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I love playing outsiders, I always do.
– Antony Sher
The whole of my acting career is a bit of a mystery to me.
When I’m painting and drawing I only do people. Acting is obviously portraiture – and writing is as well.
I was never built to play the hero. Physically or emotionally… And they’re not as rewarding to play. At least for me.
We’ve all got darkness inside us. And I’ve got quite a lot of darkness.
I’m always very proud of belonging to three minorities: gay, Jewish, white South African.
My grandparents all came from Lithuania to South Africa.
I was a weak kid, not good at what all the boys at school were good at and I found that by acting, by being other people, I could liberate myself from those inadequacies.
I’m a complete technophobe. I can’t even email.
I don’t believe in an afterlife.
You don’t expect to get the letter saying, Her Majesty would like to appoint you Knight Commander of the British Empire! It was just a completely overwhelming and exciting day.
As a gay Jewish white South African, I belong to quite a lot of minority groups. You constantly have to question who you are, what you are and whether you have the courage to be who you are.
I have a Woody Allen Jewish attitude to life: that it’s all going to be disastrous. That it hasn’t all been that way is simply down to some random quirk of fate.
Most of my career has been spent with the RSC doing Shakespeare, and the thing you learn from Shakespeare is that his historical plays don’t bear anything other than a basic resemblance to history.
Every play I do, every book I write, every painting I paint, I will struggle with. I don’t know what it’s like for a project to come easy.
A lot of good actors tend to be quite introverted as people.
When I am on a long run in a play, I’m not sure how I would fill the days if I did not paint or write. On a basic level, it just stops me going crazy.
I feel so sorry for younger actors who aren’t able to have the opportunities that I had, starting out in repertory theatre. It’s really tough on young actors now.
I’m a huge fan of David Hockney. I love the way he keeps reinventing himself.
I have no cynicism at all.
Life is just more comfortable if you’re honest and open about everything. I spent so many years being in the closet about one thing or another.
I never regret things. It’s a really dangerous thing to say, but for anyone involved in the arts, the bad things that happen make for good material. It’s not a comfortable truth, but it is true.
I love the mixture that’s in me. It makes me me. And that’s why it’s such a shame that people waste energy in denying who they are.
If I could write a letter to my teenage self, I’d probably say something like: ‘You ain’t gonna believe what will become of you.’
What drew me to acting in the first place was disguise.
It’s good for actors to confront those things we have to act: panic, pain and death.