on pink castles, dry-cleaning fluid and why he would rather go ‘nurdling’ than attend his own film premieres

By John Preston
Published: 10:53AM GMT 15 Mar 2010

Jeremy Irons: ?I've always had a desire to live on the outside.  That?s where I?m most comfortable.?

Jeremy Irons: ?I’ve always had a desire to live on the outside. That?s where I?m most comfortable.? Photo: TERRY O’NEILL FOR SEVEN MAGAZINE

I had been planning to ask Jeremy Irons if he still rides a motorbike, but as I’m waiting outside his West London mews house, there is a dark roar from the other end of the mews and he rides up astride a large BMW.

He carefully drapes a tarpaulin over the bike, takes a large Harrods bag out of one of the panniers and unlocks the door.

According to a recent piece in the Daily Mail, Irons is currently going through the mother of all midlife crises, but if he is I must say he’s looking pretty good on it.

At 61, he’s as thin as ever and while his face may be lined and his hair streaked with grey, when he smiles his distinctive grin – simultaneously wolfish and bashful – he looks about 35.

He shows me around, pointing out with obvious pride the alterations he and his wife, Sinead Cusack, have made. Doing up houses, he explains, is the thing that has probably given him the most satisfaction in life. As for acting… Irons gives a kind of lolloping shrug.

‘All right, some things have been admired. You think, OK, but I’m not that great. Filmwise, I invariably look at my work and reckon I could have done it better.

‘I’m also conscious that I’m in a profession where we get more praise than we should compared to the usefulness of what we do.’

He is a singular man. I can’t think of any other actor of comparable stature who would happily invite a journalist into his home at a time when his feelings for journalists might reasonably be veering towards the homicidal.

But then as he says of himself later: ‘I’ve always had a desire to live on the outside. That’s where I’m most comfortable.’

We sit in his study, a small room with shelves full of an eclectic collection of books – Barbara Castle’s memoirs, the latest Colm Toibin novel. There’s no sign of the Oscar he won in 1990 for Reversal of Fortune and I wonder where he keeps it. ‘It’s down in the country,’ he says.

Prominently displayed? ‘No, I’ve got a shelf full of the things. Not Oscars – other awards. I don’t wish to sound blasé, but outside of this country I seem to attract awards. Some of them mean more than others.’

Irons rolls himself a cigarette then fishes in his pocket for a lighter. Instead, he pulls out a large duster. He stares at it in astonishment. ‘What the hell’s that doing there? I must have taken it home with me from rehearsals.’

He’s in the middle of rehearsing Dennis Kelly’s new play, The Gods Weep, which sees his return to the Royal Shakespeare Company after 23 years. He’s playing an immensely rich man who finds himself questioning all that he has achieved.

As Irons always finds whenever he starts work on a new project – and especially so at the moment – people tend to have preconceived notions about him.

‘They do seem to have this strong idea of what I’m like. It’s odd. What I always try to do is say at the beginning: “I’m an absolute c— and I know nothing.” So you strip all those preconceptions away. Besides,’ he adds, not altogether convincingly, ‘I’m actually quite an ordinary bloke.’

I don’t think for a moment that Jeremy Irons is an ordinary bloke. His clothes alone proclaim him as being way out of the ordinary. He has a fondness for big scarves and – as is the case today – his brown corduroys are tucked into his leather boots.

But then I suspect Irons doesn’t really believe it either. Indeed, in almost the next breath, he says that he’s felt different from everyone else for as long as he can remember.

He felt different from his parents as a little boy on the Isle of Wight – his father was a chartered accountant. And at boarding school – which he was off to at seven – he baulked at any attempt to make him conform.

‘They were trying to turn us into these people who “Do Well In The Colonies”. I didn’t like anyone telling me what to do. Never have.’

His schoolboy acts of rebellion were both flamboyant and discreet. ‘I used to have these coloured linings to my jackets – one red and one gold. I also used to wear this very shiny black mac.

‘It seems to me now that I needed to put out signals the whole time saying: “I’m different. I’m not like anyone else.”’

It was while he was at public school – Sherborne – that he first became involved in drama. When he left school – ‘I didn’t have the nous for university’ – Irons toyed with the idea of leading the life of a gipsy.

‘I travelled a lot with my guitar, hitchhiking and busking. I thought about working in a funfair, a circus, or the theatre. One Derby Day, I played in a pub on the edge of Epsom Downs – I had a girlfriend who lived near there. There was a funfair going on. I looked at the caravans that the fairground people lived in and I thought: “F— me, I’m not sure if I can cope with that.”

They were pretty grim – four bunks in each one. Circus I didn’t take too seriously because I’m too big. When I saw this advertisement for the theatre I thought, “I’ll try that”.’

Was he always confident with girls? ‘Well…’ he says, thinking about it. ‘At school, I had this relationship with this girl at the girl’s school in Sherborne. We met outside the dry-cleaners. Even now, the smell of dry-cleaning fluid is one of the most erotic things I can think of.’

Irons says that he’s remained a bit of a gipsy ever since – albeit a staunchly middle-class one. He’s plainly a romantic and I suspect he is a bit of an innocent too.

Not that he’s unsophisticated, far from it. Yet he always seems to have been happy to follow his instincts, not blindly, or heedlessly, but mainly out of fascination to see where they might lead. If at times that’s landed him in trouble, then that’s a price he’s been willing to pay.

Irons likes playing people who have some moral ambivalence to them. He turned down a chance to play Hannibal Lecter in The Silence of the Lambs – in part because he felt there couldn’t be much moral ambivalence about someone who liked eating people.

‘I like doing edgy things, but at the time I had just done Dead Ringers [in which he played identical twin gynaecologists] and was about to star in Reversal of Fortune [playing the suspected murderer, Claus von Bulow]. I thought I just can’t do it; I’m already too far down this road. And when I saw what Tony Hopkins had done, I thought, thank Christ I didn’t do it.’

Whatever Irons may say, he’s a terrific actor, one with a rare capacity to be both mysterious and sympathetic. In Brideshead Revisited, he even managed to make the paralysingly dull Charles Ryder interesting.

His twin brothers in Dead Ringers were delineated by the subtlest of touches and while no one in their right mind could say that Adrian Lyne’s version of Lolita was a masterpiece, Irons was brilliant at portraying a man at once in thrall to his desires and emptied out by them.

When he first became famous – in Brideshead and shortly afterwards in The French Lieutenant’s Woman – Irons continued to play by his own rules, staunchly, even perversely, refusing to do what was expected of him.

I’d read a story that he didn’t go to the premiere of The French Lieutenant’s Woman, but stayed at home re-tiling his kitchen. Was this true? ‘Actually, I was nurdling a floor from some greenhouses that were about to be demolished on Hampstead Heath.’

What’s nurdling? ‘Burgling abandoned property,’ he says with a faintly embarrassed grin. ‘But, in fact, I think I was at the premiere. Maybe it was some other screening I didn’t go to. I can’t remember.’

As for the trimmings of stardom, ‘I’ve never gone for that stuff. Doesn’t interest me. I’ve spent all my money on buildings because I love buildings. So although I’m building-rich [he owns seven houses], I’m not rich rich. You ask my wife or my two sons and they’ll tell you that I ain’t free with the money.’

At times, he says, he’s done jobs just for the money – but not that often. ‘I have played characters where I haven’t been absorbed – you know, what I call a typical film leading man role where you just have to look gorgeous and be attractive and charming. It bores me. I like a bit of dirt, a bit of sand in the oyster.’

Some of Irons’s unconventionality has been deliberate, some inadvertent. Back in 1987, he caused a stink when he smoked a cigarette while sitting next to Princess Diana at a dinner in Newcastle. Nothing so terrible about that – except it happened to be National No Smoking Day.

‘Oh God! It was at this charity do. I said to Diana after the dessert: “Do you mind if I smoke?” She looked at me and said: “You really shouldn’t; it’s not good for you.” And I said: “I know, but I’d really like a cigarette.”

So I had one. I had no idea it was No Smoking Day! Of course, it was really tactless. It made me seem very rude, which I didn’t mean to be…’

Breaking off, he gives a phlegmy smokers’s cough. However inadvertent this was, it still helped to reinforce the idea of Irons’s singularity.

He’s singular in other ways too. When I ask if he has lots of friends, he says: ‘Not really. I’m very open and friendly with people I’m working with, but I’m a very bad friend in that I don’t keep in touch.

‘I do sort of… a bit. I’ve got, I think, one mate who I was at drama school with. He’s wonderful at keeping in touch and because of his example I’ve started doing the same with him. We talk, I suppose, every month.’

On the rare occasions Irons does gravitate towards other people, they tend not to be actors. ‘No, no, the other way around, if anything. When I’m in Ireland, the people I do things with are sailing people or hunting people, and there aren’t that many of them.’

Nine years ago, in Ireland, Irons finished work on the one project that has given him more satisfaction than anything else: restoring Kilcoe Castle in County Cork.

He did a lot of the work himself, spent more than £1million on it and even now is still overcome with a sense of pride and incredulity at what he achieved.

‘Whenever I look at it, I think: “F— me, did I really do that?”’ But having finished the restoration work, Irons did something characteristically unexpected: he painted the castle pink. Or so it was reported in the papers. He, however, insists it’s more of an ochre colour – albeit one ‘which turns brown when it rains’.

At the time I remember thinking that only someone who didn’t give a damn about what anyone else thought of him could have done such a thing.

Was there anything in this? ‘I certainly didn’t want to annoy my neighbours, who I’m on very good terms with. In fact, they all say how much they like it now. But I do think that as you get older, you give a f— less about what people think. That’s one of the wonderful things about age. In many areas, I find I don’t really give a toss.’

Yet other areas still remain contentious − if not in his eyes, then in others’.

At one stage it looked as if our meeting might be cancelled because Irons’s American publicist was worried he might be asked about recent revelations.

In January, a Spanish actress, Loles Leon, was awarded £39,000 in damages from a hotel in Madrid after breaking her wrist and pelvis when she fell down the stairs in Irons’s suite late one night, after arriving with a group of people for a drink.

There have been other incidents too – mostly involving him chatting to models at parties. None of them exactly marked him down as a helpless philanderer, but all were exhaustively documented in that recent Daily Mail article.

How did Irons feel when he read it? He sighs. ‘You live with it,’ he says. ‘The people you worry about are the ones you love – your family. You get a bit cross. You might make a call to your lawyer and say: “Shall we do something about this?” But then you decide it’s crazy, let it go. I’m sort of used to it by now.’

Does he find it embarrassing? ‘I think I’ve developed a skin.’ He lifts a hand. ‘I mean, it’s only newspapers.’ There were also suggestions that Irons and his wife were effectively leading separate lives.

Sinead Cusack is not at home during our interview, but she’s expected back shortly and Irons gives every impression that they’re happy together.

Back in 1998, the two of them were among the largest private donors to the Labour Party. How does he feel now? ‘Disappointed. Very disappointed. It seems such an awful waste. They had such a big majority and there was such a desire for change. I just wish Tony Blair had got more done.’

Increasingly, when Irons looks at the British political system, he dislikes what he sees.

‘I feel there’s far too much government, far too many laws. The hunting ban particularly annoyed me. I do despair slightly at the state of things, but I do nothing so I have no right to despair. If I got off my a—, it would be different – but I don’t.’

He makes himself another cigarette, feeding the tobacco and then a liquorice paper into his rolling machine, then abstractedly spinning the rollers. Flicking his lighter, he leans towards the flame.

Would he say he was a contented man? ‘Ooh…’ he says – it’s part exclamation, part groan. ‘I’ve always believed that the secret to contentment is balance. I try to keep my equilibrium without hurting too many other people.

Sinead sometimes says to me when I’m low, or worried about something: “From where I stand, you have a wonderful life.”

And I have to stop and think: “F— me, I do.” I’m incredibly lucky. I’m absorbed in my work, I get very well paid for it, I have a wonderful family who are all healthy, I have places I love being… Jesus, you can’t ask for anything more than that, can you?’

‘The Gods Weep’ is at Hampstead Theatre until April 3; 0207 722 9301


Rehearsal Photos from ‘The Gods Weep’

Photos by Ellie Kurttz


First photo of Jeremy Irons from ‘The Borgias’

The Borgias - The First Picture of Jeremy Irons as Rodrigo Borgia. Production starts this summer in Budapest, Hungary.


Author Dennis Kelly on ‘The Gods Weep’

Dennis Kelly: I can’t imagine a more violent writer than Shakespeare. ‘The Gods Weep’ author discusses the play.

Dennis Kelly: I can’t imagine a more violent writer than Shakespeare

Evening Standard   09.03.10

People are shocked when they meet me,” says Dennis Kelly. “I think they expect me to kill a cat in front of them or something.” Small wonder. In plays such as Osama the Hero, Orphans and After the End, this mild-mannered 40-year-old has imagined the very worst that human beings can do to each other: assault, abuse, infanticide, terror and race-hate attacks, torture. Oh, and in the grimly funny BBC sitcom Pulling, he and co-writer Sharon Horgan scripted the killing of a sick feline. “I can’t deny the evidence — though I’d like to — that my plays are a bit dark,” he concedes.

Dennis Kelly

Dennis Kelly: “I can be incredibly kind but I can also be a complete sod. Every human being has that capacity, and the denial of either aspect is a lie”

His latest, staged by the Royal Shakespeare Company at Hampstead Theatre, where it previews from Friday, is no exception, although Kelly has stayed true to his habit of adopting a new dramatic form with each new script. The Gods Weep is a “big, unwieldy, flawed and messy” riff on Akira Kurosawa’s film adaptation of King Lear, Ran. It addresses the rapacious human impulses that implicate us all in the recession. Corporate in-fighting in the first act tips imaginatively into civil war in the second. There are several brutal killings and a scene in which a son methodically breaks the arm of the Lear character, Colm (Jeremy Irons), to prove his ruthlessness. “Well, we’re at the RSC,” says Kelly. “I can’t imagine a more violent writer than Shakespeare.”

Dennis Kelly

Black humour: Kelly’s play Osama the Hero

In the third act, he points out, a kind of peace is found as two antipathetic characters learn to rub along together after the apocalypse. “The moments I find most powerful in anything I’ve ever written are the moments of kindness,” says Kelly. “I know I can be incredibly kind but I can also be a complete sod. Every human being has that capacity, and the denial of either aspect is a lie.”

The play fits neatly, alongside David Greig‘s Macbeth sequel, Dunsinane, into the RSC’s policy of commissioning responses to Shakespeare. So it’s a surprise to find Kelly wrote it off his own bat. He started with the image of a man who discovered everything he worked for was a lie, “who created hell, then lived in it”. When the credit crunch happened, economics seeped into the play.

Dennis Kelly

Cult viewing: sitcom Pulling

“When I took [the script] to the RSC I’d been working on it for two or three years and it was a big mess, almost five hours long,” he says. “In the new writing world we tend to iron all the writing out of things and dramaturg them to death. We don’t do that with Shakespeare: we love his plays because they are messy. So I thought the RSC might respond to that in The Gods Weep.” He smiles. “Actually, I didn’t really. I didn’t think anyone would ever put it on.”

Kelly constantly audits the veracity of his responses like this. He is garrulous, blunt-spoken and disarmingly frank, but fierce in his commitment to “truthful” writing. On Pulling, largely based on his and Horgan’s own shameful experiences of drunken dating and shabby flatshares, “it was important not to judge the characters. It wasn’t about laughing at them.” He was surprised recently to be asked by an overseas journalist if he hated his characters. “Of course I care very much about them. But it’s my responsibility to put them in bad situations and see what happens.” He is driven, partly because he started late.

Dennis Kelly

Inspiration: Akira Kurosawa’s 1985 film adaptation, Ran, relocates King Lear to feudal Japan where he is a war lord about to divide his land among three sons

Kelly grew up on a council estate in Barnet, the middle child of five, his father a Catholic bus driver. He left school at 16 and — so the received narrative goes —spent most of his twenties sunk in alcohol and dead-end supermarket jobs, before getting turned on to drama as a mature student at Goldsmiths College in his thirties. The truth is a little more nuanced.

Kelly gets justifiably annoyed with the stereotype of council estates as full of violent, thick, racist tabloid-readers, towards which directors steered him early on in his career. He’s glad the vogue for such plays has passed.
“There’s a huge variety of people that live on estates, especially in London,” he says. “We grew up in a council house, not in a sink estate. We were a bit poorer than other people but it wasn’t a terrible childhood. We didn’t read books, and telly in our house was ITV on Saturday night: I don’t think I went to a theatre, or knew what one was, until I was about 17.” But he also describes the delight of reading alone as a teenager (Lord of the Rings, since you ask), of finding “weird foreign films I didn’t really f***ing understand” on the infant Channel 4, and of joining Barnet youth theatre at 17.

“I sometimes think we patronise our audiences,” he says. “I came across Pinter’s plays at youth theatre, and although I wasn’t particularly smart, when I read the stuff I knew it was good. It doesn’t matter where you come from, you can feel that sort of stuff.”

Tempering this more refined image of Kelly is the heavy drinker who in his twenties was downing “about a bottle of spirits a day”. He was gobby and got into fights. “I wasn’t very good at hitting people but I was very good at being hit. I probably have been beaten up more than the average playwright.”

Finally, after years of trying, he gave up with the help of Alcoholics Anonymous eight years ago, just as Pulling was taking off. He says it’s no accident his theatre career burgeoned after that. “You are a liar as an active alcoholic. The process of getting sober is that you have to face some really uncomfortable truths about yourself, and that is really useful as a writer. It makes you examine what you’re doing.” His experiences fed his writing, and starting late meant he “worked like a bastard” to prove and improve himself.

Now, as well as The Gods Weep, Kelly has a film script about an alcoholic in development. He’s adapting Kleist’s The Prince of Homburg for the Donmar Warehouse in the summer and is also writing a musical adaptation with Tim Minchin of Roald Dahl‘s Matilda for the RSC. Amid all this, he managed to get married to the Neapolitan actress Monica Nappo in Arizona in September. Now based in Deptford, they met five years ago when she was appearing in the Italian premiere of one of his early plays.

“I thought it’d be OK to have a crush on her because she was in another country, but it wasn’t,” he says. They started a clumsily bilingual email relationship. “Thing was, at the time, I was writing After the End, in which a character had a monologue about having an email relationship with a French girl and ends up admitting he killed her,” says Kelly, highly amused. “So there was a point when I said, listen, Monica, I’d better show you this play I’ve been writing …” Fortunately, she obviously saw through the darkness of his writing to the underlying kindness and humanity that characterises it.
The Gods Weep is at Hampstead Theatre (020 7722 9301; from Friday to 3 April.