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The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy - Bill Nighy Q&A



Compiled by: Jack Foley

Q. As the mighty architect in the film, one of your great quotes is that 'you'd rather be happy than right'. Is this the ideal philosophy for an actor to have in his career?
A.
You could do worse than that. I had in fact come to that conclusion before I did the movie, actually. It's true. There are many times when I've settled for happy. I've thought, 'forget right, it's boring'. And I'm so often wrong! And thank you, good afternoon and how are you?

Q. In a fantasy world, which bits of Earth would you have liked to have created and which bits would you have liked to put a pencil through?
A.
I think if I were to re-design the Earth, I think I might lose the English Channel.
And I've toyed with the idea of lowering the temperature a touch, making it a little cooler in the Middle East [laughs]. It might not work but hey, nothing else has.
Oh, and maybe some more rain in California. They've had some recently and they're beginning to like it.

Q. Why the English Channel?
A.
I think it's not good for our manners to be stuck out there. Maybe we should be dragged back to the mainland and maybe muck in with the rest of them. And learn some new languages, which we disgracefully never do!

Q. Have you found any coincidences or parallels between your life and the actual comedy of Hitchhiker's?
A.
Well it's difficult to know if there are any parallels between me and the man who created Earth [laughs]. But if that's how you see me.
One of the central themes of the book, and one of the central jokes, is that you have these extraordinary people in extraordinary places doing extraordinary things, but when they're communicating with one another it's very familiar, and very regular and very normal. And it also has an essential Englishness which I really kind of recognise and dig. It doesn't really parellel with my life, it just makes me laugh, and that kind of delivery and irony and wryness of it is perhaps something that I would aspire to myself.
He manages to make it kind of allegorical without wanting to kill yourself, if you know what I mean?

Q. If you discovered the world was going to end in ten or 12 minutes time, how would you spend those minutes?
A.
I'd put the kettle on for a cup of Yorkshire tea (they owe me money!), I'd put on a Stones' record (don't ask me which one, or if you forced me, Sticky Fingers), then I would phone my dogs and see how they were doing and say goodbye, formally; and then I'd reach for some poems, The Complete Works of Harold Pinter, and I would read myself a couple of Harold's poems which always cheer me up, and then I'd check my hair! You know what I'm saying, you don't want to go with your hair a mess! And then I'd kick back and relax.

Photo by: Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images

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