Max Irons on dynasties and The White Queen – The Times

Max Irons is featured in The Times from Thursday 15 August 2013.

The full article is for Times subscribers only and can be found HERE.

However, the text of the article can be read on the photos below. Click to enlarge them to full size:

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Max Irons in DuJour Magazine

Max Irons is featured in the August 2013 issue of DuJour Magazine.

Culture
Irons In The Fire

With The White Queen, Max Irons emerges as the clear successor to an acting dynasty

By Adam Rathe
Photographed by Annelise Howard Phillips
Styled by Paul Frederick

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Strange things happen when Max Irons sleeps.

“I’ve been having the most vivid dreams, involving all real people, really clear and believable dreams,” the 27-year-old actor says, staring intently to make it clear he’s serious. “Some nice, some not.”

Blame melatonin for what’s going on at night with the jet-lagged actor, who’s on a jaunt to New York from his home in London. His other dreams, however, the ones that are coming true, can only be attributed to hard work—and more than a pinch of good luck.

In August, the period dramaThe White Queen (adapted from the Philippa Gregory novel) will debut on Starz, beaming Irons’ fetching mug into millions of homes. Following that is an Antonio Vivaldi biopic with Irons as the Italian composer, and Posh, a look at an Oxford secret society, from An Education director Lone Scherfig. Indeed, Irons seems poised to become that most dreamed-about thing: a serious, successful actor.

“It wasn’t a calculated step,” Irons, who starred in Twilight creator Stephanie Meyer’s The Host earlier this year, says. “I was recently up for a large part in a franchise, a very well-established franchise, and I said, ‘I can’t do it.’ No matter how you spin it to me, it was a version of the two parts I played before [in Red Riding Hood and The Host]. I’m very grateful these films got my foot in the door, but if I do it again, I’ll want to quit acting.”

Enter Edward IV, the first king of England to come from the House of York. “When this came along, it felt like a different direction,” Irons says of his role in The White Queen. “It was this really fascinating piece of English history. And there’s development of the character: You meet when he’s 22 and young and powerful and you see him—I don’t mean to spoil anything—on his deathbed. It felt like something I could get my teeth into.”

It certainly is. During the series’ first season, Irons’ Edward—who, like the actor, was known for his height and good looks—progresses from the tenderfoot monarch whose reign, beginning in 1461, was bloodied by the War of the Roses to a seasoned king presiding over a peaceful land until his untimely death at the age of 41. Along the way, the series’ titular regent, who is Edward’s wife (played by Swedish stunner Rebecca Ferguson), complicates matters as a powerbroker in her own right.

To untangle the story’s knotty web of ancient aristocrats, Irons had his work cut out for him. “There is, relatively speaking, not much information on this particular king,” Irons says. “I had to go into a bookshop and track down his journey. What I love to research is what everyone was up to. You know it was very conniving, backstabbing way of life. People were constantly after you, so consequently you’ve got to know what everyone in the room was up to.”

That feeling probably isn’t too unfamiliar to Irons, who, as the son of actors Jeremy Irons and Sinead Cusack, has grown up in the public eye. Irons says while he can ride the Tube and go where he likes virtually undetected, it still isn’t easy following in the footsteps of prominent parents. “I became an actor at 17, and whether or not I like to acknowledge it on a conscious level, my parents are very successful actors—there is no way around it, ” he says. “Which is difficult for a son because you want to impress your family and I’ve realized I never truly will. I’ll never amaze them.”

Although stardom might be old hat for his family, Irons is still wide-eyed enough to appreciate the experience. “I have to do it for me, I have to amaze myself,” he says. “I’m on sets surrounded by people on horses, people in armor and they’re all following me because I’m the king. This is an amazing moment; I’m not letting this moment drift by and then trying to amaze someone later by reporting back. I’m living life, I’m living the life I’ve created.”

Indeed, the decisions that Irons is making now will shape what he hopes will be a decades-long career. And if Edward IV can teach him anything, it must just be how to survive life as a movie star.

“He was cheeky and charming and dangerous,” Irons says of the young king, “but he could get away with it.”

Jeremy Irons on ‘The View’ 23 April 2012

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Max Irons and Emily Browning in Nice, France

Emily Browning and Max Irons arrive at Nice Airport in France, May 11, 2011.

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Jeremy Irons in Delta Sky Magazine

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Max Irons – Red Riding Hood Round Table Interview

Read the full original interview ‘Red Riding Hood’ Round Table Interview – Maahin’s Report from Blogomatic3000

Here’s the excerpt with Max’s interview:

Then we spoke to Max Irons, who plays Henry, the boy Valerie is engaged to.

Is it difficult to make the first steps as an actor, with parents (Jeremy Irons and Sinead Cusack) and grandparents (both of his mother’s parents were actors) like you have?

Max Irons: I don’t think it is any more or less difficult with them, if I’m honest. People have their own opinions, which vary from country to country. In this country we have a heightened awareness of nepotism as an idea. Realistically, I don’t think you’re going to get a job because of it. There’s too much money invested, director’s reputations – I don’t think it works that way.

Does it help though?

MI: Perhaps there are casting agents out there, who would say I will meet them because of it. But then again, if you go in there and do a rubbish job, you’re finished. And they’ll remember.

You won an award for Wallenstein, but even though you’re making movies, would you do theatre again?

MI: Actually, the next thing I want to do is theatre. I mean Schiller is one my favourite playwrights of all time. I wanted to do Louis Miller, but I couldn’t do it because I was away. But yeah, theatre, more of it.

Do you prefer theatre to film?

MI: Well no, I’m so lucky, and overjoyed to be in a movie, especially with the calibre of actors we’ve got in this. But in terms of what I enjoy most, is theatre without a doubt. It doesn’t pay as well, and not as many people see it, so my agents tell me not to do it. Just being able to go through the story every night is exhilarating. It also requires you to live a certain way, a kind of ordered life. You feel good doing it. And if it’s a good play, it should complete you.

Did you ever get a line of advice from mum or dad before you took up acting?

MI: They’ve always said to me to keep an eye on what’s important. The work, the acting, that’s important. The rest is consequential. You know, the photo shoots, to a certain sense, the press, and for lack of a better term, celebrity. That’s all consequential.

Did you ever not want to do what your parents do? Did you ever want to be something boring?

MI: I wanted to be a fighter pilot, for a long time. I have encyclopaedic knowledge of aeroplanes, I don’t know I just do. Then I realized you have to kill people, which is a bit of a downer. But no there was no active rebellion against it. But I have parents who don’t particularly like the superficial element of being an actor, and keep away from it.

Did you consider changing your name?

MI: In the world we live in today, with the Internet, if someone wanted to find out who your parents are, they could. Also I’m not ashamed of them. I’m very proud of them. When people say, oh you want to follow in their footsteps, I find it strange because what you kind of want to do is forge your own path, but at the same time acknowledging his.

When you see them acting is it easy to see them as actors, or do you always see them as your parents?

MI: I think I always see them as actors, which speaks for them as actors. There are certain things I don’t want to see, like the sex scenes. Occasionally you stumble onto them, it’s very uncomfortable viewing.

Do they ever give you any pointers on how to work?

MI: It’s a bit like parents giving you driving lessons, you know they’re right, but you want to tell them to shut up. But if I’m going to Los Angeles to meet people, they will tell me what to expect, or what a screen test involves.

Has there been a movie recently, which really impressed you?

MI: A movie I saw this year, which is the kind of movie I’d like to do most, The Social Network. Just because the writing was so good. Great cast, great director, great script – what more do you need.

And what’s next?

MI: Who knows, I’m weighing up my options. Theatre, ideally.

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.”