(cool upbeat music) – I know there was initially some hesitation with doing television, that you then got past.
Curious, A, what that hesitationwas, but B, why this story? Why was this the thing thatbrought you to the medium? – Oh, well, it wasn’t really a hesitation.
I mean, it was just pure snobbery.
(Lacey laughing) I was, I’d done a filmwith Stephen Frears.
– [Lacey] Yes.
– “Florence Foster Jenkins”, I was having dinner with him, and he said, “What are you doing next?” I said, “I’ve got a thing.
” He said, “No no no no no, I’mgonna send you something, ” and he sent me this thing, and it was three scripts.
I thought, “Television? “I don’t do television.
” And, (group laughing) and then I read themand they were brilliant, and I realize everyone does it now.
I used to, I just can’t helphaving a little hankering for the old days of glamor.
– [Lacey] I get it! – Cinemas with lots of people in them.
Anyway, it’s all gone.
(group laughing) And, you know, there’s no question that the TV’s full of fantasticwriting and everything, and this was a brilliant project.
I had to say yes.
And then, spent a niceyear panicking about it.
– What was that panic? – Well I always have a panic.
(stammers) Everyone else does, but.
Yeah, a fear of failure, and, particularly if there’s a long delay.
It got delayed, thatproject, and I, you know, so I spent a yearresearching this character, maybe that helped, maybe itmade me better, I don’t know.
It was, yes, a lot of, I took a very deep bath in that character, and I, you know, met all thepeople who had ever known him, and I read every book, andI watched him on YouTube.
It was a dangerous moment when I was watching him on YouTube, and realized I could do quitea good imitation of him.
‘Cause I kinda do imitations, and I thought, “Is that enough?” I thought, “No, shit, Ben Whishaw’s in it, “he’ll be doing proper acting.
” (group laughing) So then I went to (muffledby laughter) a bit more.
– Talk to me about aboutwatching it with your (questioningly) 89-year-old father? – Yes, yes, well.
– Particularly there’s.
– Ex-, ex-military father, who I have dinner with on Sunday nights.
And to my horror, I went round, when the show was justcoming out on the BBC, and he said, “Now wait a minute, “isn’t your film on television tonight?” (someone laughing) And I said, “Well yes, dad.
” And he said, “Well, let’s watch it.
” And I said, “No, no, it’s not up your alley.
“You wouldn’t like it, you really.
” And he said, “No, nonsense, I’ve got a television upstairs, “if you show me how to workit, we’ll watch it together.
” So I then had to sit there, with my old dad, and, you know, watch this thing where Ibring Vaseline into the room.
(group laughing) Spread it on Ben Whishaw.
Poor old Paddington.
And, (group laughing) it was at that point that my father said, “Well I think I might go to bed now.
” (group laughing) Whereas, dad’s, he’s classic, I took him to Paddington Two, to the premiere, inLeicester Square in London, and halfway through the film he turned to me and said, “Is that a real bear?” And, I had to say, “Well no, dad, “’cause he’s talking, you see.
” (group laughing) – That’s how it happens.
(cool upbeat music) – What are your sort of go-to tricks, the things you sort of needto do to get into a role? – For me it’s usually one garment.
(someone laughing) – [Lacey] Uh huh? – Or even a way you wear one garment.
For this Jeremy Thorpe thing, he was famous for wearing his hats, and I was standing there at (mumbles) costume place in London for days and days, thinking, “What the fuck is wrong here? “I’m dressed just like Jeremy Thorpe, “I’m wearing the samehat, I can’t get it right.
“I can’t see him, I can’t see him.
” And then one of the guys there said, “Just tilt it back two inches.
” Bingo, there he was.
– [Lacey] That was it? – And yeah, and then everythingstarted to fall into place.
I took the hat home and, when I was sort of studying the part, would wear it and I couldsee him and feel him.
(cool upbeat music) – Hugh, you had also said that you have, you permanently havean inferiority complex, because you are, and Iam putting this in quotes so you know that you said this and not me, “just the guy from romantic comedies”.
Is that real? (stammers) Really, you feel that way? – Well, yes, I did.
Bit less now, because you know, I’ve got too old and ugly andfat to do them anymore, and so, now I’ve done other things and, I feel, I’ve got marginallyless self-hatred.
(group chuckling) Most of those romantic comedies I can look squarely in the face.
One or two are shockers, but, on the whole, I can look them in the face, and people like them, andI’m a big believer in, that our job is to entertain.
I see us craftsmen along withthe guy who does the lights, and the guy who edits, andthe guy who pushes the dolly, to make an entertainment, to entertain people, ’cause if it’s not that, Ithink it’s a bit masturbatory.
Can I say “masturbatory”? – (stammers) You did, and you can.
– [Another Guest] “Masturbatory.
” – I’ll say it again, “masturbatory”.
(cool upbeat music).