Real-life people are often the hardest to play, people that you recreate who have actually lived, because you have to live up to people's knowledge of those characters.
I'd gone into that restaurant and sat down and the waitress had taken my order and everybody else had seen me with this what must have looked like this creature, this animal, sitting on the top of my head!
I thought it was getting better and better, because the production values were increasing each time we did it.
I shall miss all the people in it and the great fun we had doing it. I enjoyed playing the character very much. It was a very, very special character and a very special series. And the camaraderie of it all. I loved it.
Sir Larry could be very strict and a disciplinarian, too. He had many faces; he wore many hats. But, ultimately, he loved the theater and he loved actors.
It's often difficult to slough off all that we've acquired, all the comforts and safety nets modern life provides for us, and realize that in those days, people were living very much on the edge - life was incredibly hard!
We started filming in 1993 which was only four years after the fall of communism. The difference in Budapest over the last five years has been remarkable.
I'm always conscious of the fact that I am part of a profession that is 80% permanently unemployed. So, to be working in any sense is to be privileged.
I've been a professional actor now for 38 years. A long time. And it's wonderful to earn your living doing something that you love. To think people actually give you money for it!
You have to get through the Hamlet hoop as a young actor. Your classical qualifications are based on the quality of your Hamlet. And then, as an older actor, you have to get through the Lear hoop. And I'm approaching the Lear hoop.
Reputation is fine but you have to keep justifying it. In a sense, it makes it harder because people's expectations of you are higher. So, you have to fulfill those expectations. Or, try to exceed those expectations. But, it becomes more difficult as time goes on.
He was living in an age much more dangerous, more painful, much more on the edge than our own particular age.
I would like to be as fit as I've always been. I've been blessed with good health, I've been blessed with stamina. Particularly for those great classical roles, you need an Olympian stamina. I, fortunately, have that.
I think that each character has fascinated and interested me enough to want to play him.
I think my parents were happy that I'd gone to university and gotten a degree in history so they thought, 'Well if acting doesn't work for him, he can always become a history teacher or something.' Fortunately, the acting worked out.
There's never been any game plan or thread through my career. It's just happened that I've ricocheted from one interesting character to another.
Ultimately it's a leap of faith and a leap of imagination to put yourself back in time into those conditions and situations and see how you would react.
It's too hard a life for me. I could only do it - check out in that sense - if I checked out somewhere that was luxurious and within hailing distance of civilization.
Actors, I don't think, ever really grow up. I'm hoping that that rejuvenating process applies to me, too. It has so far. I've been very lucky.
I had to think long and hard about what it would imply, what it would mean. Would it mean any alterations of one's lifestyle? Or, more than that, the way that people regarded you? The way they reacted to you if you had a Sir in front of your name?
I think actors always retain one foot in the cradle. We're switched on to our youth, to our childhood. We have to be because we're in the business of transferring emotions to other people.
What was so good about it was that the set that they originally built stayed there, and weathered over the five years. It got five summers and five winters of weather. It became more and more authentic as we worked in it, and they added bits to it.
I am an actor and I live in the world of pretend in my working capacity. I live in the world of my imagination.
Every person who is offered a knighthood has the opportunity to say yes or no. You get a letter from the Prime Minister saying you've been recommended for a knighthood and there are two little boxes, one says yes, one says no.
I never lose that terror of 'this is my last job, I'll never work again.' You can never relax and rely on whatever reputation you've built.
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