Actor and director Simon Callow: “The last time I saw Four Weddings and a Funeral was 10 years ago. It held up terribly well’

Born in London, Simon Callow studied at Queen’s University in Belfast. Since his stage debut in 1973 he has appeared in theatre, film and television. An Olivier Award winner, Callow has written and directed plays and opera productions. He was awarded a CBE for services to acting and is married to Sebastian Fox.

What is your earliest memory?

Being chased by pigs in an orchard where I scrumped five-year-old apples. Dreadful.

When and where were you happiest?

At drama school, at the age of 21. I discovered who I was and what I should do.

What is your biggest fear?

disappoint people.

What is your least and most attractive quality?

At least: greed. Most: practical friendliness.

What quality do you regret most in others?


What is your biggest insecurity?

More promises than I can keep.

Who would you most like to have a drink with?

I’d love to have a drink with Christopher Hampton – tirelessly generous and funny.

Which fictional character do you identify with the most?

Mr Pickwick.

What is your most prized possession?

The Ring by Micheal MacLiammóir. For a dizzying week in 1968, I was his dresser on his dazzling one-man show, The importance of being Oscar, and soaked up his extraordinary aura. Many years later I wrote about him in my first book, which led to an actor, to whom Micheál had bequeathed the exquisite ring he had designed and always worn, giving it to me. It fit perfectly and I’ve been wearing it ever since.

What’s your guiltiest pleasure?

Cheese I’m allergic to.

What’s the best advice you’ve received?

Never take advice.

When was the last time you cried and why?

I cry all the time, almost always when I’m happy.

do you believe in a god


what is your favourite word?


What’s the last TV show you binge watched?

The wonderful Mrs. Maisel.

When was the last time you watched Four weddings and one death?

Ten years ago. It was only the second time I had seen it. It has held up incredibly well.

28 years later, do you keep in touch with any of your actors or crew from that film?

We see each other from time to time, but I see Mike Newell more than any other actor.

What advice would you give your 18 year old self?

Do everything you do to the utmost.

Who would play you in a movie of your life?

Robert Downey Jr. When I was younger, I had tremendous and perhaps quite alarming energy. Downey, who I met once in the early 1980s, had the same thing; I had a similar feeling. Later I wrote a screenplay from my book, love is where it falls about an intense time in my life and I wanted to offer him the role of me. Unfortunately, he was in prison at the time.

If you could have a superpower, what would it be?

Ability to create 48-hour days.

What was your most embarrassing moment?

I had an entire conversation with the great American poet Robert Lowell under the impression that he was Arthur Miller. Amazingly, I got through the whole conversation without either of us noticing.

What was the worst job you’ve ever done?

Casting an actor whose performance I detested and having to rehearse the role exactly as he played it.

Which actor or playwright from the past would you have liked to meet and what would you talk about?

It has to be William Shakespeare, doesn’t it? And of course I would discuss the punctuation in Hamlet.

What are you looking forward to most about being back in Dublin this month?

Oh the wit and the imagination and the food – improved beyond recognition.

What song would you like to play at your funeral?

Massenet’s ballet music Le Cid. Unbridled joy.

Simon Callow appears in Anything Goes, a musical with music and lyrics by Cole Porter, running May 19-28 at the Bord Gáis Energy Theatre. Tickets from Actor and director Simon Callow: “The last time I saw Four Weddings and a Funeral was 10 years ago. It held up terribly well’

Fry Electronics Team

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