tue 17/09/2019

theartsdesk Q&A: Actor Simon Callow | reviews, news & interviews

theartsdesk Q&A: Actor Simon Callow

theartsdesk Q&A: Actor Simon Callow

The actor talks sex, Shakespeare and game-playing with Stephen Fry

Simon Callow at 61: 'I couldn’t give a damn any more about what anyone thinks about me'

Simon Callow is on the phone when I arrive at his five-star digs, booming his apparently considerable misgivings vis-a-vis appearing in some reality TV exercise in which he will be asked to tutor disadvantaged kids in the mysterious arts of Shakespeare. “They keep saying it will be great”, he rumbles, “but it will only be great if it’s great.” And Amen to that.

No performance I’ve ever given has satisfied me. I always have the possibility the next day that I might get it right that time, but I never do

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At last, an interview that does more than scrape the surface, getting to the heart of Simon Callow's attitude and outlook on his life and work. Simon Callow is a man of extraordinary talents, not only an respected actor and director, but an extremely accomplished biographer and writer. Indeed, I too am reading his book Being An Actor 'for the second time'. His writing encompasses much wit together with an honesty and truthfulness which is admirable and heartwarming and rather hard to find in today's celebrity culture of ghost written tomes. His book Love is Where It Falls, an interesting and, for me, profoundly moving account of his relationships with both Aziz Yehia and Peggy Ramsay is another in my collection which will be read 'for a second time'. For me, Callow represents the last in a generation of a special breed of 'old school' actor, one who worked hard for many years to learn his craft in every field of theatre. His performance in his current one man show about Shakespeare's life is colourful and passionate and it is clear to see his own love of the Bard's life and works shine through. Long may his success continue!

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