Where did you train as an actor?
Were you a stage actor before your film career took off?
Yeah, lots of stage. Lots of diverse American stuff, British stuff, Shakespeare, musicals at the National Theatre and in the West End and 2 world tours so 9 years of theatre before Primary Colours.So you were 21 in your first film role?
No....or was I? Hold on a minute..Touch and Die in '91?
Yeah it was but I think I was 22. I played a sailor with radiation sickness and was looked after by an American reporter played by Martin Sheen and its a terrible, terrible film! It just is, its bad, if you looked in a dictionary of film it would be a definition of bad.Death Race 2000 bad?
No far worse, really. The makers of Death Race 2000 took comfort from it. Its one to avoid.
I see. Is it an easy transition from stage to screen?
Yeah. The first major screen work I did was with Mike Nichols who is a trained stage actor and writer, so his rehearsal process, thought processes and his way of working is to treat a script like a continuous piece of drama and to attack in that way. It was the same kind of approach, we rehearsed for 2 weeks, we read and we chatted about characters. He's great to work with.
Had you seen much of his work before you worked with him?
Yes but I didn't know that the films that I loved, he'd directed. You suddenly realise that he's done more and more like Regarding Henry, Postcards From The Edge and the Graduate. He got his first Oscar at something like 35, where do you go from there? Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? in '66 its unbelievable, he's just brilliant.
With regard to Love's Labours Lost, how do you think musicals translate onto screen?
Some of my favourite films are musicals, Singing in the Rain and On the Town - they're just really uplifting and I love cartoons like Aladdin.
Are they hard work?
Very hard work physically but its demanding on every part of you. It requires balance and timing, it places demands on your acting ability and you have to give your all in every respect, particularly your voice. With 8 shows a week you have to put yourself into a regime, I got so fit doing musicals.
Did you sing as a child?
Yeah, I started singing when I was 9. My major influences were Randy Crawford, Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye and young Dennis Brown. He died recently and I was shamed not to see a major obituary about him because he was fantastic. Imagine a 17 year old playing the piano and singing in a major concert in Jamaica, doing classic Soul that he'd rewritten into Reggae. I used to sing those songs all the time and at the same to time I was singing to Mozart and Haydn as a soprano in a choir. I was into Hiphop and Breakdance as well so my appreciation for music is completely diverse.
I'd love to know, what was Larry Hagman like?
He was great, a very cool and laid back kind of guy. I met him in the make up trailer and he had a cast on his arm. By this time I'd realised that as a lead in the film I was actually supposed to introduce myself to the other actors rather then sit there scared. Anyway, I asked him what had happened and he said, "Yeah, I took a spin." I said what do you mean, and he said, "I came off my Harley on a fast corner." The man's 68 years old with a shock of white hair, great guy! He gave everyone JR Ewing $ bills when he'd finished the film.
Were you a Dallas fan?
Well my Mum did so I ended up watching it by default. That 'who shot JR' bit was amazing, its compulsive viewing.