Jeremy Irons Interviewed by Scott Feinberg with Audio

From The Hollywood Reporter and Scott Feinberg’s Blog “The Race”

[Follow Scott Feinberg on Twitter @ScottFeinberg and @THR_TheRace]

  • jeremy_irons_interview_podcast.mp3
jeremy_irons_2011_H.jpg
 photo from Roadside Attractions

On Thursday morning, I had the privilege of speaking for about 30 minutes with the great London-based stage and screen actor Jeremy Irons, just minutes after his name was announced as a best actor (in a TV drama) Golden Globe nominee for his work on the critically-acclaimed Showtime series The Borgias.

Irons, 63, has already won just about every acting award that exists: an Oscar, a Golden Globe, a SAG Award, an Emmy, a Tony, an Annie, and prizes from all of the major critics groups, including the Los Angeles Film Critics Association, New York Film Critics Circle, and National Society of Film Critics. He mentions during our chat that he recently loaned his inimitable voice to a recorded reading of T.S. Eliot‘s The Waste Land, which could, hypothetically, earn him a Grammy, as well, which would make him just the 11th member of the elite EGOT club!

But, as Irons notes during our conversation, it is neither a desire for awards, nor a fondness for fame, nor even a particular passion for acting (he’s appeared in only 40 movies since his big screen debut 30 years ago) that keeps him in the game at this point in his life. Instead, it is a deep connection that he feels to certain characters that he reads, as well as a need for the creative companionship of other actors, that periodically draws him away from his various homes and hobbies and back into the fray.

The most memorable of his film roles include a lovestruck victorian in Karel Reisz‘s The French Lieutenant’s Woman (1981); a Jesuit missionary in Roland Joffe‘s The Mission (1986); a pair of twisted twins in David Cronenberg‘s Dead Ringers (1988); a murder suspect in Steven Soderbergh‘s Kafka (1991); a shady spouse in Barbet Schroeder‘s Reversal of Fortune (1991); a Machiavellian lion in Roger Allers and Rob Minkoff‘s The Lion King (1994); a child predator in Adrian Lyne‘s Lolita (1997); a cheating/cheated-upon husband in Istvan Szabo‘s Being Julia (2004); and a debtor in Michael Radford‘s The Merchant of Venice (2004).

And now comes another: the slithery corporate titan John Tuld — which sounds to me a lot like Dick Fuld, the disgraced former chair of Lehman Brothers — in first-time filmmaker J.C. Chandor‘s timely Wall Street drama Margin Call. The star-studded indie that debuted at Sundance in Jan. was released on Oct. 21 and has been very warmly received by critics and VOD consumers. Irons only enters the film in its third act, but he absolutely dominates it during every subsequent moment in which he appears onscreen. Consequently, he is receiving his loudest awards buzz in years and could — despite being passed over by the BFCA, SAG, and HFPA last week (probably because he’s part of such a large and impressive ensemble from which it is hard to single out only one or two individuals) — earn his first invitation to the Academy Awards since he won the best actor Oscar 21 years ago.

Irons and I discussed all of the above — and more — during our time together, and I hope that you’ll tune in to our conversation at the top of this post.

Jeremy Irons in Parade Magazine

Read the full, original article at Parade.com, complete with a link back to the Kilcoe Castle page at jeremyirons.net!

Here’s how the article appears in Parade Magazine in newspapers: (Click for a much larger high-res image…)

If there’s a cad or a creep to be played, Jeremy Irons’s antennae shoot up. “Characters who live on the outer edge of acceptable behavior have always been to my taste,” says the Oscar winner, now starring as the power-mad patriarch of Showtime’s series The Borgias (Sundays, 10 p.m. ET/PT). Irons, 62, chats with Steve Daly about his affinity for sinners.

Why are scandalous families like the Borgias so fascinating?
Whether it be in The Borgias or Shakespeare or The Godfather, we love watching people doing what we don’t dare do. Murder and mayhem, from the safe position of our armchairs, can be delightful.

What will audiences make of Rodrigo Borgia, who became Pope Alexander VI in 1492 but kept multiple mistresses?
He wouldn’t see that as hypocritical. He wasn’t a god—he was a man, and man was born a sinner. He’s rather endearing, in a strange way. He’s as pathetic as all men are. They want everything, don’t they?

Will people be surprised at the brutal Vatican politics?
The Vatican at that time was nothing like it is now. In a way, it was a medieval West Wing—the center of power in the known world.

Sundays have changed since Borgia days. What do they mean for you?

I’m a bit sorry we have all the shops open. But we all have to be encouraged to buy, buy, buy, to keep society going, so I suppose one has to accept that. For me, it’s a day I can have a lie-in and a relaxed brunch. I think we need a down day. Otherwise we’d just go bananas.

Your 25-year-old son, Max, is co-starring in Red Riding Hood. What’s it been like watching him deal with the publicity?
Well, it fills me with concern. I’m very happy he’s doing what he loves. But my nightmare as a young actor was to be taken up too quickly. A plant needs to get its roots into the soil before it can withstand the wind and the ice and the cold. Nowadays, the business has a huge appetite for youth and tends, when it’s tired of it, to spit it out. But I think he’s got his head screwed on quite straight.

You’ve played some very dark roles. Which gave you the most pause before saying yes?
I think Reversal of Fortune, because the protagonists [Claus and Sunny von Bülow] were still alive—or partly alive, anyway. But Glenn Close persuaded me that if I didn’t do it, someone else would. And I knew Lolita would cause fireworks. I said to my agent, “You’d better get me a wage that will keep me the next three years, because I don’t think I’ll work much after this.” That was indeed what happened.

You’re skilled at sailing the ocean and riding horses and motorcycles fast—not the safest activities. Are you a daredevil?

Living on the edge, for me, has always been one of life’s great pleasures. It’s not really the speed; it’s the fact that you have to do it well in order to survive.

Ever pushed it too far?
Oh, I have. At any time, you can tumble, but that adds to the frisson. It reminds you there is an edge. And I think we need constant reminders: The edge is there. Don’t fall over it.

Acclaimed actor Jeremy Irons talks about the Irish castle he’s renovated. Plus, Irons gets passionate about the controversial ban on smoking in New York City.

On the 15th century castle in Ireland he owns and has renovated.
“Renovating scared the wits off me. I didn’t know what it was going to cost or how long it would take, or that I’d manage to do it. People were sort of surprised, ‘cause they think I’m an extremely wealthy actor. They thought, ‘You’ll get architects in, you’ll get builders, and they’ll do it.’ But I didn’t want to do it that way. I wanted to be as hands-on as I could.

“It was open to the sky, but structurally sound. The walls had stood for 500 years, despite people’s attempts to pull them down for the stone they contained. They’re 100 feet tall, 9 feet thick at the bottom and 4 feet thick at the top. All the fine carving around the windows had either been eroded or stolen. No heating, no plumbing, no electricity.

“When we were going flat-out on it, I had 40 guys working there every day. I was the main contractor, so my job was to make sure that those guys, who were getting paid by the hour, were fully occupied, that they had all the equipment and materials they needed.

“I didn’t put a lift [elevator] in. The purist inside me said, ‘You’ve got to earn that height. If you want to get up there, you’ve got to walk.’ I’m sort of glad about that, even though when I’m 80 I may be cursing that decision.”

On the unusual color the castle is painted.
“It’s a sort of orange terra cotta—the color of newly-born seaweed. It’s a color that’s found a lot around the castle, and also in strands of the [local] rock that has copper in it. I think it fits [the setting] quite well, but it did surprise everybody when we first took the scaffolding down. There was a sort of sharp intake of breath from those in the neighborhood. I once asked my direct neighbor, who’s a farmer, ‘What color would you have done it?’ He said, ‘I suppose grey.’ Because of course it had been grey for the last 400 years. However, he said, ‘It’s yours! You can paint it whatever color you like.’ And now they rather like it. The fishermen and the ferrymen use it as a landmark. And I have to say it looks stunning, especially in low morning or evening light.

See photos of Jeremy’s stunning castle in Ireland

On the public-area no-smoking regulations he hates.
“I think they’re appalling. It’s what I call bullying a minority. Because if you say, ‘I really think I should have the right to smoke in the street or in the park or at the beach,’ people will say, ‘You shouldn’t be smoking at all. It’s bad for you.’ Well, I think we can choose what’s bad for us. I mean, there are many other things in life that are bad for us. Being surrounded by boring people is very bad for us—it attacks the heart. And being surrounded by mass consumerism, as one is in most urban areas, is bad for you, making you believe that if you buy something, it’ll make you happy. But all those things people are allowed to get away with.”

Jeremy Irons Wall Street Journal Interview

The Wall Street Journal

ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT
MARCH 25, 2011

Feeling Wrong for the Role, at First
By AMY CHOZICK

Read the original article here – Wall Street Journal Online

Thirty years after he played Charles Ryder in the British miniseries “Brideshead Revisited,” actor Jeremy Irons takes on another TV role that involves Catholicism, opulence and distrust: Rodrigo Borgia, the scheming patriarch and corrupt Pope Alexander VI in Showtime’s “The Borgias,” premiering April 3.

Watch a scene from Showtime’s new drama ‘The Borgias.’ The series stars Jeremy Irons as Pope Alexander VI. Courtesy Showtime.

Mr. Irons, 62, is perhaps best known for film roles including Claus von Bülow in “Reversal of Fortune,” for which he won an Oscar, and Humbert Humbert in “Lolita.” He also starred in TV miniseries like the 2009 Lifetime biopic “Georgia O’Keeffe” with Joan Allen and “Elizabeth I,” with Helen Mirren.

His deep, languid voice is currently in theaters as the narrator of wildlife documentary “The Last Lions.” (He voiced the villain Scar in “The Lion King.”) In “Margin Call,” an upcoming film about the financial crisis, Mr. Irons plays an embattled Wall Street CEO based on Lehman Brothers’ Richard Fuld.

Mr. Irons was reluctant to commit to an ongoing TV series, but the nine-episode cable run and the fact that Irish director Neil Jordan (“The Crying Game”) would write and direct “The Borgias,” convinced him.

The Wall Street Journal: Why is “The Borgias” being touted as a kind of medieval version of “The Godfather”?

Mr. Irons: There’s an element in common in that Don Corleone was an Italian in America. Rodrigo is a Spaniard in Rome. Yes, that element of the manipulator and the immigrant trying to find power and how to hold onto it and influence people as the head of the family. But those parallels don’t run very deep. I think it’s sort of a marketing idea Showtime had. [Mario] Puzo wrote a novel [“The Family”] about the Borgias, of course.

You’ve said you don’t think you’re right for the role of Rodrigo. Why not?

Neil [Jordan] said “Do you want to play Rodrigo Borgia?” I got home and Googled him and I told him “Christ, you don’t want me. You need James Gandolfini.” I could think of four or five actors who would physically be right for the role. I said “I can’t play that guy.” I have an aesthetic quality that is expected from a pope, whereas this guy was a big, sweaty Spaniard with a big appetite—a lot of food, a lot of women.

So why did you change your mind?

Neil said “No, it’s all about power and how power corrupts you and how you manipulate it. No one knows what he really looked like.” So he convinced me.

Even though Rodrigo is an evil megalomaniac, there’s some humor in him. Did you bring that to it?

I think it’s all in Neil’s writing. There’s sort of a natural amusingness about the situation which one doesn’t have to play. You just do what you do and it brushes off on somebody and there’s a smile there.

Speaking of humor, why wasn’t the 1997 film version of “Lolita” you starred in funnier? The book is very funny.

That book is full of irony. I think we were so nervous about the subject when we were making it that we were walking on egg shells. We could have used a lot more irony. The Kubrick version had more irony but it missed a lot of other things.

In addition to “The Borgias,” you’ve recently done a couple of episodes of “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.” How did that come about?

Well, “SVU” is a different kettle of fish. I was in Budapest finishing “The Borgias” and they asked and I said I don’t know the show. They sent me an episode with Robin Williams and one with Isabelle Huppert. I said “This is good, it’s fine. It is what it is.” For an actor it feels a little like you’ve just finished reading Proust and you think “I’m going to read a Dick Francis novel and it will take me a day and be great.”

“The Tudors” did very well for Showtime but it got criticism for being soft porn in costumes. Will “The Borgias” have as much sex and nudity?

No. There are a lot of channels doing that. I think we can do better than that. This adaptation, for example, and there have been loads, doesn’t fall into the trap of writing all these stories about incest. In those days whole families used to sleep in the same bed. It’s better to get inside characters, who they are and why they do what they do than to make it sensationalist.

You seem to regularly go from film to TV to theater. Which do you prefer?

It’s just the material. They all have good things about them and they all have bad things about them. Theater is great because you can really stay in one place and work on the character in depth over a long period. It doesn’t pay as much as movies, but is often better written. The problem with TV is people are watching soccer at the same time. I’m really lucky to hop around. I’m a jobbing actor.

How is developing a character for TV different from one for film?

The huge luxury is time. A two-hour movie—and, if you’re lucky, it’s two hours—you can tell a story but it’s hard to develop the inconsistencies of a character and have time to bring all those inconsistencies together.

Are you Catholic?

My wife is. My children are. I don’t belong to clubs.

It may shock a lot of Catholics to see a Pope who behaves like Rodrigo Borgia.

Well, the medieval mind would’ve had no problem with a pope who has a mistress. Why do you expect him to be a God? He’s not a God. He’s a man, with all the weaknesses and failures. [Today] we expect our leaders to be squeaky clean and when they turn out to be normal people with normal desires, we say this person shouldn’t be our leader. Man is just doing his best.

Have you discussed a second season with Showtime?

We have a little. Neil has talked to me about some ideas. It’s hard to get the Pope out of the Vatican. I’m very grateful Showtime was hands-off when we were shooting. They left us alone. I hope that will continue because I don’t think you can make movies or TV series by committee.

Printed in The Wall Street Journal, page D5

Copyright 2011 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved

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.