Compiled by: Jack Foley (from an interview with Martyn Palmer
Q Have you seen Intermission yet?
A Yes, I was at a screening last night. Im really pleased
with it. Most times when you see a finished film its different
to what you expect but not in a bad way, but often in a surprising
way, but its exactly what I was hoping for.
Q What did you like about it?
A I know everybody says the same thing I read it and
I just couldnt put it down... (laughs) but its
true. And it made me laugh out loud, like a maniac, the whole
way through, I just loved it.
And then meeting (director) John Crowley, Im not very good
at auditions, I just find them really difficult and a lot of the
times I think the directors and the casting people find them difficult,
too. Because you are expected to go in and give the essence of
you in like two minutes and then just read something through once
and you are out of the door and its like aaahh!
But with John, because of his background in theatre, he really
worked with me and we went through things quite a few times, and
he gave me proper direction, actually in the audition.
And he made me giggle because he has a great sense of humour and
I just thought I have to do this, its looks like it
will be such a fun thing to do...
Q And was it fun?
A Oh yeah. Absolutely. John is just a lovely man and the rest
of the cast, I mean you couldnt ask to work with nicer people.
Q How was the Irish accent?
A When Im doing the auditions, I always feel that Ive
got the accent and its fine, and then when you actually
start having the lessons with a voice coach, you sort of lose
it a bit, and you have to get bad before you can get better again.
Its confidence or something. And then when you have got
it adequately enough you just think you are being awful so it
was a real worry for me especially at the read through, I was
sitting next to Shirely Henderson, a fellow Scot, and I was like
thank God! because we were both in the same boat.
And then her first line came up before mine and she had it down,
she really did have it great. And I was like god damn it!
I thought we could both be hopeless together! (laughs)
Q Is it easier for a Scot to do an Irish accent?
A My theory is that its easier for Scots to do accents
in general because were used to going so up and down anyway
that we can modify it.
I think thats true of the Welsh too, I think its something
to do with the hills and the valleys, our accents are like up
and down. I think it must be more difficult for people who have
more flat accents and intonations to start doing other things
with it. So theres an openness there. But I have no idea
really (laughs) its something that I thought about late
at night, and thats my theory (laughs).
Q. Are you the kind of actor who keeps the accent going when
youre not in a scene?
A. No! I get really embarrassed. But Im impressed with
people who can do that. I mean, Johnny Lee Miller kept the Scottish
accent going when we did Trainspotting.
I didnt know him as an English guy, I thought he was Scottish.
Even at the wrap party he was keeping it going. And I remember
going to a photo shoot down in London, I saw him and said hi,
Johnny .. and he started talking all weird, I was like whoa,
whats going on? (laughs) Its a bit odd and I
cant do that.
I would feel I was being untruthful with the people I was working
with. But the thing about accents is I remember doing a Welsh
accent in a thing called House and when I came back my flat mates
were going why are you talking so funny? And I was
talking in a Scottish accent with Welsh intonation.
And it happened in Dublin when I was doing Intermission, I was
phoning Dougie and he was going its weird, youre
not doing the accent, but you sound different.. And it slips
in with different words. Its funny, but I quite like it.
Q How was working with Colin?
A He is the most charismatic, sweet man. He really is.
Q And youve worked with a few of the best leading men...
A I know, Ive done fine. Johnny Depp, Ewan McGregor,
Im going great guns. But Colin is not like the person you
read about which is great. Its like an act. Its like
hes doing a show or something. And you meet him and he is
Q He certainly gets the headlines..
A But its like water off a ducks back to him.
You know he is very tongue in cheek. And he was great to work
with. Everybody was. I didnt know a lot of the actors, just
Shirley. And like Colm Meaney you feel that you know him. And
Dave Wilmot (Oscar) who is an amazing actor, I think. It was just
great and a really great crowd of interesting people.
Q How did this fit in with State of Play?
A I did Intermission before State of Play, I went straight
on to it. State of Play went really well.
Q That was a popular programme with journalists, I must say...
A (laughs) Is that because we made it slightly glamorous for
Q Possibly. The characters seemed far more rounded..
A I know. When we were filming I was desperate for a pad and
a pen but I never got one. That was the only thing for me, I kept
thinking I dont feel like a proper journalist unless
I have a pad and pen but it never quite happened.
Q Are you going to to do more?
A. Paul Abbott (writer of State of Play) has been commissioned
to do another one. And weve all had the phone call asking
if we would be interested. Its so funny, weve all
been texting each other and I think Bill (Nighy) was the first
one to get the phone call and he was texting me saying Ive
got the call, youll be getting the call... I was like
dont tell me that, in case I dont! (laughs).
We are all in the same position, we had such a ball and we would
all do it if its the same people but if anything changed
then it wouldnt be the same.
Bill cracked me up. There were certain days when I couldnt
keep my face straight, and I would do the same thing to do. We
were all basically in hysterics throughout. Bill is a lovely,
Q Youve just got married I understand?
A Yes, two weeks ago.
A Thank you very much. It was the best day ever and we had
a week away and I came straight here to Toronto. Everybody keeps
saying oh my god you are working when you should be on honeymoon..
But we werent even expecting to get that week so that was
Q Where did you go?
A Italy. Tuscany.
Q The best day of your life?
A (laughs) Its such a cliché but its true
and you remember your wedding as being the best wedding ever.
Q Where is home?
A London. I moved to London about five, maybe six years ago.
I waited a while after Trainspotting. It was after Elizabeth,
whenever that was. And it has taken me this long to grow to love
I mean, it takes a while to understand how London works and to
make arrangements like weeks in advance instead of days.
London can be overwhelming. Everyone says but there is so
much to do... And there is, but you dont do anything
at the start, and then you kind of go out and start to discover
things, thats when it gets easier and becomes a good place.
Suddenly, you know where you are going without thinking. Its
quite seductive. And were happy to be there. It would be
silly to go anywhere else because its the best place for
both of us for work, so why make things harder.
Q Will you go back to work now?
A I hope so but I havent got anything lined up and I
havent worked since State of Play. It was kind of OK because
I was planning the wedding and everything but now Im kind
of ready to get back into it.
Q Gosford Park must have been a great working experience?
A. It was. I saw Robert (Altman) yesterday and I interrupted
one of his interviews to say hello. Hes a great man and
he just never stops working.
Q You must be pleased with the way that your career is going?
A. I am. Totally thrilled. I feel that Ive been given
so many great opportunities and as an actor you cant necessarily
expect them in a career and I hope Im not running out now.
I hope that theres not a handful that you are given and
thats it. I kind of want to keep working and every now and
then great things sort of turn up. Like if you want them enough
they kind of do.
Q Ever tempted to try your luck in LA?
A Im going to LA after this, Ive got an American
agent and everything and Im just going over there to see
Q But you and Dougie wouldnt be tempted to move there?
A I think London is a move enough for me. I think if you got
a job there or if you were working so much in the States, then
thats when it comes into play, but I dont, I kind
of get a bit cringey when people say oh Im going out
there for six months to see what is happening..
I can go out there for a couple of weeks and then I need to come
Q When did you first think you wanted to act?
A I was tiny, tiny. I was always doing little performances.
Like on my own, not in front of people, I wasnt that kind
of kid. I didnt have a stage mum or anything.
Q. Were your parents involved?
A. No they werent. But I would say from about seven
I knew what I wanted to do and I had dreams about Hollywood and
things. But the Hollywood of the forties and fifties. My Mum had
a big old MGM film book and I would just sit and read it, well
look at the pictures. I just thought it was so glamorous and great.
And really, Im just amazed that Im here.