Home' Scoop : Scoop 52 Winter 2010 Contents This is famously a play where not a lot happens,
was it an arduous text to learn?
Well you would be surprised. In terms of passing
the time, an awful lot happens. Didi and Gogo
consider killing themselves twice! That doesn t
happen in many people s lives. Then on comes
happens. You might say, looking at two geezers
talking to themselves on a park bench, "Well
nothing s happening over there", but how do you
know? A lot could be happening. They made the
decision to come out and sit on that bench for a
start (laughs). No, in terms of X-Men I dare say the
action in this is pretty paltry, but in terms of real
life I think it s jam-packed full.
I read in a previous interview that you likened
the play to jazz music, which is an interesting
metaphor. How does that apply?
Perhaps I was talking about the fun of acting,
which is if you know someone really well then
you can jazz it a bit. Not in terms of the words,
but how you re playing it. Beckett is rather jazzy
at times and he breaks his own rhythms. You
think he is going on in nice Jacobean mode and
these characters are absolutely recognisable, then
suddenly they turn and start speaking the most
ravishing poetry. Where does that come from? And
then one of them sings a song and another one
does a little dance and then they do some exercises
together. All of this variety reminds me more of
jazz than the stately progression of a symphony or
of a pop-song with a beginning, a middle and an
end. It s much more interesting than that.
There have been some changes to the cast since
the production began last year, with Roger Rees
replacing Patrick Stewart as Didi. Has that altered
the rhythm on stage at all?
Oh it did enormously. We had a lot of difficulty
because he was trying to catch up with us, and
my Gogo was relating to Patrick Stewart. I had
to discover what Roger Rees Didi was like. It
was sort of like a second marriage, and you don t
know what marriage is about just because you ve
been married once -- it s about being married to a
particular person. Roger is definitely his own Didi
and I ve amended my own performance to flow
with his. There are some things I regret losing with
that change but there are also new things that have
arrived. It is good.
In contrast to the huge audiences and hype
generated by films like X-Men and The Lord of
the Rings, this is a very different project. What's
it like returning to the stage after those films?
Well I never really stopped being on stage,
and even though I have done long periods of
filming, I ve not really lost touch. If I had I might
have been a bit nervous coming back. It sort of
comes as quite a surprise because it s been 10 years
since we did Lord of the Rings, but people are still
talking about it!
Does that get frustrating at times? Because
you've had such an exhaustive career, but
Gandalf has become your most iconic role.
No, because I m not a snob. If people want to
remember me for Gandalf, that s fine. Then when
I die they will say, "Gandalf is dead!" But they
would be wrong, because Gandalf is immortal
(laughs), unlike me. No, that would be insane. I m
not in this business to say, "I am a great act-or and
everything I do will be a classical work of huge
significance." Not at all. I ve been in Coronation
Street and Extras and The Simpsons. I ve done
voiceovers for polar bears (in the 2007 movie The
Golden Compass) and all sorts of things! They re all
different aspects of acting to me. And if someone
has only seen part of my work, well that wouldn t
be surprising. Particularly with the young boys and
girls who love Gandalf. I can t berate them and say,
"Didn t you see my Macbeth?"
How did you come to play the role of Gandalf?
I suspect it was offered to other actors first but
Peter Jackson has always denied that. He and his
wife, Fran, came to my house in London and they
talked to me about the script and asked if I would
like to play the part. I didn t have to audition or
anything. I don t know what they ve seen me do
that made them think I was right for the role. But
I think they have a lot of insight because that film
is remarkably well cast. I was just the lucky one.
Any number of good actors, like John Hurt or
Anthony Hopkins, could easily have played it.
You are rumoured to be returning to the role
in a new film version of The Hobbit. Can you
I can t be definite because there isn t a start date
yet and people haven t been cast. So it s a little bit
behind. The filming was originally going to start in
April but there has been a delay, probably because
the script isn t quite ready.
Waiting for Godot, His Majesty s Theatre, until
June 6. showbiz.com.au sm
Jali rings by Meghan O Rourke, $115 each.
Anodised aluminium cluster brooch by Meghan O Rourke, $420.
Poppy clutch by Nancybird, $85.
Model wears Payet Design rose gold and sterling silver necklace, $580
and Michelle Kelly sterling silver earrings, $210. Rodney Blumenfeld
ceramic square platter, $1,850 and sculpture $2,450.
Fraser Ave in Kings Park | ph (08) 9480 3900
open 7 days 9am -- 5pm
All Gallery profits directly support Kings Park.
Links Archive Scoop 52 Scoop 53 Spring 2010 Navigation Previous Page Next Page