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I'm an eternal realist and the success rate for being an actor is pretty low.
I love the acting community at Cambridge. It's really quite committed and serious, since the days of Derek Jacobi and Ian McKellen right through to Emma Thompson and Hugh Laurie.
I always found the extraordinary loss of life in the First World War very moving. I remember learning about it as a very young child, as an eight- or nine-year-old, asking my teachers what poppies were for. Every year the teachers would suddenly wear these red paper flowers in their lapels, and I would say 'What does that mean?'
Since my education, I've done quite untraditional things. There are very few Etonians who went to Rada. And far fewer Etonians, certainly when I was there, went to Cambridge. I don't know whether it's the same now. Most people I knew went to Oxford, because it seemed more of an easy bridge.
My father and I used to tussle about me becoming an actor. He's from strong, Presbyterian Scottish working-class stock, and he used to sit me down and say, 'You know, 99 percent of actors are out of work. You've been educated, so why do you want to spend your life pretending to be someone else when you could be your own man?'
If you are at a boys' school, especially, there is a level of bravado that you have to keep up otherwise you'll get picked on.
I don't think anyone, until their soul leaves their body, is passed the point of no return.
Artists instinctively want to reflect humanity, their own and each other's, in all its intermittent virtue and vitality, frailty and fallibility.
Tony Stark in 'Iron Man' helped wider audiences finally embrace the enormous talent of Robert Downey Jr.
Some of the greatest actors have turned superheroes into a serious business: Michael Keaton and Jack Nicholson in 'Batman'; Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart, the first venerable knights of the X-Men, who have now passed the baton to Michael Fassbender and James McAvoy.
It sounds cliched, but superheroes can be lonely, vain, arrogant and proud. Often they overcome these human frailties for the greater good.
In our increasingly secular society, with so many disparate gods and different faiths, superhero films present a unique canvas upon which our shared hopes, dreams and apocalyptic nightmares can be projected and played out.
I grew up watching 'Superman.' As a child, when I first learned to dive into a swimming pool, I wasn't diving, I was flying, like Superman. I used to dream of rescuing a girl I had a crush on from a playground bully.
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