Jeremy Irons – Daily Mail Article 11 March 2016

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

  • Jeremy Irons says that his feet are firmly rooted in England and Ireland 
  • Says that Europeans should consider themselves lucky to live in Europe 
  • Here he explains why he has also deterred his son from Hollywood 

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

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!’

Jeremy  with his wife Sinead and son Max

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.’

 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’.

Jeremy Irons pictured as Charles Ryder, in the ITV adaptation of the novel by Evelyn Waugh

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.

 We actors are rogues and vagabonds and when I’m not telling my stories, that is how I live

‘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.

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Jeremy Irons in Feb/Mar 2016 AARP Magazine

Jeremy Irons is featured in the February/March 2016 issue of AARP Magazine

Read the original article at AARP.org

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Photo by Dan Burn-Forti

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Photo by Dan Burn-Forti

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

Definitively bad

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.

Irons INFO

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.

Me time

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 at The Supper Club for the Terrence Higgins Trust

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!

Jeremy Irons Attends SeriousFun London Gala

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.

Read the full article from the Express and Star

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Jeremy Irons Attends ‘Peter Sellers: Behind the Camera’ Exhibition

Jeremy Irons, his dog Smudge, and Sinead Cusack attended the VIP private view of the photo exhibition Peter Sellers: Behind the Camera, on 27 October, at 19 Beauchamp Place. The photos are being auctioned to benefit the British Heart Foundation. A photo of Sinead is among those on display.

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Jeremy Irons Pays Homage to T.S. Eliot at Wilton’s Music Hall

Jeremy Irons, Sinead Cusack, Simon Russell Beale, Ben Whishaw and Fiona Shaw paid homage to T.S. Eliot, at Wilton’s Music Hall in London, on Wednesday 21 October 2015.

Jeremy Irons read “Gus: The Theatre Cat” and “Little Gidding”.

Read a review of the event from The Londonist

A great account of the event from ifindpeopleconfusing on Tumblr

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Jeremy Irons at Royal Ascot 2015

Jeremy Irons and Sinead Cusack attended Ladies Day at Royal Ascot in Ascot, Berkshire, on Thursday 18 June 2015.

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