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Confessions of a Shopaholic - Hugh Dancy interview

Confessions of a Shopaholic

Interview by Rob Carnevale

HUGH Dancy talks about playing an editor in Confessions of a Shopaholic, working with costume designer Patricia Fields on his wardrobe and what his real-life shopping temptations are…

Q. Can you speak Prada?
Hugh Dancy: No, I’m still on chapter one.

Q. Playing journalists seems to be quite a popular career choice for actors. How much did you enjoy it and what kind of research did you do?
Hugh Dancy: I did visit Fortune magazine in New York and also the guy that does the Forbes 400 list. It was interesting to see the pace and the competitiveness and the deadlines. But more relevant to the guy I was playing was, I think, his commitment to the truth telling aspect. I guess I saw a little bit of that exhibited in those offices, but it was clearer in the script.

Q. How was working with costume designer Patricia Fields on your wardrobe?
Hugh Dancy: I had the odd experience of working with Patricia Fields, who is obviously known for making women look fabulous and yet here we were trying to make me, a guy, look kind of scruffy. I think that was probably relatively new to her. Jerry Bruckheimer is right when he says that she’s collaborative and interested in character and how you feel. So, it was a very productive work experience.

Q. Can you draw comparisons between the scale and the expense of a Hollywood movie compared to the kind of movies and TV material you started out on? Does it seem like anything goes in an industry this huge?
Hugh Dancy: Well, I think I’ve worked on movies and TV shows of all different scales where money felt like it was being spent unintelligently. And I’ve worked on very big movies, like this one, where the attention to detail is incredible. There’s no sense that the door has been flung open wide and the cash was just flying out.

But then I don’t think we’re necessarily in a position to answer that because we’re obviously not the ones writing the cheques. So, what it comes down to [for us] is just a few people in a room and the work that they’re doing. So, it was myself, Isla Fisher, PJ Hogan, the director, and Jerry Bruckheimer, and that is true of a small TV show or a huge movie.

Q. But what about in terms of the scale of the production?
Hugh Dancy: Oh yeah, it’s different entirely. It’s like a space launch. It’s really how it feels sometimes. I’ve worked on a couple of other movies of Jerry’s and particularly the larger, more action type movies… they feel like a small town. There’s a fire engine, sometimes there’s a creche… I half expect there to be a church. It’s a community.

Q. What was the last thing you bought with a credit card?
Hugh Dancy: I took my friends to dinner. Good meals tend to be my extravagance.

Q. Do you have any money saving tips?
Hugh Dancy: Don’t spend it! I know it sounds stupid but the essential truth of the books and the movie is really that – put the credit card back in the wallet, or cut it up!

Q. What are your shopping temptations?
Hugh Dancy: Mine is books. I will go into a book shop… that’s the only shop I really like to browse in to kill time and will come away with too many.

Q. What are you doing next?
Hugh Dancy: I have a movie called Adam, which will be coming out on an as yet unknown date later this year.

Read our review of Confessions of a Shopaholic