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!

Photos of Jeremy in Rome 25 May


ROME – MAY 25: English actor Jeremy Irons attends Viaggio nel Cinema Americano at Auditorium Parco Della Musica on May 25, 2010 in Rome, Italy.

Scroll to the bottom of this post for a transcript, translated from Italian, of the evening’s interview.

All Getty Images watermarked photos by Ernesto Ruscio/Getty Images

All Photoshot watermarked images   © Imago/Photoshot

All non-watermarked photos by Ambra Corti

Some photos © Giuseppe Leonardo Paniccia

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The Talented Mr. Irons

Article by Roberto Castrogiovanni | written May 26, 2010

This concludes the season of events of the series “Journey into American cinema” – curated by Antonio Monda and Mario Sesti and tied hand in glove with the Extra section of the Rome Film Festival – with a special guest, the talented Mr. Jeremy Irons, who tells the public the profession of the Auditorium of the actor.

“This meeting lasted more than usual, but we can not keep us irresistible impulse to continue to hear his voice.” So Mario Sesti bye along with Antonio Monda driving the performance – it is appropriate to say – by Jeremy Irons , English thoroughbred talent (but there is also a sprinkling of Ireland in its genetic code) with a solid background drama. Performer by shaded and ambiguous meanings, and so appreciated by authors such as David Cronenberg , Karel Reisz and Louis Malle , Irons, however, was greeted by no less an embrace of Hollywood and became an icon of stardom with films such as Mission , The Mystery Von Bulow (which earned him even triple Oscar, Golden Globe and a David di Donatello), and the latest Lolita and The Crusades . The other night was to embrace the audience instead of the Auditorium Parco della Musica in Rome to conclude an exceptional season of events of the series “Journey into the American cinema” – organized by Monda and Sixth in collaboration with the Fondazione Cinema per Roma and Premium Cinema – in this edition has been inhabited on stage personality such as Susan Sarandon , Wes Anderson and Paul Schrader .

Impeccable and refined even in the sobriety of manner and style, Jeremy Irons has been lavished with his voice mellow and smooth in a river story of his professional and human experience (there was even space for a “Caramba” with ‘ meeting an old childhood sweetheart consumed in Positano). A friendly sort of confession, interspersed with footage of his most intense performances, has dwelt on various aspects (from the relationship with American colleagues to the political conviction), but always keep firmly in a single driving force: the art of ‘ actor and its extraordinary mixture of fascination and deception upon which the illusion of cinema. And who better than Mr. Irons is able to embody the mystery and the attraction?

After seeing this famous sequence is from Mission , in which an exceptional duets with Robert De Niro , the question arises what is the relationship you entertained on the set with your partner and what has been helpful your theatrical training to work at the cinema.
Jeremy Irons: The great thing about theater is that every night you’re free to play as a different character and this allows you to experience all the time, as I did for three years in a row at Bristol and then in London’s West End. My son, also an actor, after only two plays was recruited to star in four films. In this way you are not able to get the bones and the risk that your acting career is cut short prematurely if your first experience at the cinema go wrong. De Niro is obviously a great artist, but I must say that at that time was very slow during the shooting and demanded to keep repeating the same scene, the director on your nerves because the changes in between takes and the other was imperceptible. While the actors of the British school should not lose much time to prepare, the Americans trained to the ‘Actors Studio’ needs instead of reaching a complete identification.. Working with big names like Robert De Niro and Meryl Streep have always tried to learn the positive aspects of their method and mix them with my theatrical setting. The party, in fact, was to be assigned to my father Cyril Cusack , much older than me, and De Niro preferred more of a relationship of this type. At first there were several friction, culminating in a furious argument about one third of the shoot, after which, however, we became great friends.

The vision of the sequence of Ringers of David Cronenberg will show you in a difficult role. How did you play as naturally as part of two twin brothers?
Jeremy Irons : In the cinema is always a trick. Its task is to create worlds that do not exist and make them credible. Impersonating twin brothers is only the aggravation of this trick, which highlights the very essence of cinema. Among other things, the film is based in part on a true story and I spent a long time to documents, meetings several pairs of twins. The rest is done by the meeting between the script and the sensitivity and the personal baggage of the actor. Each interpreter is set in so differently according to his artistic background. For this reason, every interpretation, even of the same play, will always be something unique and unrepeatable.

The sequence of Lolita shows you work in a role very challenging and difficult. You have drawn inspiration from the original novel by Vladimir Nabokov or adaptation of the famous Stanley Kubrick , in which your part was played by James Mason ?
I agreed to do the film after many years of pressure and demands from the director, because I know that now we live in a very Puritan era and that such work would be received very problematic. In order to convince me was my friend Glenn Close and I am grateful because it was a very stimulating. I confess I had not seen the Kubrick film, if not some piece, which also was not very appreciated by Nabokov’s son to the excessive freedom of adaptation. Personally I think that James Mason was not a very apt choice, I would have rather preferred in that role Peter Sellers . Instead, I studied very carefully the original novel, trying to respect as closely as possible. It was a demanding task, but I think the overall result is excellent. In particular I am pleased to be able to convey a touch of humanity in my character. In real life, in fact, there are individuals committing acts which, although very respectable people are equally nice (if I remember correctly you have a Prime Minister who falls into this category The only comment that I can move the film is a certain lack of irony that we abounded in the release of Kubrick. But I think we breathe in our adaptation of a great moral force.

As for irony, you can say for sure that you do not miss, at least judging by the interpretations that we have just seen in the sequences of Appaloosa and Dungeons & Dragons . Why in American films often have a bad English accent?
Truly one of Appaloosa is my American accent (laughs). I just believe U.S. stars want to be loved by the public and are afraid to play as the bad guys. While the English actors, who have trained with Shakespeare, they know that their are antagonists to own more facets and complexity. Of course, being Tom Cruise is fantastic, I do not discuss, but I enjoy more to play as the bad guys.

The director of Appaloosa is the famous actor Ed Harris . It was easier for you to be directed by a person who is very familiar with the work of the actor?
I think it’s very difficult to be both director and actor in a film. This is because the actor on set is like a child, while the director is like his father. The actors are, after all, irresponsible individuals who love to play and have fun while they work. Direct a film but is really a pain! You have to constantly deal with many problems, resolve disputes that arise with the manufacturer, the crew and cast, and there is not much room for fun. That said, working with Ed Harris has been extraordinary, because he knows how to communicate well with the players and there has never left the sidelines during the process.

At this point we would like to make a little surprise to Jeremy, making him feel for the first time two excerpts from The Crusades and Stealing respectively dubbed into Italian by Edoardo Siravo and Gianni Giuliano , also here in the hall. What do you think their dubbing?
I could understand very little, because I have not seen good pictures and I do not know Italian, but I must say the voice actors are both very good. I admire the art of dubbing, which in some cases is essential, but I have doubts in respect of the directors of the dubbing, which often takes the place of the director throwing out the film. I am reminded of the case of my wife Sinéad Cusack , who bare thee O or I’ll sue you playing the part of a secretary submissive and virginal…. During the screening of the film in Cyprus was met with applause from the audience because the local advertising called it the new “sex goddess”, and in fact had been dubbed with a deep voice sensual style of Anna Magnani. Having said that I met a director of the Italian dubbing extraordinary that he could, watching my interpretation into French of A Love of Swann , to fit immediately into English.

The scene from The Crusades made me think of a question that has nothing to do with the speech in question: is it true that you own a castle in Ireland?
Oh, yeah.

You might instead say something about your experience in dubbing the cartoon The Lion King ?
I thought to give voice to a work of animation was equal to dub a film in the flesh, but it was a much more complex. For a period of six months I have participated in several meetings and pages of storyboard sketches. After that, the designers made me recite a few lines and make drawings inspired me. All this process led to the creation of the final character. Great was my disappointment when I discovered that my interpretation has given rise to Scar, a character ugly, balding and skeletal. Whereas Mufasa, the lion voiced by James Earl Jones was huge, powerful, and with a thick mane …

In concluding we would like to present them with some clips from some of your best performance in The French Lieutenant’s Woman , The mystery of Von Bulow and The House of the Spirits . Finally however, I would ask an opinion on the current political situation, as in the past have supported Labour but now you’re dissatisfied with the party.
Yes, years ago I supported the Labour Party, because at that time the British government was burdened with management on the part of conservatives too long and you needed a change. But then Labour have betrayed the expectations and proved they could not listen to their constituents. Currently, people have come to estrangement from politics, because the fate of governments in the multinational economic reality. Until we realize that this unbridled capitalism is unsustainable for our planet I’m afraid there is very little to do. I’m still satisfied with the current British government, which I think is a coalition of ideas that can revive and stimulate the political landscape.

From England come on the news instead of the Italian political situation, and in particular on the debate for the right information that we are living these days in our country?
I’m an actor and as such, I know little of anything. I know hardly what happens in the UK. Italy is a country that I love to madness, but even avendoci lived for a certain period of time, are not really ever able to figure out how it works .