What was it like when Keith Richard finally did his Pirates cameo?
I actually made a point of not going to the set and I am kicking myself for it now. I thought he was going to be so hounded, even though he is a rock god. I thought…’Let him get on with it’. So I did not bother him.
Have you been approached about part four of Pirates Of The Caribbean?
I don’t know whether they will go on to part four. This is the end of another trilogy. I would never say never, because it has been so much fun. But it might take on in some other projects.
What part of film making process do you find appealing?
I never thought I would be doing as much action as I have been. I love the inter-action between two characters.
Belated congratulations on your 30th birthday, how did you celebrate?
I actually had all my friends. Because we were shooting Pirates in Hawaii, we were in Hawaii. And then we came back to Los Angeles to finish some of it. So we had a bit of a bash in Hawaii and a bit of a bash in LA, so it was really nice. Very spoilt.
Did it feel like a landmark birthday?
I have to tell you that it felt very good to reach 30 and it felt good to have lived this far. I thought I would never make it to 30. It feels different. It feels less…urgent. It is now time for reflection and how much living do I want to do. As much as working has been my life, there is a shift on priorities. It is the first time in eight years I have not got a job, which I am immediately going into. And that in itself has given me a moment to take a breath and look around. So I went to Antarctica for a few weeks and that was an incredible experience. And I am about to go off to Indonesia with Unicef and then I’m going to be finishing building my house. And then…what was that inspired me before I went to drama school? It was movies for sure but then drama school really got theatre into my blood, so is there a play that I can really get off the ground? Then what’s the right play and when’s the right time and how can I make it an organic experience? I don’t just want to be thrust out to the West End and feel like my balls are left hanging. But, at the same time, it would be great to do a play in the West End if I could be part of a company or an organic experience. It is hard to say. Mind you, I did see Equus and I thought he (Daniel Radcliffe) did a great job. It was really ballsy – pardon the pun – really a brave choice. I could see why he did it. I thought it was a great job and it made me think…yeah.
Why did you decide to go to Antarctica?
I did it for myself, really. I wanted to check out that environment. I had been part of a environment company called Global Green for about four or five years, since my cousin got involved. He was going down taking photographs for a book he is doing called Antarctica: Global Warming. I wanted to see what was at stake. It is easy to sit here and see how the weather patterns are affecting it, but I wanted to see for myself. I spent three weeks on a 1950’s Norwegian icebreaker. I slept in a room the size of a bus shelter and was on the top bunk. I shared a toilet and bathroom with 27 other dudes and did the washing up. It was like the most surreal real experience I have had in a long time. There were no privileges. The privilege was being in that position at that time. I went scuba diving and climbed up a mountain. The water was freezing, but I had a swim for the hell of it. It was crazy. Part of it was time and space. I was there just for three weeks.
And what about the forthcoming trip to Indonesia?
I am going with Unicef. They approached me recently about working with them as an international ambassador. The environment is …out there…and something that needs addressing. There are kids without families. I am yet to go and find out what is happening.
So this is a really interesting time away from film making?
I am loving not working and taking my time to contemplate and think what it is I want to do. What inspired me to go to drama school in the first place.
You have been in these enormous swashbuckling films and had action figures made of you. So is that why you are looking for something more intimate?
No I want to do another trilogy! (jokes deadpan) I want to make it a hat-trick! And if there isn’t a sword or at least a bow and arrow then forget about it. Honestly, the movies that I have really loved in the last couple of years would be say, The Constant Gardener, Hotel Rwanda, The Last King Of Scotland and Blood Diamond – movies that are socially relevant. Movies that are human stories that shed a light on part of the world that when we are cocooned in our everyday world of getting through life and paying the bills and living we sometimes don’t have the opportunity or time to look outside of it. And those are great movies that I would love to be a part of.
The house you are building, is it in London?
The house here in England. It has taken a year to build. I am trying to make it a ‘green’ house and a place which feels safe and comfortable and out of the way. It has been a great creative process. I have picked a great young Italian architect who has worked with Norman Foster. She was great and young and it feels like we have had a real collaboration.
What is your favourite room?
My bedroom or my bathroom.
So do you have a bath you can swim in?
Not like that, but I have been spoilt. If you walk in to the bathroom of this hotel that we are in right now you get ideas and think: I wonder if I could create some of that in my house? There is something great about building a home. I was trying to buy somewhere in London and I could not afford it. Forget about it, it is not the actors making the money it is the boys in the city.
What about the hassles in having a house built?
Building a house has been so stressful. It has been double the time, double the budget. But I did make changes and it has taken longer than it needed to.
What do you mean by it being a ‘green’ house. Does it use solar energy?
It is powered by photocell takes solar panels, a new technology for solar panels. I will be using energy efficient light bulbs and tried to think about recycling and using old materials. As much as I can.
Privacy is clearly very important?
It is not like I want to exclude myself from society. I am really social and like being part of a community and stuff. That is the kind of odd part of having become a recognised face, as it were. I think I went in to a shell for some of my late twenties and now I want to come out of that. There is an obsession with celebrity in our culture. It is sad if you are an actor. Cary Grant and those big actors had a mystique and you’d ask…What are they going to do next? I have always tried to keep my cards close to my chest, while wearing my heart on my sleeve, in a way. But it is a really hard thing to do. Yeah privacy is important but I do not want that to sound… I am conscious of wanting to be part of the community.
So how do you feel when there is a recent photograph that had you seen with Victoria’s Secrets model Miranda Kerr.
It is funny, isn’t it. She is beautiful, as well. It is odd that you bump into somebody. Another example of that is that I was at dinner the other night, just before I came back to London, and I bumped in to Bryan Singer. I had visited my ex girlfriend on her set and I knew Brian who is a really great guy. Then later my mum said….Are you going to do a part in the new Superman?’ It is another example of the same thing, isn’t it. It’s like a trade-off. I did not go to drama school expecting to deal with all of this stuff or that I would even get to the point when it would be part of my life. When it is, it is the fear of the unknown that creates a lot of the tension you see in a lot of the faces of people when they are living through it. Then they get over it.
You are in Hawaii, one of the more remote parts of the world, how difficult was it to organise your birthday party?
I didn’t actually get to have the party. I just had friends and dinner and that was great. It is just part of the job, man. I love getting dressed up, putting make up on, prancing around with a sword in my hand or not…whatever it may be. I feel that I am really lucky to have created a body of work, which I am proud of, and I want to keep doing that. So it is a trade off.
It sounds like a push-pull thing when you are in these huge films and you’d like to do something more organic, like act on stage?
For sure. I am looking to myself and love being British. If rugby is one of our national sports, it is like England brings you down and tackles you. It is like….Dont think you are going that far ahead of anyone else, because we are all part of the same pack. I really love that about being British. My mum and sister do it to me more than anyone. So I am sort of conscious that I would love to do a play and it would be important to find the right play. Now I have turned 30 I do not feel the next job will define who I am. If Leonardo DiCaprio can go from Titanic to Man In The Iron Mask and The Beach and finally go to The Departed and Blood Diamond, then if he can do it, why can’t I? Being a Brit you feel slightly on the outside in terms of some of that stuff. I just want to make choices I feel good about.
What about taking on that cameo role in Extras?
They approached me and wrote something. Ricky Gervais and Steven Merchant are fantastic. I loved what Kate Winslet did on Extras, and I thought it would be great to do something like that. They wrote a script and I said…There has to be more to be had here. I said…I have not done two trilogies not to have a dig at some of it. I took the piss out of myself.
What bout the references to Johnny Depp in that episode of Extras?
Johnny Depp has a really great sense of humour. He loves British comedies. I think he did The Fast Show – you know, suits you sir.
And has anyone taking the piss out of you in real life?
It happens all the time. I have had plenty of hurtful remarks. I do not read them, but when my mum tells me…’Don’t worry, darling, you are going to be fine.’ I say… ‘Yeah, I am doing fine, mum, what are you talking about?’ I start asking…’What are people are saying?’ The good is as good as the bad. I do not want to hear the praise or the criticism. Paul Newman said that a man without enemies is a man without character. There are some people who you are just not going to get on with. It is good for me.
Whom do you find sexy on screen?
Jaws -all those teeth. (jokes) I don’t know. There are so many. Ingrid Bergman, Julie Christie, too, that was a great scene (Don’t Look Now).
When you were a youngster did you have any posters on the wall?
I used to tear out pictures of models from magazines. I was surrounded by beautiful women.
Are you a Manchester United fan?
People are always asking me this, because I once said when I was growing up that I followed them. But I have not followed football for a long time – sadly.
You talk about doing work for the children of Indonesia, are you going to have a family yourself?
Listen, man, I would love to be doing that. Timing is everything, man. You can’t force that. As much as I would say that it would be good to have family and kids, it would take a special kind of woman who is going to have her feet grounded enough to deal with the bizarre circumstances I find myself in. The reality? Most of it is nonsense.
What did your mother advise you about women?
When you grow up with two women – and strong women – as much as my father was part of my life, he was not directly part of my life… so I felt the plight of a woman living in a man’s world. So it gives you that perspective. If it were a more male dominated house, you would have a male dominated perspective.
Did your mum tell you to let go of your emotions, like not being afraid to cry?
If there was more communication…To be honest, there is this quote I have. (He looks for it in his pocket). “The actions of all leaders will be based on the principle of making all mothers happy.” It is a struggle, though.
What car do you drive?
I don’t own a car actually. But I have always thought that, in terms of safety, that the Audi is a great car. I owned a car when I was a kid. I went down to auction on Wandsworth Bridge Road and bought a car – a Golf – which was from Canterbury autos for 160 Pounds. I drove it everywhere until it died.
What CDs are you listening to?
The Raconteurs, a band called Beirut; I am still listening to The Clash, Dylan, The Stones and The Band of Horses. There is a great song called The Funeral. I tried to play that on the radio.