Less than a week after the successful run of his latest stage role as the corrupt journalist Greg in Joe Penhall ’s “Dumb Show”, actor Rupert Graves is at home, already beginning work on his new film “Rag Tale”.
Good morning Rupert, how are you ?
Rupert Graves: Fine thanks, how are you ?
Good thanks, did you catch the match last night - you wasted a good result ?
(For his sins, Rupert is a big Arsenal FC supporter, and work permitting always tries to watch a game, either live or on television.)
Rupert Graves: So I heard, but I got a friend to tape it, as I was at a showing of that short film I did.
Right, the “calling card” one ?
Rupert Graves: Yeah, but I forget its name ….
Let me think …. It must be “A New Religion” ?
Rupert Graves: That’s the one, but when I got back he hadn’t taped it, so I didn’t see it.
Are calling card films still useful then ?
Rupert Graves: Yeah, a friend of mine wrote it, and it’s quite good. You know, there’s a bit of life for those films on the er, festival circuit.
Right, got it.
Rupert Graves: Yeah, and occasionally they get taken up by TV, but very rarely, and equally rarely sometimes they can be taken up as a like “B Movie” type, but I don’t think it will on this one as it’s a bit too long, seventeen minutes I think..
And your role in that is ?
Rupert Graves: I play an alcoholic, an ex alcoholic. I can’t remember the name!
(Laughing) You always forget, it’s “Vinny”.
Rupert Graves: Right, right.
It’s difficult for me to comment on the “shorts”, as quite often I never get to see them!
Rupert Graves: Me too!
What’s the name of that other one you did just recently …….
Rupert Graves: Mmm, I dunno…
Let me think a second here….
Rupert Graves: The one with Andy Serkis - Snake ?
Thanks, that’s the one. I was talking to Paul Viragh, the producer, and he’s been promising me a copy now for ages, I’m sure he forgot, though he did send me some stills.
Rupert Graves: Cool.
But then again, you’ve never seen “The Sheltering Desert”.
Rupert Graves: That’s right, but at the play, I met up with the guy who was the editor of it, and he said compared to what it could have been, it’s not that bad.
Rupert Graves: Yeah, when they got the stock through, it was so bad.
Yes, I noticed that when I was sent the film, even the stills were a bit off, but if you like I will send you a copy of the film ?
Rupert Graves: Yeah, I’d love to see it, how … I can’t imagine it to be any good at all.
I think it could have been done a lot better, I found it pretty boring to be honest, probably because I found it so difficult to get into, you know ?
Rupert Graves: I understand, I do!
Never released fully ?
Rupert Graves: No, I think it had a showing at The Dublin Film Festival though.
So, it’s quite a rarity then.
Rupert Graves: Yeah, thank God!
(Laughing) Don’t set me off, remember I’ve seen it!
Rupert Graves: It was actually funded … you know, it was one of those things where they said, do you want to go to Namibia for three days, and I went um, um, um, yeah go on then.
To be fair, you never actually had a script as such did you ?
Rupert Graves: No, not really, everything was so poor.
And the backing was from some sort of religious fanatics group ?
Rupert Graves: Yeah, it was very strange, very strange.
Moving ahead Rupert, since we last spoke in depth, you’ve been, as usual very busy. Charles II for The BBC, A Woman Of No Importance at The Haymarket, Pride, and something that’s just recently aired, the documentary for BBC 4, Theatre Biz .
Rupert Graves: Yeah, that was a bit different.
Yes, you were filmed in your dressing room between performances, playing darts, and I’m not sure that the treble twenty that you threw was possibly stage managed!
Rupert Graves: No, no. I can get a treble twenty, though it’s been a while since the last one!
(Coughing) I believe you.
Rupert Graves: Yeah right.
Going back to Pride Rupert, how difficult is it to do these voice productions, how does it work, do you enjoy doing them ?
Rupert Graves: Pride was fascinating actually, I’d like to do it again actually, because I don’t think I did a good enough job on it.
Well, it’s already been out in The States ..
Rupert Graves: How did it get received there ?
That’s a difficult one Rupert, the television production was butchered by adverts, and also a lot of people thought it’s audience target was kids, but then a lot of people thought some of the scenes were too drastic for kids.
Rupert Graves: (Laughing) Right, it must be awful for Americans, they’re such a gentle lot.
(Laughing) That’s funny.
Another voice production you’ve recently done was on BBC Radio 4 – The Mombassa Mail Flag.
Rupert Graves: Oh yeah.
You do a fair bit of stuff like that, do you like doing it ?
Rupert Graves: I don’t really like it, no.
So why do it ?
Rupert Graves: Well, I was asked to do it, and it’s not very long, but I was asked to do a book a while ago, and I turned it down, I’m not very good at it, that kind of reading thing.
Come on, a lot of people enjoy listening to you, you must have the voice for it?
Rupert Graves: I dunno, I just don’t think I’m really good at it, I don’t like sitting down for too long in a studio, because you always get very dead air, and I just really don’t enjoy it that much.
Even something like The Picture Of Dorian Gray ?
Rupert Graves: That’s probably the only one I did enjoy. I really don’t think I’m that good at it, I hear other people doing it and I think they are really good, and possibly if I put a lot of work into it, I could be good, but I don’t really want to spend that much time putting in a lot of work into something I don’t really enjoy you know.
Was Pride different ?
Rupert Graves: Yeah, it was, it was interesting. They filmed you when you were speaking, onto video, then they translate the action of your mouth, then they digitally put it onto the mouths of the lions. So when you spoke, the lion would have the same mouth action so to speak.
I’ve not seen it yet Rupert, I think it’s scheduled for video and dvd release at Christmas in The UK, so it should be on The BBC prior to that, and it should be interesting to see what reaction it gets over here, compared to some of The Americans being so shocked.
Rupert Graves: That’s good, that’s a really good thing. I think they do tend to compartmentalize a bit more.
The difference can be strange at times.
Rupert Graves: Yeah, it’s no worse than … I man I’m sure kids in America are allowed to watch nature programmes, and there’s nothing worse in it than say a nature programme showing a lion taking down an ox or something.
Right, know what you mean, these programmes can be fascinating to watch. One of the funniest things I ever saw was when this Cheetah took down a deer or something, and because it uses up all it’s energy in the chase, it needs to rest for a good hour before it can actually eat.
Rupert Graves: That’s right yeah.
And as it was resting, along comes Leo the lion, and this poor cheetah basically has to piss off, even if it had been fit, it stood no chance.
Rupert Graves: Yeah, it’s a hard life out there!
Rupert, what about Dumb Show, a new play, limited run, in a pretty intimate theatre ?
Rupert Graves: Yeah, it’s a fair size really, 400 seats on three levels, and you do feel quite connected to the audience.
And how did you enjoy the play ?
Rupert Graves: I really enjoyed it actually, really did.
The third time you’ve worked with Douglas ?
Rupert Graves: It is yeah!
You did The Caretaker, and of course Open Fire, which everyone wants a copy of. (Note to visitors, please stop the emails asking for a copy, it’s not going to happen.)
Rupert Graves: Eeee yeah!
(Laughing) It has to be good, you in a frock!
Rupert Graves: (Laughing) Er, right.
I actually have some stills in the archive that one of the production companies sent me, of you in your dress etc, and you look horrible.
Rupert Graves: (Laughing) Thank you!
(Laughing) No, I mean it, do not wear women’s clothes, it’s a bad thing!
Rupert Graves: I actually got beaten up once when I was filming that!
No! Did you really ?
Rupert Graves: Well, not beaten up, but I got hit by this gay guy (now laughing hysterically) who said people like you give us a bad name!
He actually swung for you ?
Rupert Graves: Yeah, he slapped me in the street!
(Laughing) He must have thought you were a slapper ?
Rupert Graves: (Laughing) Well, we did an awful lot of filming in documentary style, so the camera’s are all filming away, and I’m just walking along. In the middle of Soho….
And what, he thought you were a transvestite or something ?
Rupert Graves: Yeah he did !
That’s too much, it’s shocking!
Rupert Graves: We were trying to make him (David Martin) look like, em…. A bit like, you know like in Clockwork Orange ?
Yes, a bit more manly ?
Rupert Graves: Yes, but looking more aggressive when he was dressed up, without trying to glamorise it too much.
Well, he certainly didn’t look camp, that’s for sure.
Rupert Graves: Yeah.
And of course the actual story was very interesting, a true story.
Rupert Graves: Yeah, a true story.
(Laughing) All the same Rupert, do try not to wear women’s clothes – it’s not good and it’s not funny!
Rupert Graves: (Laughing) Okay, I’ll do what I can, I’ll try to resist the urges!
This laughing has me all over the place, we were talking about Dumb Show, a short run play, but very good, and good reviews ?
Rupert Graves: I’ve not seen them.
In the main, very good. The only complaint I’ve seen or heard is that the play was not “different”.
Rupert Graves: Right, from what I got back from the audience reaction, the play was a lot better than some of the critics might like to make out.
The feedback here at the website has been very good. I know a lot of the visitors who come here actually saw the play, and without exception they all remarked that it was a very good play, good story etc.
Rupert Graves: Right, well speaking to people whose opinions I trust, people I’ve known for along time in the business and stuff, they all thought it was a really good play.
And of course, written by Joe Penhall, who has done some other great stuff.
Rupert Graves: Yeah, he did Blue Orange, and he also did The Long Firm.
Did you see that on TV ?
Rupert Graves: I watched some of it, yeah.
That was really good, but for the moment I forget the actor’s name just now….
Rupert Graves: Mark Strong.
Mark Strong, that’s the guy, great actor, he was in …. Our Friends In The North, but in The Long Firm he was so menacing, very good.
Rupert Graves: Yeah, very good, I’m actually playing footie with Mark tomorrow.
(Laughing) Good one, break a leg!
Rupert Graves: (Laughing) Er, no thanks!
Is this a keep fit thing then, I take it you’re still off the ciggies ?
Rupert Graves: Yeah.
Do you find that difficult, how long have you stopped for now ?
Rupert Graves: Oh, about three years.
You never get a moment where you think I could just do with one ?
Rupert Graves: Yeah, but not very often, the thing is you get a moment where you think I’d really like a cigarette, but then it goes, in about half a minute.
I really need to stop, probably need something to happen and I’ll just say this is it, I’m stopping.
Rupert Graves: Did you ever read that book I told you about, by Doctor Carr ?
No, I didn’t, I think I lost it with the last tape, but give me the name again, and I’ll definitely look it up.
Rupert Graves: It’s by Doctor Andrew Carr, you’ll be able to find it on the internet.
Thanks for that, I’ll look into it, did the book help you ?
Rupert Graves: Yeah, but I never had to read the whole book.
Looking ahead Rupert – your plans for the future ?
Rupert Graves: Well, I’m doing a film called Rag Tale, which I start with in about two weeks.
And your role in that is ?
Rupert Graves: A newspaper editor, Eddy Taylor.
Can you tell me a little about the story ?
Rupert Graves: Yeah, it’s about a newspaper called The Rag, a red top.
A tabloid like The Mirror or The Sun ?
Rupert Graves: Yeah, and it’s improvised, we’re going to improvise it, pretty much.
Interesting, and some of your co-stars ?
Rupert Graves: Right, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Kerry Fox, Bill Paterson, em, oh, and Malcolm McDowell, it’s a really good cast.
It sounds a great cast, Malcolm McDowell is a bloody good actor.
Rupert Graves: He is, yeah.
Funny that, there we were earlier talking about Clockwork Orange … what was that other big film he did, in the sixties I think…..
Rupert Graves: Caligula ?
There was that one, but … I have it, it was called If.
Rupert Graves: That’s right, good film.
One film you’re not doing I believe is still listed on The IMDB.
Rupert Graves: Which one’s that ?
It’s called “The Day I ran Into All My Ex-Boyfriends”.
Rupert Graves: Yeah, no I’m not, I don’t think so anyway!
(Laughing) Come on, help me out here, I have to deal with the emails!
Rupert Graves: (Laughing) No, not that I know of, I think I was asked about two years ago though.
Two years ago ?
Rupert Graves: Right.
It has (listed) Brenda Fricker, Sabrina Lloyd, and Natasha Little in it.
Rupert Graves: Has it been made yet ?
No, it’s classed as pre-production for 2005.
Rupert Graves: No, I was asked, but I had issues with the script, and they’ve never been back to me.
So there’s a possibility you could still do it ?
Rupert Graves: If the script was good, and they came back to me, but I don’t know what the status is at all. What happens is that often with these people, they go around and they send you a script, and they can be quite sweet you know, and they say do you mind if we put your name to it, so we can try and get some money around your name, and if it’s a good thing you might say yes.
Got it. Thanks for the clear up, anything else on the go ?
Rupert Graves: Not really, oh I might be doing a film with Cameron Diaz, but it’s a small part, and I’m not sure yet.
So, that’s everything up to date then work wise, thanks again for the chat Rupert, always nice talking with you.
Rupert Graves: And you!
©2004 Rupert Graves Online.