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You have to pretend to live in those clothes that they lived in, to live within the climate that they had then. You have to imagine with the help, obviously, of all the other technicians that are around - the writer, the director, the other actors.
You have to get through the Hamlet hoop as a young actor. Your classical qualifications are based on the quality of your Hamlet. And then, as an older actor, you have to get through the Lear hoop. And I'm approaching the Lear hoop.
What was so good about it was that the set that they originally built stayed there, and weathered over the five years. It got five summers and five winters of weather. It became more and more authentic as we worked in it, and they added bits to it.
We started filming in 1993 which was only four years after the fall of communism. The difference in Budapest over the last five years has been remarkable.
Ultimately it's a leap of faith and a leap of imagination to put yourself back in time into those conditions and situations and see how you would react.
They were totally supportive, always saw everything I did. One of the thrills of my life was when they went to the theater to see something that I wasn't in. It opened doors for them that otherwise would have been totally closed.
There's never been any game plan or thread through my career. It's just happened that I've ricocheted from one interesting character to another.
Sir Larry could be very strict and a disciplinarian, too. He had many faces; he wore many hats. But, ultimately, he loved the theater and he loved actors.
Reputation is fine but you have to keep justifying it. In a sense, it makes it harder because people's expectations of you are higher. So, you have to fulfill those expectations. Or, try to exceed those expectations. But, it becomes more difficult as time goes on.
Real-life people are often the hardest to play, people that you recreate who have actually lived, because you have to live up to people's knowledge of those characters.
Originally they wanted it to be bigger, but I pleaded and pleaded and pleaded to have the smallest tonsure that they could get away with. A tonsure that could still be seen, but, I worried about my social life!
One of the last episodes was all about a flood. We were working in the rain till all hours, and it was muddy and it was cold and it was damp, and it was hours under the hoses. That was not pleasant. That was not pleasant.
My first course came and I put down my book, and I just happened to put up my hand to scratch my head and discovered that my toupee had been blown by the wind and was folded over backwards on the top of my head!
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