Jeremy Irons in Corriere della Sera Magazine

Jeremy Irons is featured in the 7 June 2013 issue of Corriere della Sera Magazine from Italy.

corriere della sera

Here is a translation of the article:
(Thank you to Barbara Danisi for the translation!)

Jeremy Irons arrives in Italy to read Machiavelli’s The Prince together with Laura Morante.

He says that the only real Prince left is the Pope. He’s the only one who has the power to change the world and make it better. He has already begun changing the Vatican: Jeremy was very impressed seeing the Pope washing people’s feet, that’s what the Church needs. Then he compares Pope Bergoglio with the character he played in the movie Mission, Father Gabriel, they’re both of the Jesuit order.

The game of power has remained the same for years. ‘’ Whether it is better to be loved than feared, or the reverse’’ Machiavelli wrote.

Human nature hasn’t changed, and so haven’t the means to control people. Industries only care about their business, politicians in Bruxelles decide for our lives. It’s the game of power. Those who cheat will always find those who let themselves be cheated.

Jeremy has never thought of becoming a politician. To be a politician you must have great ideals, know society, without accepting compromises, which is the most difficult thing to do.

‘’I’ve always tried to organize my life, and I’ve always said to my sons that the most important thing is to find happiness in life. Even when I choose my roles I choose characters who are far away from politics.’’

In theatre he played Richard II, a man who didn’t want to rule, but found himself on the throne, as opposite to Macbeth and his lust for power and dangers. Jeremy says that in politics there have been some good men, such as Nelson Mandela or Churchill. But every politician is disappointing in the end, leading a nation is a hard task.

Bruxelles has power over almost every European nation. Last year in Italy the prime minister was not voted by people, but imposed and charged to put order in the Italian economics, but having an economist as the head of the government is not a good thing.

Ironically there was a politician in the Irons family: one of his ancestors broke into Westminster parliament riding a donkey to make a petition for democracy.

There is one man that Jeremy admires, and he is Pope Francis. Jeremy likes going to church with his Catholic wife Sinead. ‘’When I was in Colombia shooting The Mission I chose to be barefoot all the time because the Indians didn’t wear any shoes and I wanted to feel like them, feel what they felt, a strong bond with nature and the ground under their feet. You can follow the word of Christ without being influenced by the Church of Rome. Actually the Church has always been far away from people , but I think Pope Francis can change this. It will be hard but he can make it’’.

Very different from Pope Francis is Rodrigo Borgia, a dissolute libertine. ‘’I read a lot about him to play this character. He was more of a king than a pope, he wanted to be rich and powerful but in the end he stained the name of his family forever. Rodrigo is often seen as a negative man, but playing a negative character is very charming! Playing the role of someone who goes against the rule of society is very interesting! There’s this constant fight between the good and the evil inside of us’’.

Then Jeremy goes on talking about Trashed. Films, movies (Jeremy’s favourite movie is L’amour by Michael Haneke) cannot change people but can make us aware of the problems we need to solve.
Jeremy Irons says he wants to stay away from politics, but Trashed is a political film.
‘’We are sinking into trash. We are producing too much trash and it pollutes everything, the water we drink, the air we breathe, the sea. But many industries make a lot of money out of trash, so there’s little interest in facing the issue. It would be easy, starting with recycling and reducing packaging. Incinerators are very dangerous, because all goes into the air and can cause damages to people’s brain. Governments should do something about it but they don’t, they’re not interested. ‘’

In the end Jeremy talks about internet and facebook. They should be places for dialogue, instead every word you say is turned around and given the wrong meaning, as it happened recently when Irons stated his views on gay marriage.

‘’Everyone sees what they want to see, few really listen to what you say and understand what you really are’’ Machiavelli wrote 500 years ago. And so we wait for Jeremy in Florence to explain all of this.

Jeremy Irons at the EU Commission

Brussels, Belgium. 7th March 2013 — British actor Jeremy Irons participated in a talk about plastic waste at the EU Commission. Jeremy was invited by EU Commissioner Januz Potonik to talk about plastic waste in the world. He added his voice to an EU campaign to ban non-recylable plastics, including plastic bags.

 

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From The New Age

British actor Jeremy Irons brought a rare touch of glamour to the European Union’s headquarters in Brussels on Thursday to talk about an issue close to his heart: Trash disposal.

“I refuse to call it waste. ‘Waste’ is a verb, it is what we do. We are wasting our resources,” he said.

His appearance at the European Commission, the bloc’s executive, was in support of a drive to find ways of reducing the mountains of plastic rubbish generated annually, much of which ends up in the world’s oceans.

“What I’ve tried to do is glamourize trash,” Irons said, conceding that it was not an issue that won many votes.

Irons dismissed the tendency to shelve recycling as a matter to be dealt with after resolving more pressing issues, such as the economic crisis.

He said it didn’t take much effort for people to separate their rubbish, adding, “It doesn’t cost me anything to put out my separate bins and I get rather a pleasure out of it.”

The actor said: “We can make money out of recycling,” adding that it also generated jobs.

He referred to the 12 million euros (15.6 million dollars) that Ireland had made by introducing a 15-cent charge on plastic bags, which he said had also reduced the use of new bags by 92 per cent.

Irons said that by contrast his country, Britain, was doing “spectacularly little” on recycling, failing for example to tax plastic bags – “a symbol of waste.”

He said disorganization and vested interests – specifically those of the companies earning money off rubbish disposal and incineration – stood in the way of progress towards better trash management.

Ultimately, however, Irons said it was up to individuals to bring about change – by refusing to buy plastic water bottles, reusing and repairing old goods or by composting, as he did.

“I’m just a bloke,” the actor said. “There are a lot of blokes and women around in the world,” adding that it was their behaviour that would help bring about change.

“Politicians will therefore, in their normal fashion, be able to follow the current mood,” he added.

Last year, Irons produced and featured in a documentary film, Trashed, highlighting the issue of rubbish disposal and the need for more recycling.

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Getting Trashed with Jeremy Irons – from the Wall Street Journal

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Jeremy Irons to Attend ‘Trashed’ Screening in Brussels, Belgium

Source

LOGO CE_Vertical_EN_quadri

The event:

What: 12.30 Joint press conference by European Commissioner for Environment, Janez Potočnik and Jeremy Irons, Narrator and Executive Producer the documentary film Trashed.

The launch will be followed by the projection of the film Trashed in the European Parliament.

When: Thursday 7th March 2013

Where: Berlaymont Press Room, in Brussels
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The news:

The European Commission is publishing a Green Paper on plastic waste to launch a structured discussion about how to make plastic products more sustainable throughout their life cycle and reduce the impact of plastic waste on the environment. The current EU environmental legislation doesn’t specifically address the particular challenges posed by plastic waste. The Green Paper aims to collect facts and stakeholders’ views on the impacts of plastic waste and a way of mitigating them through a European strategy. The consultation consists of 26 questions and will last until end of May 2013. The result will feed into further policy action in 2014 as part of a broader waste policy review, which will look in particular at the existing targets for waste recovery and landfill as well as an ex-post evaluation of five directives covering various waste streams.

The background:

Once in the environment, particularly in the marine environment, plastic waste can persist for hundreds of years. Up to 10 million tons of litter, mostly plastic, end up in the world’s oceans and seas annually, turning them into the world’s biggest plastic dump. The presence of plastic residues, even in the most remote areas of world seas and shores shows that there is a price to pay for unhampered proliferation of plastic waste. Conventional plastic also contains a large number, and sometimes a large proportion of chemical additives which can be carcinogenic, provoke other toxic reactions or act as endocrine disruptors.

Jeremy Irons Talks Trash – from the Guardian

Jeremy Irons talks trash for his new environmental documentary

Read the original article at Guardian.co.uk

Jeremy Irons on the set of movie Trashed

Oscar-winning actor explains why he travelled around the world to highlight the environmental problems caused by our waste

Jeremy Irons, the Oscar-winning actor, has teamed up with the British filmmaker Candida Brady to produce a new feature-length documentary called Trashed. It sets out to “discover the extent and effects of the global waste problem, as he travels around the world to beautiful destinations tainted by pollution”.

Ahead of its first theatrical screenings in the US later this month, Irons answered my questions about the film via email…

We are used to actors/singers/celebrities, etc, highlighting a particular environmental cause, or narrating a documentary. But it is unusual to see someone such as yourself getting quite so involved in a project liked Trashed. [Irons was also executive producer.] How did you come to be involved so intimately in this film?

I wanted to help create a film on a subject of real social importance. Candida Brady and I talked over various possible subjects, but none, we felt, compared with the problem of waste, which affects us all, and which, despite all the evidence and research available, is not being seriously faced. I felt such a film should be made for theatrical release, rather than TV and such documentaries seem to need a personality on which to hang them. As an actor I’ve always seen myself as a sort of storyteller and my involvement in Trashed seemed a logical progression of that role. Apart from being the face on the screen, I was also able to help with raising the finance, and in persuading my friend Vangelis [who scored the film] to come on board with us.

You travel widely in the film – Vietnam, France, Iceland, Beirut, San Francisco, Yorkshire, the world’s oceans – to report both on the problems and potential solutions associated with wasteful consumerism. Which places/people stood out for you – and why?

Each place had its particular effect on me. Sidon [south of Beirut] showed me what happens if you do nothing. [The film shows a huge rubbish dump on the beach.] Iceland showed me how state agencies can so easily be seduced by experts who promise to make their problems go away, but who become conspicuously absent when their promises do not deliver. With so many “Waste to Energy” plants applying for planning in the UK, Iceland and France’s experience of them was a real eye-opener for me.
The danger of dioxins in our environment, our food chain and our bodies is difficult to illustrate, since they are not visible to the naked eye. My time in Vietnam allowed me to see the result of large quantities of them, and therefore understand better the insidiousness of the smaller quantities that have found their way into our lives and bodies.
Yorkshire and Gloucestershire, with their massive toxic waste mounds, showed me the extent of the problem in my own back yard. Since we filmed, these problems have been further exacerbated by the recent research showing that the clay used under liners, designed to prevent contamination of ground water, actually enhance the process of the toxins leaching out!
And San Francisco gave me enormous hope that, if the will is there, then these problems can be dealt with, and in a commercially profitable way.

The film talks about that much-used term – “zero waste”. How close can we ever realistically get to that goal? What’s more important to tackle at present: reducing our waste stream, or adopting more sensible ways to manage/dispose of our waste?

San Francisco has actually reached 80% diversion or Zero Waste this year. New York, which creates 1.5% of total global waste, currently recycles only 15% of it. State and federal government should provide legislation which designs a waste management policy right across the country. In the UK there is a similar situation in that, depending where you live, the waste management policies and goals differ greatly. I believe that most people would like to cooperate in reducing waste, but to encourage them the national policy should be clear, well advertised and consistent. Even within Greater London there is a huge discrepancy between council policies. I believe a national waste management initiative should be designed and implemented by government. Not to burn it or bury it, but to design and encourage its reduction and recycling. This time of rising unemployment seems ideally suited to the creation of a new and forward-thinking industry that could be profitable and create new jobs. If we became world leaders in recycling technology, then that expertise could be exported around the world.

The film is very critical of incineration and energy-from-waste plants, in particular the dioxins they release into the atmosphere. But was it proportionate to show footage of jars containing preserved foetuses with birth defects in a hospital in Vietnam to make the point about the health risk of exposure to high levels of dioxins? Can you really compare the health impact caused by the spraying of Agent Orange during the Vietnam war with the dioxins emitted by incinerators?

To enlarge on my earlier answer, Candida Brady, the director, thought long and hard about this and decided to show the foetuses for two reasons; firstly, because dioxins and furans, PCBs, etc, are all just words, until you can actually see and understand the impact these compounds are capable of having in the human body and on life in general. We felt it was important to show this. And, secondly, a 2001 BBC Newsnight investigation found that ash from a London incinerator, dumped in the open, had a similar level of dioxins to Vietnamese soil after the spraying of Agent Orange. This is just one example we found.
And it should be borne in mind that the monitoring of dioxin emissions in the UK could be described as casual, if not cavalier. Incinerator filters are only checked between two and four times annually for a few hours at a time. Even Belgium, which boasts the most advanced measuring system, only measures emissions over a two-week period, before averaging those emissions out over the year. Nowhere are emissions monitored constantly. So the truth is that the real quantity of dioxin emissions from incineration remains unknown.
Finally, it is important to remember that, in the past, medical research generally looked only into the effects of these compounds at high dosage, whereas recently they have discovered evidence that dioxins are having an effect on foetuses at very, very low doses.

The film gives thanks to Sigrid Rausing at the end, presumably because she, or her trust, financially supported the film. Of course, the Rausing family famously made its fortune from food packaging. What message do you send to the packaging industry? Is it right to cast it as a “villain”? Or could it also be the key to solving our waste problem?

Tetra Pak are a good example of a company working hard to produce recyclable products, and we are very grateful to the Rausing Trust for their involvement. We tried not to cast any one as the villain in the film. Over-packaging is a complicated, though not insurmountable, problem. We have become used to food and consumables which are transported often over great distances. Intelligent packaging is essential, but I believe it should be reusable or returnable for reuse. Toxic chemicals used in the manufacture of food packaging is another, even more alarming, part of the problem. Four hundred million tonnes of chemicals are produced each year and according to a European Commission, information on the risks inherent in 99% of them is ‘sketchy’. This is a regulatory issue. We need to stop toxic chemicals being used in these products in the first place.

You visit San Francisco at the end of the film and largely paint it as a beacon of hope – a place that’s “doing it right” when it comes to managing waste. What other examples of “hope” and best practice can you give?

Happily, lots. There are wonderful things happening all around the world. From Nova Scotia to Kerala, Bristol to Melbourne, and even in the Philippines, zero waste is on the agenda. I think what’s particularly inspiring is when communities don’t wait to be told what to do, but just go ahead and do it. In northern Italy, many villages and towns have used their own initiative and achieved 70% diversion, in some cases, in less than a year.

Are we, as individual consumers, ultimately responsible for this global waste problem? Or is, in reality, now the responsibility of politicians, regulators, industry leaders, etc, to sort it out?

It is everyone’s problem and all of our responsibility. It’s time we were all informed and it’s time to get angry and maybe even a little ashamed of ourselves. But it must be up to our elected representatives to do what they were elected for. To represent the best interests of those who put them where they are. To organise a system that will cut the amount of waste we produce, both domestically and industrially, and to mount a campaign to encourage us to recycle and re-use. Our population, and especially our children, the next generation, needs educating about the present problem of waste. For instance, plastic bag usage has risen in the last year in the UK. If you knew that there was a chance that your plastic bag was going to come back to you in your food, you might think twice about using it. The joy of the problem, unlike so many which confront us, is that it is easily surmountable.

When you were researching the film, what were your sources for information and inspiration? Was there, say, a book, film, or academic paper, that particularly influenced you?

Candida Brady collected an amazing amount of research on the subject. She would pass me that information if and when I needed it. There are more than 81 peer-reviewed published scientific papers on the film’s website, most of them sources for the film. I think she would agree that the paper which disturbed her more than anything was a 2009 study of umbilical cord blood, which found up to 232 man-made industrial compounds and pollutants present in a child before it is even born. Ten out of ten babies were shown to have chlorinated dioxins in their blood.

Who are you hoping will see the film? How/where will it be distributed? Television, theatrical release, festivals, schools?

It opens in the US on the 14th December at The Quad in New York and Laemmle in LA. It will be released in South America and the UK in the spring, and we are presently finalising the distribution in Japan. Of course, I hope it will finally get distributed all around the globe, since this is clearly a global problem. We have plans to screen it for government, both in London and Washington, and I would hope that all local councils will be made aware of its presence. I cannot believe that once our policy makers have seen it they will not be forced to take action. But it is my dream to find a backer who would finance a shorter cut that we could send out to every school in the world to play in the classroom. I have no doubt, that if seen by the world’s children, then, if we don’t deal with the problem, they will.

What do you want people to do once they’ve seen the film?

I would like them to research whether there is a waste-to-energy plant planned for their area, and, if there is, to oppose it. If there is not, then to discover how their local council deals with their waste. I would like them to lobby their MPs for legislation designed to cut waste and to regulate the production of packaging, particularly plastics containing unreported toxins, and particularly where this packaging is used for foodstuffs and bottled water. I would like them to remove all packaging at the point of purchase, thereby pushing the problem one step back towards the manufacturers.
I would like them to use their ingenuity to discover how they can reduce waste both at home and in their workplace. I would like everybody to give a good shopping bag to at least one person this Christmas. And I would like them to tell their friends to see Trashed.

Max Irons in ‘The White Queen’

Max Irons is set to star in The White Queen, a 10-part BBC adaptation of Philippa Gregory’s 2009 novel of the same name, from her bestselling novel series The Cousins’ War, which centers on the life of Elizabeth Woodville the wife of Edward IV. The drama was filmed in Bruges, Belgium in the fall and winter of 2012.

Max will portray King Edward IV. Rebecca Ferguson, James Frain, Janet McTeer, David Oakes, Juliet Aubrey, Eleanor Tomlinson, Frances Tomelty, Michael Maloney, Ben Lamb, Hugh Mitchell, Simon Ginty, Eve Ponsonby and Robert Pugh will also appear in the drama. The mini-series has also been picked up by the Starz! network in the U.S. for broadcast in 2013.

Read more from the BBC Media Centre.

the white queen poster

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Max Irons to Star in Vivaldi Drama

UK actors Max Irons and Claire Foy set to star in Boris Damast’s Vivaldi Celsuis handling international sales on the historical drama to shoot this autumn.

 

UK actors Max Irons and Claire Foy are set to be cast in Boris Damast’s long-gestating historical drama Vivaldi which will begin principal photography this September at locations in Venice, Bruges, Hungary and Germany. The producers are also now in the final stages of negotiations with Elle Fanning, Neve Campbell, Jacqueline Bisset, Tom Wilkinson, Alfred Molina and Sebastian Koch to join the cast.

The screenplay has been co-written by director Damast with Jeffrey Freedman and is based on the true story of how the headstrong genius and priest Antonio Vivaldi turned a talented, but traumatised group of girls – the illegimate daughters of courtesans – into a world-class orchestra which played the great concert halls of Venice and, ultimately, for the Pope. Vivaldi is exiled and separated from his beloved girls when his maverick ways arouse the suspicion of the powerful and scheming Venetian society. But, on learning of the nature of the dark plot against them, the composer does all in his power to rescue his pupils, his career and the very integrity of the city of Venice.

The film is being produced in conjunction with Andrea Kikot of Vivaldi UK Ltd., with Jean Luc van Damme of Belgium’s Banana Film, Harald Reichebner of Luxembourg/Germany-based European Enterprises, Mirko Ikonomoff of Italy’s Victory International, Hannes Schalle of Germany’s Moonlake Entertainment, and Jozsef Cirko of HCC Media Group in Hungary. International sales are being handled by London-based Celsius Entertainment.