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Chronicles '98

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Valentine Pelka

Valentine Pelka

Transcribed from audiotape as best as I could — there are still many gaps, but I hope you can still enjoy what's there. Please send any corrections or clarifications to me at or leave a note in the Guestbook.

[Square brackets] indicate either (1) my paraphrase of parts of the tape that weren't clear, (2) proper names where I'm not sure of the spelling, or (3) explanatory notes or commentary to make the text more readable.

[laughter] indicates laughter from the audience.

[?] indicates I don't have a clue what was said.

Ellipses indicate quotes dropped because they either weren't clear on the tape or they were repetitious/redundant and don't add any new info.

All audience questions are paraphrased for brevity's sake (some people took a while to get to the point) and because many of them weren't clear on my tape.

Now here's Val...

I've been asked to just say a few words and apparently you can ask me questions.... So I thought I'd give you a few words about something that might interest you. I thought I'd let you know about the history of the thimble — and Kronos' top ten embroidery tips. Not! Okay, let's cut to the chase.

Getting the part: You probably don't know but I came that close to not doing it. Oh no no, don't thank me...

About 10 days before I was offered the job, I went for an interview like most actors do. And did the interview. Ten days later, I hadn't heard anything so I assumed I hadn't got it. Thursday night, 8 o'clock, a [call] from Vancouver: "Congratulations. We'd like you to play Kronos." And I said, "Terrific." He said, "The thing is, there's just one snag. You fly on Monday, you're working on Tuesday, and we haven't got your work permit." So I said, "Fine. No problem. I'll get down to the Canadian [embassy]. No problem." Simple optimism.

I get down a half hour early, half past eight in the morning, all set for 9 o'clock... and I said [to the man there], "Hi. I've come here for a work permit." And he said, "Fine. Here's a form. Six to eight weeks." Wrong advice.... And I said, "No. You don't seem to understand. I have to be there on Monday to work on Tuesday." And he said, "No way." And I said, "Look. I've really got to play this part. We've already faxed you from Vancouver. It's waiting up there. All you have to do is let me in the door." So he said, "Well, all right, I'll let you in the door, but they're going to say the same thing I did."

So, to cut a long story short, I get up there, waiting in the queue... and eventually my place comes, and I go through there... and said, "I'm an actor, and I just got this fantastic part in a series called Highlander." And he said, "Congratulations." And he didn't say, "No way." He said, "Right. What have you got to show me?" And I had all the documents I needed. And he said, "Yeah. You can have it in an hour and a half." So I picked myself up off the floor and came back in an hour and a half, got my work permit, and the rest is —

Audience: History!

As they say. So that was the first hurdle to get over. And after that there weren't any hurdles.

I was a bit nervous going over. It's a long-established series. I was told by [producer] Ken Gord how much the series means to you all. I have to confess that he asked me, "Have you ever seen Highlander before?" And I didn't lie; I said, "I've seen two episodes from series one...." So he said, "That's all right. When you go back to the hotel, there'll be a video recorder in your room and you can watch three episodes."

I watched the three episodes with David Robb [Kalas]. Fantastic. He's a good actor; he's brilliant. And he was such a good baddie — contradiction in terms. I thought, well, you know, I've got something to live up to. And the fights are so good.

So we started rehearsing with Rob and my first scene, the first scene I shot was with — I call him Squadron Leader Wingfield. And it was a big scene — the big scene in the power station. And if it had been any other actor probably, it wouldn't have been so easy. It's my first scene, it's a big part, I want to get it right, and here's a scene smack in the middle of the first episode. He made it so easy, and he's a delight to work with. And as a result of the series, he and I have become very close friends, as I have with Peter Hudson [Horton] and Adrian.... I had a fantastic time.

Adrian and the fight relationship. Let's talk about that, shall we?

As some of you might know, I've fenced before. My teacher is a man called John Wallace who, up to doing Highlander, I felt was [?] fighter I've seen.... I'd say John Wallace is probably as good as they get. He was the man who did the fights with — I forget who it was — [Terry Jones?] When his arms and legs had been chopped off. He is the man who uttered the immortal words, "Come here and I'll bite."

He's a superb fencer because of his height — he's about 5'7" — and his center of gravity. He's ideal for the sort of work that gets done on Highlander.... And I used to be — I think, without giving myself [talk?] as we say here — fairly good. But I looked at Adrian on these tapes and I thought, "I'm going to have to get up to speed very quickly." He's a fantastic fighter. He works at it seven days a week. He's a fantastic ambassador for the show. He's very good at fighting.

When you're a fighter, if you do this sort of work sometimes, what's most important is striking up a relationship with the person you're fighting with. Eye contact, my teacher told me, is the most important thing. The reason for that is it unconsciously sets up distance, and also if somebody forgets a move, you know within three moves they've forgotten. So there's a safety aspect. And you never know what the fight is going to be like. And I noticed this fighting Adrian because he's so fast and so accurate.

So anyway, we didn't really talk much... and then we started our fight conversation, and halfway through one of the takes I forgot a move, naturally enough — it's a high pressurized situation. I wasn't quite up to speed. I forgot a move — it should have been a block here; I did a [does hand movement]. And, uh, I'm not supposed to be beheaded until [laughter] the [next] episode. He stopped here [puts hand a few inches away from neck]. And he really went for it. He stopped there. And we just grinned at each other, and I said I know what sort of fighter he was — completely safe.

Once you establish that trust, then you can really go for it and really pull out all stops, and pick up the speed a bit. And so consequently our fights in Bordeaux are faster and faster. And our relationship flowered really, and I respect him a lot....

As a director — what a surprise! I mean, not all actors make good directors. He's a fantastic director. There's a scene in "Revelation" which was cut [a flashback to Ancient Greece]. I hope it wasn't because the acting was [overdone]. I think it was cut because Methos and I were wearing skirts and funny wigs! But Adrian's direction in that scene was very interesting because he came to me and whispered something in my ear about what I wanted out of that scene as a character, but he wouldn't tell Peter what it was. And he did the same to Peter, but he wouldn't tell me. Which as an actor makes the scene very interesting because you're not quite sure what the other guy's gonna do. But the wigs [weren't good].

He's a very good director. One Sunday Marcus, Richard Ridings [Silas], myself and Peter, we all went [to Adrian's place] and I think we spent something like seven hours working out who the characters were, where they came from, probably where they wanted to go, what they wanted to do. Consequently, when we arrived on the set, we were Four Horsemen together as opposed to four actors pretending to be Horsemen. And it helped, it really helped.

At the end of Bordeaux, we had I believe in the history of Highlander probably one of the biggest quickenings there's ever been. Apparently there were more explosives used in that quickening than ever before. The camera was a long way away from me — apparently dead. So I thought, "Fine. Time for a cup of tea. Bring in the dummy." To which Adrian replied, "You stay where you are because we've already got a dummy here." And then he said — because we were waiting for the firework display — he said, "Close your eyes." So I missed out on the quickening.

Right. I've probably been talking too long, but I got a little story which comes off from that about lying on the floor with my eyes closed. I have to say, I've done that once before.

[In] '91/'92 I was a member of the Royal Shakespeare Company doing two productions. One was the Woman [?] and the second one was a production of Romeo and Juliet, which actually, to be honest with you, wasn't that good. And I was a part of that — maybe the reason.

But my part, Paris, is killed by Romeo. He's supposed to be the indended groom for Juliet, and in the end he's sort of accidentally killed by Romeo. And then there's 20 minutes of play left.

Now I was about to leave the RSC to play Hamlet and I was learning the lines in the wings. I don't know if you know, but Hamlet's got a lot of lines — 1400. [So I thought] while I was still at the RSC, while I'm on stage, I'll start learning my lines. And this had been going on till late at night when I got home for about two/three weeks.

By the time I die this particular night, I'm very tired. I wonder if you can guess what happened. [laughter] I'd been there a couple minutes; my mind's wandering slightly; and then all I remember is I have a dream that I was on the stage playing Paris and that I'd fallen asleep. And while I'd fallen asleep - this dream within a dream - I dreamt that I woke up, that in my dream I recited very loudly, "To be or not to be!" At which point I woke up in the dream and then woke up on stage. But luckily I didn't open my eyes. But, of course, I didn't know if I said anything.

So come the curtain call, there I am standing next to [Dennis Horton?], holding hands, and as we took our first bow I said, "Did I say anything?" And he said, "What do you mean?" And I said, on the second bow, "I'll tell you later...." I haven't exaggerated one bit. That's exactly what happened.

So there you go. That's the trials and tribulations of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse and... I suppose now's the time for questions and answers. So has anybody got any questions?

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Valentine Pelka

Do you remember what other Highlander roles you tried out for before you got Kronos?

No, I don't. I'll tell you what happened. I was doing First Knight and Bob Anderson — he was the fight director for Highlander as well. And afterwards, because he knew I was keen on fighting, he said, "Well, you [should] try and get on Highlander." So I tried two or three roles. One I auditioned in Paris — I was there at the time and I auditioned there — and it just didn't come off. But think about it this way: I mean, if they had come off, I do remember none of the parts was as good as Kronos. And if I done that I wouldn't have got Kronos. So it was a blessing in disguise.

Tell us about your experiences on a horse.

Yes, okay. You must have heard the old joke about the actor who said he could ride. I was at Adrian's party in LA one night — he was very kind enough to invite me — and Gérard Hameline, who's the director of "Comes a Horseman," said, "Come on. I want you meet somebody. I'll take you over to [producer] Bill Panzer." And he said, "Bill, this is Valentine. He's playing Kronos. He can ride. He's a very good rider." And Bill just looked at me and said, "Do you know how many actors have said that?"

When we got to Bordeaux, Adrian said, "We've got this fantastic horse. Absolutely fantastic horse. It's a stallion."

Now I've ridden two stallions in particular before. The horse I rode in First Knight is a very famous film horse. It's called Fury. Fury was the original Lloyds Bank horse. And Fury now is about 32 years old... and he's a very fit horse, and he likes to lead the charge. All the other horses in the stable, they defer to him. They know to keep out of his way....

The other horse was the horse I rode in Highlander.... He was Richard Gere's intended horse in First Knight. He had an operation... and he basically couldn't work. So the first time I rode him in Highlander, he was young — seven years old. He too had been in the [?] like Fury and [?]. I can't tell you what a nervous, worrying horse [Fury was] — he'd worry all the time, easily bored, but boy, you asked him to work for you and he worked.

This horse, Adrian had been told he was a stallion, [so he assumed] the things you associate with a stallion: slightly nervy, easily bored like the other two horses I mentioned. This horse unfortunately didn't fit that category. He was half asleep. The problem was that the next day we were filming a huge tracking shot on the dunes with the Four Horsemen coming over, and this horse was making me look like I'd never ridden a horse before! He wouldn't even walk!

So I said to the guy who owned them... "This horse won't do the shot and we've got a problem. We've got a time frame and we need to do it quickly." So he said, "Well, what horse do you want?" And I said, "The one YOU'RE sitting on." He was sitting on a palomino. The palomino was fidgeting like this. That's the horse I wanted; and I thought, "That's Kronos' horse." So I got it and he was brilliant.

Marcus had obviously not done that much riding.... So there were a few times when we were coming into the camp this way. [looking around] Where's Marcus? [He] pulled out of the shot. But he's a great learner, Marcus. Marcus had never fought with a sword before and he did a two-hand sword fight. He's a great, great learner.

So yes, some of the horse things were a little bit [?] but Cassandra was a bit floppy in that carpet!

[Here's the award for worst question at the con. The fan who asked this question deserves to be throtled since Val was obviously uncomfortable with it.]

The relationship you have with Caspian, Methos and Silas — have you heard of the term slash?

I only heard about that term today.

What do you think of the relationship between Kronos and Methos?

Just let me get this term slash absolutely right — it implies some sort of homoerotic relationship? Okay. I can tell you categorically — you can take this from Fury's mouth, from my horse's mouth — I don't think of Peter in that way.

But in terms of the characters, what do you think the interworkings of that relationship was?

You're talking about not actor-based but character based. Okay. I think my relationship to Methos is as with a brother, let's say. And with that brotherly relationship, if he feels let down, it's sort of a Cain and Abel relationship perhaps rather than something else. It's "if you're not with me, you're against me." As far as my relationship with Silas is concerned, I think basically they all form four parts of a jigsaw and each one has a relevant bit which fits. That's how the Four Horsemen work as a group. I think maybe I control things, maybe Methos controls things. I think Methos and Kronos control and the other two are subservient to a certain extent, but where would we be without them? It's the best [way to describe the] relationship [because finding slash and things] —

No, no —

No, I know, I know, I just — if people want to know what was the basis of the characters' relationships, I would say it was more that [than slash]. Thanks for the question.

I imagine those costumes were heavy and hard to move around in.

That's quite true, and if you saw Marcus' trousers [laughter] — in the show, I mean. That's no easy thing to do rather quickly. Yeah, costumes too was — just while we're on that subject — was pretty important and [producer?] Ken Gord spent a long time with me sorting out costumes, very hands on. And I think he did a good job. And he also gave me [Kronos' leather] jacket, which was quite nice.

In response to the other question, Marcus described Silas' and Caspian's relationship as kids to Kronos' "mommy."

I think he certainly looks after them, yeah. Yeah, it's parental perhaps. Big brother.

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Valentine Pelka

What other parts do you have lined up?

Well, lined up worldwide I'm not quite sure yet but there is the — basically, I don't know how many people here watch [British TV series] Mortimer's Law — they're probably out enjoying themselves on a Friday night. But — who said yes? [laughter] But I enjoy doing that very much. The writing is extremely good and the characters — each character speaks slightly differently. That's a mark of good writing.

The character, John [?], is supposed to be part of her old life that she jettisons, so he's expected to go away by the end of episode four. But they talked to me about the possibility of their having a change of mind. I enjoyed working with Amanda a lot. We work in a similar way and I think that showed onscreen, so there's a possibility that he might be coming back for... series two and that would start filming probably [in] June or July.

The next thing on the screens is a film called What Rats Won't Do. For those of you who don't understand the title quite, people in America would. It's from a joke which goes like this: What is the difference between a lawyer and a rat? Well, there are some things a rat won't do.

The film basically — I don't want to give too much of the plot away — but the film basically is about a very high-flying, up-and-coming young ambitious barrister, [Natasha ?], who's playing [?] and I'm engaged to her. She's a barrister and I'm Graham, who is a stockbroker. And Graham is a very cuddly character and he works at the relationship quite a lot. He gives her flowers, he gives her a gonk [kind of like a toy troll] before a major court case in the high court. And she says, "What is it?" And he says, "It's a gonk. I had one for my A-levels [high school exams]. It's sort of a lucky charm." And she says, "But Graham, you failed A-levels." Graham looks very crestfallen: "Yeah, I know, but it's a great comfort!"

That's the sort of character he is, very cuddly, and he really looks like he is the candidate for getting very severely hurt later on in the film. And I'm not telling you any more. So that's [from] the same producers as Four Weddings [and a Funeral]... and it's coming out, I think May/June — they haven't got a date yet for it.

There's also a possibility I might be coming back to Manchester to work. I've done Leontes in A Winter's Tale [in a Manchester theatre?] with a wonderful director called [?], and I would like to go back [and work with him]. Any more questions?

What was it like acting with your sister, Kazia Pelka, in Heartbeat?

Second time I've done it. I've worked with her once before in a play called Cast playing a very, very, very, sort of on the social scale, an amoeba, called Samuel [Gerrig] and a plumber.... I played her lover in that. [laughter] Settle down. And in Heartbeat, it's the easiest interview I've ever been for because I was the only person qualified to play her brother. If they didn't give me the job, what was I going to do?! We both went to the same drama school and we work in the same way and we get on. So it was dead easy [and] really nice. We don't often get a chance to see each other.

How does working on Highlander rate compared to other things you've done?

High actually. I thought it was beautifully shot. I don't know what you thought, but I thought Adrian's direction in that second episode was fantastic. Especially the comic bit he put in in the most unexpected place when he arrives in the fountain, gets in the fountain, the music starts and the fountains come on. I thought that was really neat.

It's well shot, very well shot and well directed. And I think it's a chemistry going on which, to be honest with you, doesn't always happen. So I rate it quite highly, yeah. And the fights are good. I really enjoyed it.

What is your favorite role to date?

I'd say Hamlet, well three: Hamlet, Kronos and Graham. Three very different characters. Hamlet because, not just because it's the famous part, but it is a challenging part and you've really got to ask yourself some severe questions as an actor to do it if you're not going to cock it up. Kronos because he was such fun. Kronos has no doubts. He hasn't got any "to be or not to be, should I or should I not do that?" [in Kronos' voice] "Do it!" And Graham because he's just the opposite. I had a lot of fun playing him because he's just such a sweet character.... They're [all] very dramatically worth watching, I think, but you'll be able to tell me. If you think I'm not so good, let me know.

What actors have inspired your career?

Well the actress who immediately springs to mind, who got me interested in movies, would be Bette Davis. I adore her. She's my mum's favorite actress and probably mine too. Actor at the moment, Kevin Kline, without any hesitation. I went to see The Ice Storm the other night with my wife and we came out and I just said, "Is there a better actor at the moment?" Gene Hackman perhaps. He and Gene Hackman. He allows the role to tell him the way to play it. He doesn't just impose himself on the role. And that's the sort of actor I hope I am. He's a wonderful actor. I would love to see him play Hamlet.

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Valentine Pelka

What did you think when you saw yourself all dressed up as a Horseman with the wigs?

What are you trying to say about the wigs? [laughter] What did I think? I was worried about how it was going to look. But... you know a hell of a lot of the way you look is to do with the attitude you have wearing it. [And I thought about my look,] "Is there another wig?" "No." So I thought, "All right. I'll wear it with [attitude]." ... And I think as a result, I hope, brought it off. But who am I to judge?

If you could be an additional character in a movie you liked in the past, what character would it be?

[long pause] Well, the movie would be Shane because I've got a big ambition to do — well people call them westerns, I just call them really good films. Shane [is] my favorite. And the character would be [long pause], I think the character would be a friend of [Van Hefling] or somebody who tries — I don't know, it'd be difficult. I'd be intruding on the film. I should leave the film alone. But if I could be anything in that film, I'd [be thrilled] just to make the tea. I wouldn't intrude on the film. It's a fantastic film. I'd love to be in it. I'd love to work in, if Clint [Eastwood's] listening, another Unforgiven.

Why do you call Peter Wingfield Squadron Leader because I've been in the Air Force for five years and believe me, I've never come across a squadron leader like him!

Because I think the first time I ever saw him on screen was in a comedy with the guy from Men Behaving Badly, Martin [?] —

Audience: Over Here.

Over Here? That's right. And he was so typically English. [laughter] When I was growing up there was a comic — I forget which one it was, I think it might have been The Victor — and there was [Paddy Payne], Warrior of the Skies. Is anybody old enough to remember? The squadron leader was quite — you know — he's just got that thing. So as a joke, that's my nickname: "Hello, Squadron Leader."

What were you trying to project in the scene after you killed Methos? Is Kronos a bully?

I think the key to that scene — I remember that scene very clearly — it's the one with the chains. [laughter] They were just lying around! While I'm waiting for him to wake up, I thought I'd tidy the place up! I think that the clue to that scene for me was one line. He says something to me like, "So you're going to kill me." And in a quite uncomplicated way Kronos says to him, "It's what I do best." It's simple but it's humorous. He doesn't really want to kill him. He wants it to be the way it was. So is he a bully? Yeah, maybe. He imposes himself. He's not a coward though.

What are your experiences filming adverts?

Do you understand the expression "below the belt"? [laughter] I'll talk to you afterwards. In 1984, okay, I'll come clean, 1984 I did a commercial for a product called Insignia. I don't know how many of you have been told the story about what my mother did.

Audience: No...

Would you like to hear it?

Audience: Yes!

I come up to Leeds. And there was a department store there at that time called Lewis'. My mother is wandering around Lewis' and she's going through the men's fragrance department. Why? I don't know because my dad, he's an [?] man. And she sees that the [photo of the model] is on the top shelf... and my photograph is squashed underneath on the bottom shelf. So my mother looks around, takes the model off, shoves him underneath and puts me on top.... There's no more devoted fan than my mum.

It was interesting. I'd never done one before, never done any commercial before. The director, Sid Robeson, had a very interesting style. If people wouldn't shut up on the set, he'd say, "Are you going to shut up or am I going to come over and put that fork in your head?" It worked. I had a good time.

Have you done any audiobooks?

No, I haven't. There is a — some of you may know I like Charles Dickens a lot and I did a series for radio called Martin Chuzzlewit playing young Martin and a previous Doctor Who played old Martin, Patrick Troughton. And that is now on tape, I believe. But no, I haven't done audiobooks. I'd like to. I like books.

Do you have any tales about Cassandra?

About Cassandra — you mean about Tracy, about Tracy Scoggins? Actually, [Tracy's] a bit like my sister. If it requires a sword fight: "Fine, I'll do it." My sister does that. Tracy, she rolls her sleeves up and gets on with it. I enjoyed working with her. It's a pity we didn't work before on the first episode.

Do you prefer working in theater or in front of the camera?

This is going to sound like I'm not answering your question but in fact I honestly and truly cannot say to you that I prefer one to the other. I'll tell you why. They're so different. It's a little bit like perhaps asking — not comparing myself to Sebastian Coe. He ran the 1500 meters and the eight and the mile, and he was brilliant at all three. I wouldn't say brilliant, but he enjoyed doing all three. But they're very different disciplines.

I like theater because theater allows you — most plays — to go from A to Z on the emotional journey. With film and TV, more with film than TV, it's all cut up. You go from B to F to Z to A to — and you have to keep all that in your mind: Where am I at the moment in my journey in the story?

Some actors say the thing about theater is it's live. There's no audience on TV and film. And I happen to honestly say I don't agree. I think the audience is the director; the crew; the runners; the first, second, third, fourth ADs [assistant directors] — anybody who is involved in that. And I've actually heard crews, when Alec Guinness has done something that has been a fantastic take, and they've stopped and applauded. They're watching. It's like a small fringe theater. And if you use them as an audience I think that, yes, it's live. So I try and treat it that way.

Did you prefer doing the flashbacks or the "now" scenes in Highlander?

I've done a lot of costume stuff.... Ivanhoe, Cadfael, all that stuff. And my hair had been long for a long time. Actors get bored with the way they look and I wanted a change.

Before I got Highlander I was thinking, "Should I get my hair cut really short?" And I almost got to the barbers but didn't quite do it yet. I chickened out. And then I got Highlander and Ken said, "Hey Valentine, you know you've got to get your hair cut." And I said, "Yeah, I've got no problem. How short?" And he said, "That short."

It was a bit of a shock but last year was sort of a conscious effort to do modern.... I did a play called Travel Without Luggage, directed by Nicholas [Guillaume?] and I got a real kick out of that. Then I did Mortimer's Law, then I did [Braxton?], more Highlander. Highlander really was the only costume bit I did last year. I love costume.... I love horses. I love fights. But you've got to try and balance your career if you can.


Sometimes jobs aren't fun. They're rare but they do happen. And you sort of feel cheated... because it's such an easy job to be fun. And it should be fun. If you enjoy it, then that will show itself on screen, even if you're being serious. And I enjoy working with Peter. I really enjoyed working with the whole set up of Highlander. Yeah, I'd love to do it again. I don't know what the situation is but I believe there's going to be some spinoff series of some kind. So it'll be interesting to see how that goes.

[Something about the 6th season?]

It's possible, but having said that, I just miss Peter being around because we have this great relationship. And I get on very well with Peter Hudson but we didn't have that much to do with each other. That could compensate if we had some sort of crossover there. We'll see how it goes.

Would you like to direct a play in the future?

Yes, I would. I've been translating off and on for the last two/three years a play called Victor. It's a French play [from] 1926. It's a surrealist play, unusual for that period of time. Those plays tended to be a set of gags put together... and they were more statements than actual plays. But this play is a three-act play. It's about a young boy who's nine; he's got the body of an adult and he's got the combined intelligence of all the adults in the play. And he wreaks havoc on them over the period of his birthday, 24 hours of his birthday. I'd really like to direct that play. I'm just coming to the end of the translation now, so we'll see. Yeah, I'd like to do it just to find out if I'm any good; I might not be very good.

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Valentine Pelka

Val got to keep Kronos' leather jacket.

What were the best and worst parts of playing Kronos?

I know the horse had a lot of trouble in the sand dunes because the sand sapped the energy, so I had to try and conserve his energy — get off and on, get off and on saved him a bit.... The great points were the fact that it was so liberating to play somebody with so few emotional problems.

When you started out did you have to change your accent?

It's from Leeds. But my dad's Polish, so obviously I wasn't going to get his accent. Actually, he wanted me to speak what he called "proper" so if I came up in school and said [?], he'd say [with Polish accent], "It's not oos it's us." So I didn't really have much of an accent. My mum was an actress so it's difficult for me to end up with an accent. What I learned at home counteracted what I learned at school. But an accent is a wonderful thing; it's a living thing. I like it.... I was listening to people in Manchester; it's nice to hear the northern dialect.

Why was Kronos wearing his Bronze Age outfit in "Archangel"?

No idea.... The way it read was that it was part of the problem that Adrian's character was going through and [Kronos] was coming back to haunt him perhaps. Gillian and Donna are far better qualified to tell you than I am. I just learn 'em and say 'em.

If you have a big emotional scene to do, do you have to cut yourself off from other people to prepare, or can you just turn it on?

When I first started out, when I was at drama school, I had a play to do. I played [?] and he had to break down on stage and I was still sort of a callow youth and I found it really difficult. I didn't really know how to do it. I'm not a tap; I can't just turn myself off and on. But as the years have gone on, I asked my mum, "Well, what do I do?" And she said you just think about the most upsetting thing that you can think of.

So when I did Hamlet, it seemed to me, the way I did the play or did my contribution to the play, was that he wouldn't allow anybody else to see how upset he was until the court had gone. And then the "o this too too sullied flesh" speech - his breaking down.... But that was easier for me because I keep myself to myself before the play started then I'm on.

With Trapper, to find out whether he is or isn't the person they're saying he is, he has to find out if he has the scar here or here. So I have two minutes to take off my shirt, my waistcoat, my tie, look in the mirror and then cry. That was much more difficult. So it's not easy but you find a way that works for you and you do it.


I go back to the opening credits of Highlander where Adrian, all the people since 16-whatever, all the people he has been, are happening before your eyes.

I didn't expect to be asked back. I get my head chopped of in "Revelation" - end of story. But [creative consultant, i.e. head writer] Dave Abramowitz said, "Well, when's he coming back?" I said, "How can I?" He said, "Five thousand years of life."

So then you've got to say how did he live during those 5000 years? And there were little clues, I think, that he's dropped in there like, "Caspian, were you in London when the plague was there? I was." That's one. So the mind boggles. What was he? What was he in London doing? What the hell was he? Was he high status? Low status? Your mind can allow you wander a bit and imagine what he might have been there. What would he have been 2000 years ago? What would he have been 50 years ago? I think that's what's interesting. You're given that leeway because he's lived so long.

Can you tell us about your art and painting?

I do paint, yes, with varying degrees of success. Yeah, I paint. Mainly oil or acrylic. I draw a lot. Having a layoff of a year prior to [?], I didn't really want to draw for a while. But I started getting more [?] to see if I really wanted to still do it and I do. I work quite hard.... So now I'm just trying to pick up a pencil and draw whenever I can. I draw absolutely anything.

I was on a train last night and I was drawing a lady who obviously had fallen asleep. I wasn't talking to her, but she woke up. That can be quite tricky. Some people, if they think you're drawing them or something, they can get fairly worried. I draw anything.

My wife and I went to Rome before Christmas. Some people only ever see anything through the viewfinder of a video recorder. And I found this little anteroom with a lot of animal sculptures so I was drawing this goat. And this guy comes in, he was in the tour party, and he literally did this. He came in, went [sweeps video camera across the anteroom] and walked out. He didn't even take it from his head!

Yeah, so I draw everything. I was stuck in Madrid one night in a modern hotel room with nothing to draw. In those days I used to smoke. I had a packet of [?] lighters, so I drew that. Drawing's drawing, whatever it is.


You know what it's like when you're young and you can't wait to get away. Then as you get a bit older, you can't wait to go home.... Working on Ivanhoe, there's a chap called Dave Nichols who played Little John. He lives in Leeds and I go and visit him quite often, and see my parents, of course. My sister's up there. So it is nice to be back....

Would you like to be immortal?

No. There's a poem by Tennyson called "Titinus." And Titinus' story is about a man who thinks he wants immortality. So he's given it. And he sees all his friends growing old. The one thing they didn't tell him was, he can't have [?]. That's where the expression "shadow of his former self" comes from. He becomes a shadow of what he once was. No, I think it would be a nightmare. No, I want to push up daises.

Would you like to play someone who really existed historically?

Yeah. There's a historical [?] who writes extremely well about the [?] battles. There's some fascinating stories in there like, for example, Edward III when his son, the Black Prince, was [?]. He [Edward III] was terrified that [his son would] be an easy target to get killed because... he was only young, he was 15, and had distinctive black armor. So he did something very clever. He had six or seven other suits of black armor made and other people wore them in the battle. And the [?] were having reports all over the battlefield — the Black Prince was there, he was here, he was fighting like a devil over there, fighting here.... "Oh this Black Prince. What an extraordinary man!"

I think Alexander the Great did something similar.... He had outsized suits of armor get made for the people who were pursuing them to find. And they would find them and go, "My God. These soldiers are so big — they're giants. We'd better leave them alone." And it worked.

Somebody like that [I'd like to play]. Something within the battlefield... maybe the Black Prince or Edward III — he was a pretty interesting character. Or Henry II.

What's your favorite of all the places that you've visited?

Italy, I think.... [When I did King David] I'd not really been abroad much, didn't know much about anything and I was there and I tried to play an Italian. You pray when you're doing a film that you get people who are interested in what you're doing, and they want to show you what is their country, their region, their house. They're very accommodating. Italy — and Spain also was good fun.

Where were the sand dunes where you filmed the flashback?

I think it was Cap Ferret. Outside Bordeaux.

If you could have been any one of the other Horsemen, which one would you have chosen?


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