«Believe in enchantment and allow yourself to be enchanted.»
How do you define success?
I would define success as the synergy of achievement and happiness.
Do you have a key sentence/motto about success?
I have two actually ; Take your work seriously but not yourself. And, work works.
What inspires you? And where do you find your inspiration?
I get inspired by my children to never forget the power of play and imagination. They invest so much in their 'make-believe' worlds that you couldn't call it pretending or a falsehood. At play they don't lie, they create a truth that shapes and touches the world around them.
Could you tell us about your success? What is the short-story of your success?
Growing up in the North East of England i never had any contact with 'Actors' as such. I'd go to the cinema on a Saturday morning with my brothers and felt that it was a world occupied by 'other' people, from some far off land so detached from the one i lived in. Quite impossible for me to enter into.
As i grew i regarded this feeling as an alter ego that would simply go away one day. However, it grew in me and i found myself in my 20s working as a spacial designer in London and sneaking off on my own to the cinema and the theater literally feeding the beast. After seeing John Malkovich in the play 'Burn This' in Londons' west end, I started studying in the evenings at a theater school and quickly left my career as a designer to give it my best shot. Within a year i had gained a place at The Bristol Old Vic Theater School, then i got my first big movie ! I was cast as Dagonet in Antoine Fuquas' King Arthur'.
I had achieved my biggest dream. I literally pinched myself every day on set, hurtling around the Irish countryside on horseback with a sword in my hand and getting paid for it ! Well the joy didn't stop there. I bring that deep delight to every job i do and i'm very aware of the privilege that comes from earning my living doing something that i love and cherish.
Do you have a “5 rules” to follow and keep on being successful?
I don't follow rules per se but some things have come to light that i hold dear ;
Don't focus on someone else's career as a goal - you'll miss the career you're having.
Trust in your own instincts.
Remember that it's a choice to be happy.
What you choose not to do is what actually will define your career.
Believe in enchantment and allow yourself to be enchanted
Do you have a ritual that you follow everyday ?
I've thought about it. Even tried to implement a regime or so. But the Gypsy player in me is always on the move and experiencing different lands and timezones it proves impossible to follow a ritual of any kind. The closest i have come is that whenever i come home to the family i strive to make sure i do the morning school run with my son.
What do you avoid to keep on being successful?
I avoid believing my own press or thinking i'm any more special or interesting than anyone else. I play interesting people! I avoid fooling myself trying to second guess what it is thats brought about my success. I try to avoid the sycophants and fake people that linger like remora fish bemoaning their lot in life.
Do you have advices for the young generations?
Sorry, but to quote Shakespeare - 'To thine own self be true, And it must follow, as the night the day, Thou canst not then be false to any man'.
Polonius - Hamlet.
How important time is and has been in your life? And what does time represents for you?
The whole concept of time is an anomaly. Ever since we began calibrating and dividing our presence here there has been the effect of time appearing to slip away or linger in our lives. I travel an awful lot and pass through many time zones and i'm either losing time or gaining time, which in itself is a weird concept. However, The times of my sons' births are forever etched in my heart. Memory can distort time in very positive ways. Bad memories become shorter over time and the wonderful memories can be dwelt upon and expanded at leisure.
How do you deal with time questions in your work?
My late father was a pilot in the Royal Air Force. He impressed on all his sons that there are several degrees of early, but only one degree of late - and thats Too damn late! Working in the theater there is a term clad 'The Half' - literally a half hour before curtain up (actually it's a half hour plus five minutes !) All to ensure a full cast, all present and ready to go for the performance. Also, in movies, the running time is crucial. The visual story cannot simply go on and on. ask any comedian or dramatist the power of timing ! We may not always be aware when the timing is right, but we sure know when it's not !
How Maurice Lacroix is a natural continuum of your everyday life? What place does it have in your life?
I always take great pleasure in wearing and looking at the Maurice Lacroix timepiece on my wrist. It's a work of Art and engineering and with the Squelette I truly love the tactile nature. I have a personal connection every time i wind it up and i can marvel at the master horologists' craftsmanship.
It's nostalgic for me as i remember my father winding up his watch and my son loves to hear the quiet, steady tick tick tick of it's movement. In fact, ever since he was aware of my leaving to travel far away for work we would use the code'Tick, Tick, Tick till Papa's home. One day i would hope to pass this watch on to him as i know it will be a treasure for him and one he will cherish.
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