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Gambit - Alan Rickman and Sir Tom Courtenay interview


Interview by Rob Carnevale

ALAN Rickman and Sir Tom Courtenay talk about their roles in Michael Hoffman’s Gambit during the UK press conference for the movie.

Q. What masterpiece would you most like to steal?
Sir Tom Courtenay: By Vermeer, the maid pouring the milk, because it’s beautiful.

Alan Rickman: I just spent the weekend in Bruges, so I’d just like to take the whole of Bruges and put it in my living room, really. Wherever you go there’s something you want.

Q. Given the theme of the film, who has conned their way into a job by claiming a skill they didn’t have?
Sir Tom Courtenay: I had to ride a horse in Billy Liar but they got somebody to hold it for me.

Alan Rickman: I am on film, I’m not going to tell you what it is, but having claimed to be able to drive a car, and there is one take of a sports car where the crew is down the other end of the road because I had to make a hill start and I had no idea how to do that. There was the owner of this car, looking like he was going to kill me or himself, I wasn’t sure who because this was his prized possession… but there was one take and this car is screaming down this road in first gear with the windscreen wipers going and it wasn’t raining. I can drive now.

Q. Alan, did you demand a closed set for your nude scene? And did you base your character on anyone real?
Alan Rickman: Base the nakedness on somebody [laughs]? I didn’t have any option, because it said ‘he takes all his clothes off’, so it’s there in the script! I was frozen with alarm that this was happening at this point in my life anyway, and that actually people are going to see this as well. And then I looked to my right and there was a room full of extras in the next office… Completely transparent [glass].

Q. And did you base him on any mogul?
Alan Rickman: I think the words Boris Johnson slipped out of my mouth at one point. And Toad of Toad Hall. A mixture of the two [laughs].

Q. Sir Tom, it’s now 50 years on for you since you were first in the West End. Did you ever think you’d still be here half a century later?
Sir Tom Courtenay: The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner, which was my first film, opened 50 years ago. Last year, I did two films, and this is one of them, so I would say that it’s taken me 50 years to cash in on the success of that film. In fact, Michael [Hoffman, the director] had seen me in that and saw me in Little Dorrit, I think. So, [did I think I’d be] sitting here? No I never did, actually.

Read our review of Gambit

Read our interview with Colin Firth