Jeremy Irons Talks About Law and Order: SVU

From Daemon’s TV:

LAW & ORDER: SVU is known for attracting high profile and talented guest stars, and that streak continues with the “Mask” episode, airing on NBC January 12, when Oscar winning actor Jeremy Irons makes his American network television debut.

Irons plays Captain Jackson, the estranged father of a woman attacked by a man wearing a haunting mask. Jackson’s work as a sex therapist becomes an obstacle to Detectives Benson (Mariska Hargitay) and Stabler (Chris Meloni) as they try to gather evidence in their investigation into his daughter’s attack. A. J. Cook (Criminal Minds) is also guest starring as the victim’s girlfriend.

A Best Actor Oscar winner for his role as Claus Von Bulow in ‘Reversal of Fortune,’ Irons has acted in films ranging from ‘The French Lieutenant’s Woman’ and the uber- creepy ‘Dead Ringers’ to ‘Die Hard with a Vengeance’ and ‘Being Julia.’ He also voiced the villainous Scar in Disney’s ‘The Lion King’ and has appeared in British and American cable television movies and miniseries like ‘Brideshead Revisited’ and ‘Elizabeth I.’ He will be seen later this year as Rodrigo Borgia in Showtime’s new drama series The Borgias.

Daemon’s TV was there when Irons and Law & Order: SVU executive producer Neal Baer talked about how this guest appearance came about, what we can expect from Captain Jackson, and which role has been Irons’ favorite.

On how this SVU appearance came about:

According to Baer, “We go and ask actors whom I’ve loved watching on television and in the movies. All they can say is no and if they say yes then we work as hard as we can to give them a part they will they enjoy.” He added, “I know that is what keeps the show fresh–that you get these unexpected actors who can deliver these soulful performances.”

For his part, Irons was intrigued by the offer of a guest spot on SVU because he had never done network television before and several of his friends are big fans of the show, so he watched some episodes. “I thought it had great style and reminded me of those paperback crime novels which move very fast,” he said. “I like the way they tell the stories. I like the way they were done.”

As for the character of Captain Jackson, Irons teased, “I like playing characters who are not necessarily what they seem. I like playing enigmas. I like playing people who live outside our normal life experience. To play characters that have or live experiences on the edge–possibly good, possibly not, I find very interesting.”

Irons also likes taking roles that might surprise people. He explained, “One has to work within the parameters of what one is offered as an actor, but I always try to put my foot, so to speak, in a place where it is not expected as I walk in my career.”

On Captain Jackson:

The role of Captain Jackson was written specifically for Irons. Baer said, “When there are actors we really want to work with, like Jeremy, we go to them and see if there’s any interest and then we develop a story specifically for them. We go after various folks and design stories that we think they’ll be interested in and will challenge them and raise some important questions in the minds of viewers. I think [“Mask”] does that. It’s not just a straightforward mystery, by any means. ”

Captain Jackson is a recovering sex addict and alcoholic seeking amends for his past behavior who is now one of the country’s foremost sex therapists. When his daughter, estranged from him due to a past incident, is attacked by a rapist, a link emerges between Jackson, his daughter, and the investigation. Jackson is apparently quite the divisive character because Baer said that the “Mask” episode “pits our characters against each other, particularly B. D. Wong and Chris Meloni, around Jeremy’s character.”

Irons liked the complexity given Jackson. “I thought he was multidimensional, which is hard to find. and he contained enigmatic qualities. He was a mystery–basically a good person but a person who had fought his battles in life. I thought it was a multi-layered role and something I’d like to get my teeth into.”

Baer could not be happier with Irons’ performance. “He’s brilliant in the episode. When you see him, he fits into the show quite well, and yet there`s something about him– and this is what I think separates the great actors from actors–you want to know him. From the moment he steps on the screen you want to know him. He brings to the show this intensity and that is very alluring, I think, to an audience,” Baer explained. “That’s what we wanted and that’s certainly what Jeremy gives in this performance and it’s a very interesting performance because as he was alluding to, his character is a very multi-dimensional character who is struggling with some very real emotional issues that he’s able to bring to the surface in a way we can all identify with. Even though there are things about [Captain Jackson] you won’t like, you empathize with him.”

On his favorite role:

Irons said that there are definitely projects he’s enjoyed more than others, adding “SVU is way up with those I’ve enjoyed. It’s a lovely team of people.” He also loved the fast paced shoot and said, “I watched [Mariska Hargitay and Chris Meloni] in awe as they worked.”

There was actually quite the mutual admiration society between Irons and Meloni. When asked what stood out the most about his experience on SVU, Irons replied, “I enjoyed working with Chris a great deal. He’s a tremendous actor.” Meanwhile, Baer said, “Chris kept texting me throughout out the shoot, ‘I love Jeremy Irons,’” to which Irons retorted, “We are talking about getting married.”

When asked what role was dearest to his heart, Irons said it was one that might surprise us. “I think it’s a movie called ‘Lolita.’ I thought it did everything that a movie should do which is stir up people and make them question things. It was a very well-played film [directed] by Adrian Lyne that sadly got very small distribution because studios were probably frightened by the subject matter.”

Law & Order: SVU airs on NBC Wednesdays at 10pm eastern/ 9pm central with “Mask” airing on January 12.

 

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Exclusive! – Fan account of Jeremy’s appearance in Rome

Italian fan Ambra Corti has contributed this first-hand account of Jeremy Irons’s appearance at the Viaggio nel Cinema Americano, sponsored by the Festival Internazionale del Film di Roma.

[Translated from Ambra Corti’s original Italian]

The event in Rome was wonderful! I never thought my emotions could be so great and overwhelming. Jeremy Irons is a wonderful actor and a very fine man, calm and charming and is one of the few actors capable of doing major showbiz productions and supporting charities beyond all expectations, a more extraordinary person there never was!

With his English manner, in the Auditorium Parco della Musica in Rome, he was beloved by everyone, including me,with the power of his warm and seductive voice.

During the evening, we were shown some of the scenes from his films such as The Mission, Lolita, The House of the Spirits, Reversal of Fortune, M. Butterfly, The French Lieutenant’s Woman, Stealing Beauty, Kingdom of Heaven, Dungeons and Dragons, of course, accompanied with comments.

Of The Mission, speaking of the relationship he had with DeNiro, he said:
“At the time, filming went really slowly and DeNiro asked for a lot of takes. When I arrived on the set I was dissatisfied with the choice, I would not accept having to work with an actor who was not trained as I was. With every passing day our antagonism grew until it burst into a furious argument, but it subsided thanks to our producer. Since then we have become great friends.”

Of Lolita he said: “Many found it crazy that I could be like a villain, but I think there are people in the world capable of committing terrible acts and still be humorous, and if I’m not mistaken, here in Italy you have a Prime Minister …” he said with a grin. He did not say the name, but everyone in the room who knew all related, and all burst out laughing!  He went on to say: “I did not want to do Lolita because I was convinced that this film would cause me many problems with the passage of time. Adrian Lyne asked me to make this film for 2 years in a row, saying that if I had not accepted the part, he would not have made the film. Glenn Close was to convince me that it was a classic story and had all the right elements for a good movie and a good job.”

I remember that the presenters did ask a question about the Labour Party, who Jeremy once supported. Eventually, there were 4 or 5 questions from the audience (including me).

I remember one in particular, even though it was more of a statement than a question.
A lady, who was from Ischia, pointed out some events took place many, many, many years ago.
At the time, Jeremy was 17 years old and the lady was as well. She said that they had a [brief relationship or a date] and he played the guitar and she was fascinated.

Immediately after this lady, I made my application (Jeremy was directed to me when I raised my hand to speak) and I think I started in the worst and most embarrassing of ways. I said: “Carramba, what a surprise!” referring to the situation the first lady spoke of, and I do not think that he took that very well, but that may just be my impression.

When I asked the question I was very nervous! I wasn’t standing when I asked the question; I was sitting, because even if I was standing I would have fainted! I do not even know how I had the courage to do it, my heart was bursting, I surprised myself!

The real question that I did was: “You have not yet spoken of The Lion King! I want to know how do you dub a cartoon?”

He explained the various technical things that he had to do before moving on to comment directly on Scar. Of Scar he said: “It’s the ugliest animal! Because, unlike Mufasa (played by James Earl Jones) Scar is dry, skeletal, has a bad mane and tail hair has not, however Mufasa is strong, beautiful, strong with the bushy tail!”

Jeremy did not speak Italian at all and the woman sitting next to him on stage acted as his translator. At the conclusion, I and about twenty people went up to the stage in hopes of an autograph, but he was gone. It was a wonderful and unforgettable evening!

Art Film Fest to Welcome Romantic Lover and Sad Intellectual Jeremy Irons!

10 June 2009
Press Release

from artfilmfest.sk

He considered a career as a veterinarian, but failed the entrance exams. He cleaned houses and maintained streetside plants. And finally, he became one of the world’s best-known actors, awarded with the most prestigious prizes.

The illustrious Jeremy Irons has accepted our invitation to Art Film Fest, and on Saturday, 20 June, he will personally accept the Actor’s Mission Award and fix a brass plaque bearing his name to the Bridge of Fame in Trenčianske Teplice.

Through the years of his prolific acting career, this star of films such as Lolita, Die Hard: With a Vengeance, The Man in the Iron Mask, and Damage has performed alongside such renowned performers as Meryl Streep, Ben Kingsley, Liv Tyler, Juliette Binoche, Glenn Close, Melanie Griffith and Rachel Weisz. Irons has portrayed romantic lovers, torn intellectuals and even psychopaths.

In the film Lolita (1997) he flawlessly portrays Professor Humbert, who smoulders with devastating desire for his very young stepdaughter. This film adaptation of Vladimir Nabokov’s novel of the same name was directed by romantic drama specialist Adrian Lyne, who has films such as Fatal Attraction and 9 1/2 Weeks under his belt. Today, many readers of Lolita cannot imagine the mad, miserably enamoured professor as anyone other than Irons.

Jeremy Irons was born on 19 September, 1948 in the small town of Cowes, on the Isle of Wight, Great Britain. He received his acting education at Bristol’s Old Vic School, and after graduating he accepted an engagement with their travelling theatre troupe. His first step towards a stable acting career was performing in serials such as The Pallisers (1975) and Love for Lydia (1977). His breakthrough role could be considered the biographical film of the renowned dancer Nijinsky (1981), where Irons played famed choreographer Mikhail Fokine.

He drew considerable attention with his second film, The French Lieutenant’s Woman (1981), where he acted alongside Meryl Streep. Here he portrays two spiritually connected people – an intellectual and a lover, who fall in love with a mysterious woman. These roles were perfectly suited to Irons’ temperament, and he was their ideal performer, thanks in part to his elegant, even patrician features and striking eyes.

Irons also lent his mournful face to other roles of fated lovers. On the silver screen he has succumbed to the love of numerous ladies: Patricia Hodge in Betrayal (1982), Ornella Muti in Swann in Love (1984) and Juliette Binoche in Damage (1992).

The first significant acknowledgement of Irons’ work came in 1984. For his role in the Broadway production The Real Thing, where he performed with Glenn Close, he was granted the prestigious theatrical prize the Tony Award. Four years later, he received a Best Actor award from the New York Film Critics Circle Award for his double role as twin-brother gynaecologists in the picture Dead Ringers.
In 1990, he earned the most prestigious film award, an Oscar, as well as a Golden Globe for Best Actor for his role in the film Reversal of Fortune, based on true events, where he played an aristocrat accused of twice attempting to murder his wife.

Irons excelled in the picture The Mission (1986) with Robert De Niro, where he took the role of a Jesuit missionary who attempts to spread Christianity among Amazonian natives and puts stake in their defence.

Irons has also visited Prague, thanks to the filming of Kafka (1991), the fictitious picture inspired by the writer Franz Kafka, a Prague native. The film was directed by the famed Steven Soderbergh, who entrusted Irons with the lead role as Jewish bureaucrat Kafka. During his stay in Prague, Irons also acted in the film version of Václav Havel’s The Beggar’s Opera, shot by Jiří Menzel.
Irons remembers meeting Jiří Menzel for dinner and asking him if he could act in Menzel’s film. Menzel invited Irons to do so, so he came, and they dressed him and made him up. They filmed the scene in two hours and Irons was paid twenty-five dollars. It was a fantastic collaboration according to Irons, who recounted it during his 2005 stay in Bratislava, when he was a guest of the TOM 2004 awards ceremony. He also visited Bratislava in 1991, on his way from the Prague filming to Berlin. He spent one day in Slovakia, buying an accordion and pictures.

Irons’ wife is actress Sinéad Cusack. They acted together in Bernardo Bertolucci’s Stealing Beauty (1995), which was also the final film of popular French actor Jean Marais.
Irons’ name is also connected with Hollywood. He played the main villain, craving money and revenge, in Die Hard: With a Vengeance, alongside Bruce Willis. In The Man in the Iron Mask he portrayed Aramis, whose undergoes a religious conversion. His co-actors in that film included John Malkovich and Gérard Depardieu. In Ridley Scott’s epic Kingdom Heaven, he is reincarnated as Commander Tiberias. And he took the role of an evil wizard in the film adaptation of the role-playing game Dungeons & Dragons.

Irons’ hobbies include riding horses and motorcycles, skiing and gardening.

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Organizers: ART FILM, n.o., FORZA Production House Co-Organizers: the Town of Trenčianske Teplice, the Town of Trenčín, Health Spa Trenčianske Teplice
The Festival is made possible through the financial support of the Ministry of Culture of the Slovak Republic.

General Sponsors: AquaCity Poprad, zdravotná poisťovňa Dôvera
Main Sponsors: Omnia Holding, Tatra banka, Tauris, the Central European Foundation, Slovnaft Official Transport Provider: Lancia Logistics Sponsor: DHL Sponsors: Provimi Pet Food, Dr. Max, Enagro, Hotel Baske, AVI Studio Official Suppliers: Hubert, Parkhotel na Baračke, GS design, Segafredo Zanetti SR, Philips, Via France Slovak cinema is brought to you by Zlatý Bažant

Main Media Sponsors: Slovenská televízia, Pravda, Zoznam.sk, Boomerang, Žurnál Media Sponsors: televízia Markíza, FilmBox, Televízia Central, Rádio Okey, Rádio Hit FM, Markíza, Pardon, Cinemax, Kam do mesta, port.sk, kedykam.sk, superobed.sk, ISPA, SITA, Q-EX, Trenčianske Echo Partners: Hotel Praha, Hotel Flóra, Hotel Tatra, Slovak Film Institute, Italian Cultural Institute Bratislava, CzechTourism, Intersonic, Tatrafilm, Slovak Film and Television Academy, Esterle & Esterle, lampART, Celtima

Jeremy Irons Revisits Brideshead – from The Advocate

April 08, 2009

Jeremy Irons Revisits Brideshead

Jeremy Irons as Charles Ryder in 'Brideshead Revisited'

Jeremy Irons as Charles Ryder in 'Brideshead Revisited'

The original 1981 BBC miniseries Brideshead Revisited returns to television on here! TV, and Jeremy Irons — taking a break from starring on Broadway in Impressionism — takes a moment to revisit Brideshead. When Brideshead Revisited first aired on the BBC in 1981, it was truly a pioneering moment in film. Gay cinema had yet to be fully realized as a genre, the AIDS epidemic hadn’t yet ravaged the gay community, and Jeremy Irons wasn’t yet a household name. Brideshead instantly became a classic, and though the relationship between Charles Ryder and Sebastian Flyte didn’t dissolve into an explicit, sexual tryst, audiences read between the lines — and got a good deal more than cinema had offered up in the past. Brideshead returns to television this month on here! TV, and Irons — now not only a household name but an Academy Award– and Tony Award–winning actor — took some time out of his busy schedule starring opposite Joan Allen on Broadway in Impressionism to revisit Brideshead with Advocate.com.

Advocate.com: When Brideshead Revisited first aired, did you have any idea the impact the film would have on its gay audience?

Jeremy Irons: It was not something I especially considered. I hoped it would be enjoyed by everyone. I was most concerned to capture the relationship with Sebastian accurately, believing that [Evelyn] Waugh wrote it to be a close platonic relationship of the type not easily understood by audiences increasingly exposed to relationships that are either gay or straight. It was a pioneering bit of filmmaking at the time. Was there any backlash? No, there was no backlash at all. We were fortunate that it was, it seems, almost universally admired as a series that captured a particular time in English life.

Have you revisited Brideshead since making the film? Brideshead was filmed at Castle Howard in Yorkshire. The house belongs to friends of mine, so from time to time I’m invited back. For some of the time we filmed there I stayed at the house. I do remember one night when I returned late from a night out, and I had been told the alarms had been left off and was asked to turn them on before I went to bed. However, someone must have turned them on before my return, for as I opened the front door all hell broke loose with sirens, bells, and flashing lights. In my slightly inebriated state I could not work out what to do, so as the household began to appear down the stairs I slunk off to my bed. As I dropped off into sleep I heard the police cars and fire engines approaching down the drive, answering the false alarm. There were some long faces at breakfast the next morning!

You’ve never been one to shy away from controversial subject matter — Damage and M. Butterfly come to mind. Why do you think audiences so often equate controversy with sexuality? Controversy is often caused by sexuality, since sex remains still somewhat of a forbidden fruit for many audiences. It is, after all, something most of us keep quite private, and probably rightly so. However, I see no reason to shy away from any subject that film storytelling should discuss. Lolita probably caused the most controversy, but since it is a classic work, and beautifully made, I have no regrets.

You’re back on Broadway, working with Joan Allen in a play about art — and you just wrapped a film with her about the life of Georgia O’Keeffe. Have you two bonded over art, or is it just coincidence? It is pure coincidence that both the O’Keefe film and Impressionism are set around the art world, as it is that in both I play opposite Joan Allen. A happy coincidence since she happens to be one of America’s most interesting actors, and a wonderful person to boot.

What’s next for you? When the run of Impressionism ends I hope to go back to film for the rest of the year. I have a few projects lining up, though with the current economy, which affects film financing as much as anything, I shall be interested to see what makes it through.