Jeremy Irons: Perfecting the Bad Guy

Interview

Friday, April 12, 2013

“You can’t play a bad guy thinking, ‘I’m a bad guy,’” Jeremy Irons tells Kurt Andersen. “You’ve got to say, ‘Why does he make that choice to behave in that way?’” It’s all about playing the gray areas.

Irons knows from despicable; for 40 years, he’s been our best bad guy — the possibly murderous Claus von Bulow in Reversal of Fortune; the deranged twins in Dead Ringers; the fratricidal Scar in The Lion King. Irons’ latest complicated character is Rodrigo Borgia, a pope with mistresses and illegitimate children, in Showtime’s The Borgias.

It’s a good thing Irons was bad at science. “I wanted to be a veterinarian,” he tells Kurt, “but I didn’t show any signs of a scientific mind.” The headmaster thought he would join the army; his mates thought he’d become an antiques dealer. Instead, at 64, Irons is as busy in film as ever. Kurt wonders whether Irons ever agonizes over the roles he takes. “No, I’m pretty sanguine about that. I sort of know what I want to do and it comes just through appetite. I mean you see a bacon sandwich on a full stomach you think, ‘I don’t want it.’ And then, you know a day later you look at it and think, ‘I’ll eat that.’”

 

Bonus Track: Jeremy Irons' 3 for 360


    Music Playlist
  • The Borgias Main Titles
    Artist: Trevor Morris
    Album: The Borgias
    Label: Varese Sarabande
    Purchase: Amazon

Guests:

Jeremy Irons

Produced by:

Ann Heppermann

Comments [5]

Czerny A from Brooklyn, NY

If anyone is interested in hearing more of that great voice, you must hear him read on audiobook the novel "Lolita." It's a wonderful experience.

Apr. 20 2013 09:27 AM
Christine Muldoon from Regina, Saskatchewan (Canada)

It's easy for me to criticize, because I don't know that I'd have been brave enough to broach the issue (and for all I know, Kurt may have been instructed specifically not to broach the issue): however, I know I wasn't the only one listening to this interview who couldn't help thinking about the outrageous comments Irons made about same-sex marriage to the Huffington Post recently.

Kurt asked some great questions, and it was interesting to hear that Werner Herzog actually believed Irons was Polish, and that obviously speaks well to his actorly abilities. Unfortunately, however, it's tough for me to take anything Irons says seriously anymore.

Apr. 19 2013 10:36 AM
Christine Muldoon from Regina, Saskatchewan (Canada)

It's easy for me to criticize, because I don't know that I'd have been brave enough to broach the issue (and for all I know, Kurt may have been instructed specifically not to broach the issue): however, I know I wasn't the only one listening to this interview who couldn't help thinking about the outrageous comments Irons made about same-sex marriage to the Huffington Post recently.

Kurt asked some great questions, and it was interesting to hear that Werner Herzog actually believed Irons was Polish, and that obviously speaks well to his actorly abilities. Unfortunately, however, it's tough for me to take anything Irons says seriously anymore.

Apr. 19 2013 10:36 AM
Wingard Manor from Long Beach

I have been waiting for a film on Alan Watts.
I have always thought Mr. Irons should be cast as Mr. Watts.

Somebody please make this happen...

Apr. 16 2013 12:23 PM
masooda siffeti from Massapequa N.Y

he is so great I just love to watch him in screen as well love to listen to him one of my most favorite Actor he has such great voice

Apr. 12 2013 08:51 PM

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