Jeremy Irons at Watlington Christmas Market

Jeremy Irons and Sinead Cusack were on hand at the 2018 Watlington Christmas Market, to draw the winning raffle tickets, on Saturday 1st December 2018.

Jeremy Irons Officially Opens Children’s Centre

JEREMY IRONS officially opened the new Chalgrove and Watlington children’s centre.

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The actor, who lives in Hill Road, Watlington, cut a ribbon at the First Steps Family Hub’s launch ceremony on Friday.

The centre, which runs sessions at Watlington Primary School and from a purpose-built building in Chalgrove high street, was at risk of closure after Oxfordshire County Council withdrew its funding of £105,000 a year in April.

It was saved by volunteers who received grants from Watlington and Chalgrove parish councils and £30,000 from the county council.

Irons, 69, said: “It’s incredibly important, not only so that children can mix with others from an early age, but for the parents so that they can share worries, look at other children to see how they are doing in comparison and become more confident.

“They can take some of the strain off being alone in the house with the children and get to know others in the community.”

Irons, who is married to actress Sinead Cusack, added: “When we came to Watlington it was where my wife met other parents and our children met other children and we started becoming part of the community.

“This is an absolutely essential facility and has to continue — it would be disastrous if it closed. If public money can’t be found then it must be raised privately and I think that’s very tough but it’s the way of the world at the moment.

“Hopefully, we’ll be able to continue getting help from public funds as the economy grows stronger.”

The centre runs stay-and-play play sessions, a songs, rhymes and music group called Tuneful Tuesdays, a toddler group and a creative club offering arts and crafts activities.

The new-look centre, which is owned by the county council and Chalgrove Parish Councils has been running since March under manager Lucie Hamilton and playworker Maria Berrell.

It can be hired for functions with the proceeds going towards the service. Mrs Hamilton said: “Over the past eight months we’ve been trying to develop our services.

“We felt that it was important to rebrand the centre in order to have a fresh start and separate it from what it used to be.

“We’re so proud of our little team and extend huge thanks to all the local mums who come in every week.

“The community is unwaveringly dedicated to the cause and we owe a lot to the parish councils for their contributions. We have grown at least 50 per cent since March.”

Watlington’s county councillor Steve Harrod said: “It’s important to have these kinds of services and I’m impressed that residents got together and put forward a business plan.”

Jeremy Irons on Gardeners’ Question Time

Jeremy Irons was a guest on BBC Radio 4’s Gardeners’ Question Time, which aired on Friday 16 June 2017.  Jeremy’s interview, from his garden at his home in Oxfordshire, is part of the episode entitled Scottish Borders.

Click on the player below to listen to the entire episode.  Jeremy’s portion begins at 14:00 into the broadcast and ends at 22:00.

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Photo ©BBC Radio 4

 

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Photo ©BBC Radio 4

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This is the red kite which accidentally drowned in Jeremy’s pond and which has been hanging in his vegetable garden – as a deterrent to other red kites – and drying out, in order that the skull may be saved for a friend to use for a  sculpture.

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 Hosts Watlington Horticultural Show

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Jeremy Irons opened his home in Watlington to the public on Sunday 29th June 2014.

Watlington in Bloom presented its horticultural show and Music in the Summer Garden event at the house in Hill Road, which the actor shares with his wife, actress Sinead Cusack.

Organiser Gill Bindoff asked that entrants arrive between 10am and noon. The show was open to the public from 2pm to 4pm.

In the evening, Chamber Variations, a quintet, entertained guests with music by Elgar, Mozart and others.

Tickets cost £15, which included light refreshments.

Tim Horton, of Watlington in Bloom, said: “These are occasions to celebrate local achievement, whether in growing or preserve-making.

“We can expect a boost to funds that will allow us to roll out new schemes and help with the look of the town.”

All photos below via the Watlington in Bloom facebook page

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Jeremy Irons Interviewed for Saga Magazine

Jeremy Irons is interviewed in the August 2011 issue of Saga Magazine.

‘I don’t think I will ever be that famous. I don’t think it’s good for an actor – I’d rather be with my family’


Jeremy Irons
He’s about to star as arch-villain Cardinal Borgia in a new TV series, but the charismatic and likeable Jeremy Irons reveals that these days he is more concerned about another role – that of being a father.
Words: Gabrielle Donnelly
There is never an inkling of a doubt, when you are in conversation with Jeremy Irons, that you are in the presence of a Thespian. For starters, there’s the look – the swept-back salt and pepper hair, the darkly dramatic features highlighted by the knotted scarf, the huge, elegant hands waving gracefully in the air.
Then there’s the voice – resonant and beautifully modulated, the carefully honed instrument of a meticulously responsible owner. But most of all there’s the conversation. It swoops and swerves as it encompasses fabulously famous people, glamorous geographical byways, positively polychromatic opinions and some truly gorgeous anachronisms. (‘I am not,’ he announced to me once, ‘the sort of disapproving father who sends his sons telegrams.’) Telegrams!
He is never, ever, dull.
In a world where conformity is increasingly, and dispiritingly, the norm, Jeremy is an unapologetically unreconstructed luvvie who will
as happily give you his views on the current state of organised religion (‘I’m disappointed in it and I’ll tell you why…’) as reflect on playing Cardinal Borgia, who became Pope Alexander VI, in the Sky TV series The Borgias – ‘it’s the vulnerability that made him interesting to me.’
We are chatting on a sunny morning at the Four Seasons Hotel in Beverly Hills; he’s in LA for some promotional activity, but has a pad in New York and five other homes, including a pink castle in Ireland. Most of the time, he and his wife, the actress Sinead Cusack, flit between the Oxfordshire town of Watlington and the castle near Ballydehob, in County Cork.
‘I’m a jobbing actor,’ he says with some pride. ‘I always have been. I do theatre, television, movies; I’ll do anything anybody suggests if it tickles my fancy. I mean, I like to be paid, but if someone offers me a good character in a good story, I really don’t mind where it’s played.
‘I’ve done a couple of big-budget movies – a Die Hard – and I’ve done a couple of… what would you call them? Sort of… dragony pictures, you know?’ He sniffs at the memory of 2000’s Dungeons & Dragons.
‘Of course, doing a blockbuster is useful because people who make movies think that people who are in movies that make a lot of money will make their movies more money. It’s a clearly unproven thing, but that’s what accountants believe. For me, it’s more about the fun I have on a shoot. On the whole, I prefer smaller-budget films – they’re faster to make. With Die Hard, I’d wait for days while a ship was turned around so that a car could fall on it!’
The full article can be read in the August 2011 issue of Saga Magazine.