Jeremy Irons is in attendance at the 2016 Ischia Global Film and Music Festival.
Jeremy Irons is in attendance at the 2016 Ischia Global Film and Music Festival.
Jeremy Irons and Sinead Cusack were in attendance at the Victoria and Albert Museum’s Summer Party, on 22 June 2016.
He has won every award going, including an Oscar for Best Actor. But there’s one gong that Jeremy Irons doesn’t want – a knighthood.
In an interview with Event magazine today, the star insists he would never accept the top honour. ‘I don’t see the point of it,’ he says. ‘There are so many people who do amazing work which is unheralded and unrecognised. I do what I do because I like doing it. I’m well paid for it. I get far too much adulation compared with what it’s worth.’
The immaculately spoken Irons, 67, rose to fame playing Charles Ryder in the popular ITV period drama Brideshead Revisited, but he pulls no punches with his views on the aristocracy.
He says: ‘I just didn’t fit in. It wasn’t that I didn’t have the manners – there’s a sort of unspoken code among people in that world, which I want to kick at, I want to hit.’ He is also scathing about his last box office hit, Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice, in which he played the butler Alfred. Irons calls the film ‘very muddled’.
His new film Race sees him return to a more serious subject. Race tells the story of black US athlete Jesse Owens, who triumphed at the 1936 Olympic Games in Nazi Germany.
The Oscar-winning actor shares his frank views on everything from his latest hit film Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice (‘It was very muddled’) to Brexit (‘My instinct has always been anti-European’) and knighthoods (‘I don’t see the point of it’)
‘Really, ambition has gone. I look for things that tickle my fancy. You begin to see the end of life on the horizon. You think, “It’s not going on for ever, this. Let’s make the most of what time I have left”,’ said Jeremy Irons
‘I don’t like rules,’ says Jeremy Irons with a lazy growl like Scar, the creature he voiced in The Lion King.
The Oscar-winning actor takes a long drag on a hand-rolled cigarette, stares into the middle distance and says he cares less about what people think of him with every passing year.
‘I don’t mind getting older. I’m enjoying not having that raging ambition I’ve had all my life,’ says the 67-year-old, who admits that in the past he trod ‘the very thin line between being a perfectionist and a…’
The word he uses is not suitable for print, but then Irons has a reputation for speaking his mind in spectacular fashion.
He had to apologise for using the f-word on Radio 2 earlier this year and was widely attacked a few years ago for suggesting same-sex marriage could lead to men marrying their sons.
‘I will forever be playing Devil’s Advocate,’ he says, and he’ll do that again today, being surprisingly rude about his latest hit film and sharing his frank views on everything from Brexit (‘My instinct has always been anti-European’) to knighthoods (‘I don’t see the point of it’).
Irons as Avery Brundage in the Jesse Owens biopic Race. ‘He’s a man who knows how to play dirty. He cares about sport over everything else,’ he said
Irons is a Hollywood superstar and still a heart-throb with his wolfish, aristocratic looks, but he is also a great serious actor, one of the few to win the triple crown of a Tony for theatre (The Real Thing in 1984), an Oscar on film (Reversal Of Fortune in 1990) and an Emmy for television (Elizabeth I in 2006).
‘I feel sort of slightly retired,’ he says as we sit outside The Orangery café at Kensington Palace, west London.
But he’s got a funny way of showing it. Irons has produced an extraordinary amount of work this year for someone who says his career is over.
He’s about to play yet another of his brittle mavericks, the real-life construction tycoon Avery Brundage, who does a deal with the Nazi high command in Race, a film about Jesse Owens at the 1936 Olympics in Berlin.
‘He’s a man who knows how to play dirty. He cares about sport over everything else.’
This follows hard on the heels of his highly acclaimed performance as an Oxford professor in The Man Who Knew Infinity, a movie about a maths genius. And Irons has just finished performing Long Day’s Journey Into Night at the Bristol Old Vic, where he trained as a classical actor.
‘It did make me reflect on getting older, but I have those reflections every day. I’m just a bit stiffer.’
We’re only a ten-minute stroll from his London home but Irons has come dressed for the country in posh wellies, black jeans, a heavy, rusty-red fleece and a wax jacket, with the wide brim of a floppy farmer’s hat pulled down over his eyes.
Irons’ wife Sinead Cusack and their youngest son, Max. ‘When I met Sinead I thought, there’s a Celt, there’s a wild one. A bit of that in my blood is what we need,’ he said
It’s a kind of disguise but the elegant prowl, the exquisite manners – with a touch of the arm to ask if I want coffee – and the voice like a lord idly trying to seduce a chambermaid, these are all unmistakably his.
‘Really, ambition has gone,’ he insists. ‘I look for things that tickle my fancy. You begin to see the end of life on the horizon. You think, “It’s not going on for ever, this. Let’s make the most of what time I have left.”’
That gives him the freedom to be entertainingly frank, starting with his most recent film, Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice, in which he played the loyal British butler Alfred. It was popular at the box office but got an absolute kicking from the critics.
‘Deservedly so. I mean it took £800 million, so the kicking didn’t matter but it was sort of overstuffed…’
He lets those words hang in the air, then laughs at the thought of a film described by one critic as the most incoherent blockbuster in years.
‘It was very muddled. I think the next one will be simpler. The script is certainly a lot smaller, it’s more linear.’
There’s no getting out of it now.
‘I’m tied into The Batman at the minute [the next instalment, Justice League Part One, is due next year], which is nice because it’s a bit of income…’
He knows exactly why I’m smiling at this, given that his worth has been estimated at £10 million.
‘Not that I need a bit of income but it’s nice to keep ticking over.’
Irons with Anthony Andrews in Brideshead Revisited, 1981. ‘I just didn’t fit in. It wasn’t that I didn’t have the manners – there’s a sort of unspoken code among people in that world, which I want to kick at,’ he said
His Alfred was the highlight of the movie: not the passive butler of the past but a bodyguard and ally in battle. This turns out to be based on a real-life encounter with an oil billionaire and the men who made up his domestic staff.
‘I had dinner a few times with Paul Getty, who was a neighbour of mine in Oxfordshire.
‘You’d arrive for dinner and there’d be a very nice man to open the gate, a very nice man to park your car, another very nice man to take your coat and another very nice man to give you some champagne. They were all ex-SAS. So the whole place was surrounded by this level of threat, and I thought, “Yeah, that’s Alfred.”
‘If I was Mr and Mrs Wayne and I had a young son I thought could be kidnapped, killed or whatever because of his wealth, I’d make sure his guardian – his tutor, his mate – was somebody pretty capable.’
That’s a typical Irons story, illustrating the company he keeps in high society.
‘Yeah, but I’m not part of that.’
Even when he has dinner with Paul Getty?
‘No! I have dinner with Paul Allen.’
He’s referring to the co-founder of Microsoft, the somewhat reclusive inventor, philanthropist and investor with a wealth approaching $18 billion. That’s not a very persuasive argument for ordinariness.
Avery Brundage stood up for Jesse Owens (played by Stephan James), the black athlete, but may have collaborated with the Nazis on their plans for an imposing embassy in Washington
‘The wonderful thing about being a known quantity is that you get to meet the best people in the world. You may not hang out for long with them but you get to have lunch or dinner or whatever.
‘The first time I did a play on Broadway, in would walk Robert Redford, Paul Newman, Diana Ross, we’d sit and chat and have a cup of tea, and I thought, ‘I’m so ****ing lucky.’
‘The terrible thing is, I could never write a book because I can’t remember what we said.’
Irons likes to see himself as an outsider, ‘a rogue and a vagabond’ who would never accept a knighthood (and actors have won them for less).
‘I don’t see the point of it. There are so many people who do amazing work which is unheralded and unrecognised.
‘I do what I do because I like doing it. I’m well paid for it. I get far too much adulation compared with what it’s worth.
‘Society needs storytellers, but I’ve always thought artists should stir the s***.’
How does he square that with hanging out at Buckingham Palace for a reception for British Oscar winners?
‘The Queen wasn’t there, it was Charlie. I’m not part of that.’
‘That’ means the aristocracy, despite having come to fame as Charles Ryder, who becomes the intimate friend of Lord Sebastian Flyte (played by Anthony Andrews, carrying a teddy bear at all times) in the acclaimed ITV adaptation of Brideshead Revisited.
Irons is the son of an accountant from the Isle of Wight but Brideshead made it very cool to be posh in the early Eighties and he was invited to join those who really were.
Irons as Alfred in Batman v Superman, 2016 which attracted negative reviews but took £800 million. ‘The kicking didn’t matter but it was sort of overstuffed… It was very muddled,’ he said
‘I just didn’t fit in. It wasn’t that I didn’t have the manners – there’s a sort of unspoken code among people in that world, which I want to kick at, I want to hit.’
He almost snarls when he says that and searches for the word to describe their sense of privilege.
‘Unthinking. It’s a terrible generalisation but I just didn’t feel comfortable.’
By then he had already married a second wife, the Irish actress Sinead Cusack in 1978.
‘I am too much of a Scot and an Anglo-Saxon. I need some Celt there.
‘When I met Sinead I thought, there’s a Celt, there’s a wild one. A bit of that in my blood is what we need.’
They split up briefly, early in the marriage, but have been together since, despite rumours on both sides.
Irons was photographed kissing the French actress Patricia Kaas on a Soho street in 2002, after which he said: ‘I’m a very tactile person but it gets me into trouble.’
Gossip writers have also linked him at various times with glamorous younger women, including the heiress Francesca Bortolotto Possati, the Iranian author Maryam Sachs and Emina Ganic, executive director of the Sarajevo Film Festival. So how has he kept his marriage going?
‘Oh! One day at a time, you do it,’ he says, chuckling as he lights up again.
His first big movie role was in The French Lieutenant’s Woman in 1981, but his fame reached new heights when he was the voice of Scar in The Lion King and played the villain in Die Hard With A Vengeance in the mid-Nineties.
His first big movie role was in The French Lieutenant’s Woman in 1981 (opposite Meryl Streep)
His character in Race is another outsider: Avery Brundage, the real-life property speculator who represented the American Olympic Committee at the 1936 Games in Germany.
Brundage stood up for Owens, the black athlete, but may have collaborated with the Nazis on their plans for an imposing embassy in Washington. He certainly cut a deal to leave two Jewish runners out of the final relay race, so as not to offend Hitler.
‘David Puttnam, a neighbour of mine in Ireland, knew Brundage later in life and said: “He was an absolute out-and-out s***.” I said: ‘“Well OK, that’s how you read him.”
‘I’ve never believed in good and bad, black and white, God and the Devil. We make constant choices and try to get it as right as we can, and sometimes we fall over the line.’
Race pulls no punches, comparing racism in America in the Thirties to the Nazi way of thinking.
‘I said to Stephen [Hopkins, the director]: “We must make this with the attitude of the time, because history sweetens everything.”
‘People were talking about racial superiority in every country of the world then, certainly in America.’
The action takes place before the gas chambers.
‘They didn’t know all that was happening in Germany, just as we only know partly what is happening now in Syria and places where people are being murdered.’
Would Jeremy Irons have stood up to the Nazis?
‘It’s impossible to tell. One is surprised by how people work under pressure.’
He was one of Labour’s biggest donors in the days of Tony Blair but is disenchanted with politicians on all sides now, with the EU referendum looming.
‘Elections are like a game show. It’s miserable, crazy.
‘I mean, I agree that the Brexiteers are a slightly suspicious lot – but then anybody who has an instinct to play against the game is very easily suspected. What are their motives?’
Irons with Glenn Close in Reversal Of Fortune, 1990 for which he won an Oscar.
‘I don’t have prejudices because I spend my life playing people of completely different ways of thought,’ he said
Does he have any sympathy with their views?
‘I do, because I don’t like rules. I think we have too many from Brussels. I think it’s very difficult for small businesses, all the red tape which we follow because we’re English. The French I don’t think do.
‘I don’t like the idea of the European Parliament eating up the sort of money it does, just to keep going.
‘And of things being decided quite outside our voting realm. So my instinct has always been non-European.’
However, there is a caveat.
‘The world is in a fairly volatile position. I don’t think it’s the time to break up unions. I think it’s the time to hold them together and try to make them better.’
He’s more European than most of us, living in both England and Ireland.
‘I think it’s the Scotsman in me – or as an actor, because I’ve never known where the next job is coming from – but I’ve always been very cautious and I like to see the money working.
‘So I’ve renovated a few houses and fallen in love with them and kept them.’
He rebuilt Kilcoe Castle in west Cork from a ruin and painted it peach. Didn’t the locals call it an eyesore?
‘That was a storm in a teacup. You only have to go down there and see all the other colours to see that actually mine’s quite natural. It’s often a grey sky there, so you paint your house a bright colour.’
He may be about to let the castle go, though.
‘I wouldn’t be too sad to sell, because as you get older you think, “I don’t need all this stuff.’’’
A far more serious controversy came in 2013 when he said he was worried about the implications of same-sex marriage becoming legal: ‘If I wanted to pass on my estate without death duties I could marry my son.’
Scar, who he voiced for The Lion King, 1994
There was outrage at that. He wasn’t misquoted, so did he really mean to say it?
‘Absolutely not. I was just wondering how things would change. You change one thing and there’s a knock-on effect.’
His son Max, who is also an actor, said: ‘I remember thinking, “You don’t know what you’re talking about. You’re thinking through a problem out loud.’’’
That is indeed what Irons says he was doing.
‘I will forever be playing Devil’s Advocate, just because I like a good discussion, and from that I begin to work out what I actually feel.
‘I don’t have prejudices because I spend my life playing people of completely different ways of thought, but I love trying to find out, ‘What do you think? What do I think?’’
For the benefit of the doubt, where does he really stand on same-sex marriage?
‘I think anything that makes people happy should be encouraged.’
He and Sinead have raised two sons: Sam is a photographer.
‘My kids are hard-working and pretty balanced, they haven’t been brought up in a very wealthy environment, it was normal.
‘Privileged, yes, but not flamboyantly wealthy. So I know their values are absolutely right, and if they need a roof over their head and or other help then yes, I’ll do that.’
He’s relaxed about that, as it seems he is about everything. Irons takes out liquorice papers and tobacco and rolls another cigarette, very expertly.
‘I had a very fine doctor for a film check-up, who said: “You’re pretty fit. You’re a smoker. Don’t try and give it up.
‘You live a very pressured life, whatever you’re doing is working. Try and keep it down to 12 a day, if you can.” For me it’s a sort of meditation, it calms me.’
Presumably there are lots of people telling him he should stop?
‘Always have been.’
But he’s not going to stop. He doesn’t like rules. Tell him not to do or say something and he’ll want to do or say it straight away.
Jeremy Irons takes another long drag, grins and says: ‘Well, quite!’
‘Race’ is released on June 3
Original article HERE
‘I’m a rogue and a vagabond’: Hollywood’s brought Jeremy Irons huge riches and homes around the world, but here he tells why he’d never live there
Sitting in the Hollywood hotel where we meet on one of his rare trips to LA, Jeremy Irons is telling me he sometimes works for nothing.
A couple of years ago he was bemoaning the fact that he never gets to make independent British movies to his producer friend Jeremy Thomas, who made the thriller Sexy Beast, and Thomas told him the reason was that he was too expensive.
‘I said, “That’s rubbish, because I’ll actually work for nothing if I want to,”’ recalls Irons. ‘So he sent me a script of a film he was producing, which I liked and which had a fairly young director, and I thought, “Right – I’ll do that one!”’
Despite having earned his fame and fortune in Hollywood Jeremy Irons (pictured in his Irish castle) says he is firmly rooted to England and Ireland and says Europeans are incredibly lucky to be in Europe
The result is his role as Anthony Royal in High-Rise, a darkly comic dystopian tale based on the 1975 novel of that name by JG Ballard. The film is set in a 50-storey block of flats that segregates the residents floor by floor according to their affluence.
Royal, the architect who designed the block, lives in the penthouse at the top with his wife, played by Keeley Hawes, while new resident Dr Robert Laing (Tom Hiddleston) lives on the 27th floor. Life seems idyllic until those lower down the food chain revolt and all hell breaks loose.
Jeremy Thomas has been trying to get the film made for 30 years. It was first shown at last year’s Toronto International Film Festival, where it won rave reviews for its style and originality; it’s also been criticised for the same elements, as well as its lashings of sex and violence and its pessimistic outlook on life.
‘Some people love it, some hate it,’ says Irons. ‘But it’s an interesting script and it was interesting to make. That’s good enough for me!’
It’s 35 years since the young Jeremy Irons, until then best known for playing John the Baptist to David Essex’s Jesus in musical Godspell in 1971, shot to fame: in 1981 he appeared as the idealistic Charles Ryder in the acclaimed TV adaptation of Brideshead Revisited just after the release of his first big film, The French Lieutenant’s Woman, which also starred Meryl Streep.
He went on to make such memorable movies as Dead Ringers, Damage and Lolita.
Now 67, he’s still one of the hardest-working actors in the business, juggling smaller projects he does for pleasure with larger ones, such as this year’s Assassin’s Creed, an action-adventure movie based on the hit video game series, and the much-awaited Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice. It’s these crowd-pleasers, he admits, that make the smaller projects possible.
‘I like a mix,’ he says. ‘I’m not going to turn down Batman v Superman when I get the chance, although I’m not a great fan of that sort of film because I don’t get much of a buzz out of special effects. Assassin’s Creed is based on a game, but I think it stands up well as a movie and possibly there’ll be more.
Michael Fassbender, who stars in it, is lovely to work with. And these movies pay well so one can afford to do smaller pictures too.’
He peers through the hotel window at the reliably azure California sky. ‘That’s one reason I don’t live here in Los Angeles,’ he says, ‘because the weather is normally the same.
In England you never know what you’re going to be greeted with as you draw the curtains in the morning, and I love that.’
He certainly looks the quintessential English gentleman today, elegant in an open-necked white shirt under an impeccably cut grey suit, his hair swept theatrically back, a signet ring glinting on his left little finger; quite refreshingly in the land of blinding white gnashers, his teeth are unapologetically yellowed from the cigarettes he says he has no intention of giving up.
‘Nor, he states firmly, does he have any intention of following the current drain of British actors to the Hollywood Hills.
‘I think we Europeans are hugely privileged to be European,’ he says. ‘I mean, I love visiting this city, but my life in England and Ireland is so much more textured than anything I could have here.
‘Just the food, the countryside, the ability to go sailing or riding without any hassle. I think England and Ireland are two of the most wonderful places on the face of the earth.’
Which is all very well, but what about work opportunities? ‘Aeroplanes are quite quick these days,’ he shrugs. ‘My wife and I did think about moving here once, when we were both doing plays in New York.’
In 1984 and 1985 he was appearing on Broadway in Tom Stoppard’s play The Real Thing, for which he won a Tony award, while his wife Sinead Cusack was receiving a Tony nomination for her Beatrice in Much Ado About Nothing.
‘We did think we’d probably get richer if we lived in this country, and maybe have more successful careers. But then I thought, “No, I’d be giving up my roots.” I’m a gardener and know that some plants just do well in a certain place. If you dig them up and plant them in a different corner, they may not do as well. So I thought I’d stay where I was.’
Besides, he adds a little slyly, he’d seen what happened to his Brideshead Revisited co-star Anthony Andrews.
‘When that show finished I stayed in England and didn’t work for a year, then did the film Moonlighting, which was quite successful.
‘My colleague went to Los Angeles and rented a house with his family, and for all the time he was there I think he did four episodes of The Love Boat and that was all. He came home after a year! So I thought, “You know, I think I’m best in Europe.”’
His decision seems to have served him well. He’s reputed to have seven homes dotted around the globe, most notably his Grade II-listed house in Watlington, Oxfordshire, where, according to his son Max, he used to ride around the countryside in a horse and cart, and Kilcoe Castle, in County Cork, which he painted a peach colour, thereby scandalising the locals, and where, he tells me happily, ‘sometimes I don’t hear anything but the wind’.
When he fancies a bit of culture he pops up to Dublin where he and Sinead have a home in the exclusive Liberties area. Not bad for the son of an accountant from the Isle of Wight.
‘I live very simply,’ he says. ‘We actors are rogues and vagabonds and when I’m not telling my stories, that is how I live.
‘I sail my boats with people who sail boats, I ride my horses with people who ride horses, and in the evenings I tend to have a bit of company, but I sit at the back of the gathering.
‘I sing my songs, play my fiddle, and I’m just very happy to be out of the focus of the public eye.’
He says he doesn’t really care for possessions – much. ‘Sometimes I look as if I collect things, but I don’t really, I just don’t throw things away. I’m quite loyal to my things, actually. There was a period when I’d buy paintings I loved, but not in any sort of investment way; it was just that every time I did a movie and made some money I’d buy a painting.
‘And then my walls got full and I started buying bits of sculpture, and now I have about 15 pieces, all of them quite romantic. But I’m getting to the age where I begin to think I should start getting rid of some of these things, because I feel I’ve accumulated too much.
‘And then I think, “No, I can’t get rid of that one because it reminds me of that time…” But I’m glad my children are now buying their own property because I can hand furniture and pictures on to them.’
Although his marriage to Sinead has been plagued with rumours of infidelity – a subject he’s never keen to discuss publicly, although he did say to me once, ‘I’m a great believer in marriage, it’s a structure that’s hard to get out of and I think it should be that way’ – there’s never been a doubt he’s an affectionate father to sons Sam, 37, a respected photographer, and Max, 30, an actor known for films The Riot Club and Woman In Gold and TV series The White Queen.
He reflects, ‘I suppose there’s nothing more important than your children, even though it’s a rather strange relationship in that they aren’t actually your children at all. They’re people with their own lives, their own souls, their own spirits, who happen to have been growing up in your house.
‘I’m not a particularly hands-on father in that a lot of fathers put huge pressure on their children to become the people they would have liked to have become, and I don’t do that. I remember my elder son once saying to my wife, “Would you and Dad mind if I never became rich and successful?”
‘I said, “What is success? Success is going to bed at the end of the day and sleeping with a clear heart and a clear conscience. That’s the only success we want for you.”’
He does admit, however, that he worries about Max’s choice of career. ‘I don’t think I’d go into the business now if I was Max’s age.
‘It was much easier when I started because we had a wonderful network of repertory theatres which gave actors a huge breeding ground to go and train in.
‘These days young actors don’t have that. They all look for the big TV series where they get made famous very quickly and then spat out after two or three years.
‘One hopes that a child you have brought up has a certain sense, and Max does seem to have it – and he’s also quite good. But it’s still true the business can eat you up, especially if you’re a beautiful young man as Max is. I told him not to be an actor, but he’s enjoying it at the moment, so we’ll see.’
It’s fair to say that ‘beautiful’ would not be the first word you’d attach to Jeremy. The one thing he does have going for him, he agrees ruefully, is that he’s kept his figure. ‘I just have the genes, I think – my mum was very slim, and I have a fast metabolism, as she did. And, of course, I smoke, which reduces my appetite. But mostly, I think, I’m just lucky.’
He pats his grey suit. ‘Strangely enough, I had this made for Damage.’ He smiles, remembering the 1992 erotic drama in which he and Juliette Binoche sizzled on the screen. ‘And it still fits. It’s a little tight in the waist, but it’s all right, I can cope with that.’
He thinks about it, and nods. ‘I’m just fortunate, I think.’
High-Rise is in cinemas nationwide from Friday.
Jeremy Irons is featured in the February/March 2016 issue of AARP Magazine
Read the original article at AARP.org
Click on the thumbnails below for larger images. All photos by Dan Burn-Forti.
Jeremy Irons: What I Know Now
The genteel Brit, 67, weighs in on bad guys, butlers, the joy of motorcycles and why he wore sneakers to the Oscars
by Jeremy Irons, AARP The Magazine, February/March 2016
I enjoy playing villains. It’s very difficult in many situations to know who the villains and good guys are. People tend to think in black and white, and, of course, we are all gray.
Alfred the butler
My Alfred [Batman’s faithful servant] is a slightly different weight and color than previous Alfreds. One has a feeling that he has training; he’s a good security man, technician, mechanic. He may not make the best martini, but he can get the Batmobile on the road, which Bruce Wayne needs.
Has been married to actress Sinéad Cusack since 1978.
Won the best actor Oscar for his 1990 role as Claus von Bülow in Reversal of Fortune.
A sailor since age 5, he keeps a 29-foot gaff-rigged ketch next to his home in Ireland.
I get fussier as I get older. I realize there are not as many years ahead of me as behind me — so you begin to think in terms of making the most of your time. I tend not to work for such long periods on films now, so I get more time to myself. Still, I have to remind myself that it’s not necessary to work as hard as I sometimes do.
Like father, like son?
My elder son, a photographer, opted not to go into the business. He didn’t like the public judgment of actors or the fact that his father was known by people he didn’t know. My younger son is an actor and takes refuge in the certainty of imagined characters. He is very comfortable when he is in someone else’s skin.
Changing the world
My father advised me not to get involved in politics, so I skirt around it. But environmental subjects I have concentrated on; I made a documentary about global waste called Trashed. I worry about genetically modified food because it alters the balance of things. The prison system concerns me. I feel we lock up too many people without caring how they will be when we let them out.
The rubber meets the road
I can make up excuses for why I wore sneakers to the Oscars. They weren’t actually trainers; they were a little smarter than deck shoes and had a thin sole. They were black and white, which is what I was wearing on the rest of my body. There’s a nice feeling of keeping your feet on the ground when wearing shoes with no heel, which maybe is an important thing to do on Oscar night.
Born to be wild
I feel as confident on my motorcycle as I do on my two feet. I call it my urban horse. The joy of motorcycling is real freedom and being in touch with the environment — the road circuits, the temperature, the wind, the smells. It’s a wonderful sensory experience.
Jeremy Irons will appear in Race, The Man Who Knew Infinity, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and Assassin’s Creed this year.
—As told to Margy Rochlin
Jeremy Irons was at The Caramel Room at The Berkeley for The Supper Club event, on 4 November 2015, in support of the Terrence Higgins Trust.
The Terrence Higgins Trust is a British charity that campaigns on various issues related to AIDS and HIV. In particular, the charity aims to reduce the spread of HIV and promote good sexual health; to provide services on a national and local level to people with, affected by, or at risk of contracting HIV; and to campaign for greater public understanding of the impact of HIV and AIDS.
Text from tht.org.uk :
Every year 50 of London’s top restaurants and caterers come together to support our annual foodie event, The Supper Club. This event, now in its 15th year, has gone from strength to strength and has fantastic industry support.
It’s an evening of 50 fabulous dinner parties – in 2015 taking place on 4 November – with a glamorous party following dinner. Hosts and their guests have a wide range of exquisite culinary delights to choose from, with restaurant industry leaders and institutions on the foodie scene such as Caramel Room at The Berkeley, Gauthier Soho, Polpo and Ottolenghi supporting the event.
At the end of their meals guests are whisked off in a fleet of taxis to a fabulous after-party at The Drury Club where they are treated to fantastic cocktails, the excitement of a silent auction and a performance by our amazing special guest Sarah Harding!
Paul Newman founded the SeriousFun Children’s Network in 1988 and the UK gala at the Roundhouse in London was honouring Newman and raising money for the charity.
Joining Jeremy Irons and Sinead Cusack at the event were Renee Zellweger, Danny DeVito and singers Corinne Bailey Rae and David Gray.
Jeremy Irons said he is a “great admirer” of the charity, adding that Newman had “the element of the child” in him.
“He loved life. And I think he wanted to give kids in this situation the opportunity to have a bit of life in the short time they had left or while they were going through this difficult time,” he said. Irons said Newman would have been “thrilled” about the event.
The London gala is the final of three galas the organisation hosted this year to honour Newman’s legacy during what would have been his 90th year. Newman’s Own Foundation has been providing support to camps and programmes around the world since the charity began. Funds raised at the galas will also benefit the UK camp which is called Over The Wall.
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