Jeremy Irons turns 65 and James Lipton, the host of Inside the Actors Studio, turns 86 today.
I’ve always been fascinated by the 60-min interview because it feels more relaxed and intimate and you really get to know the actor Mr. Lipton is conversing with. And that’s the thing, it feels more like a guest speaking candidly to a host instead of a staged interview.
In the early 1990s, Lipton was inspired by Bernard Pivot and sought to create a three-year educational program for actors that would be a distillation of what he had learned in the 12 years of his own intensive studies. In 1994, he arranged for the Actors Studio – the home base of “method acting” in the USA for over 60 years – to join with New York City’s New School University and form the Actors Studio Drama School, a formal degree-granting program at the graduate level. After ending its contract with the New School, the Actors Studio established The Actors Studio Drama School at Pace University in 2006. (per Wiki)
Check out the interview below. Mr. Irons even serenaded the audience with his guitar! 😀
Jeremy John Irons was born in Cowes, on the Isle of Wight, which is a small island just off the south coast of England.
He trained at the Bristol Old Vic School for two years, then joined Bristol Old Vic repertory company where he gained much experience working in everything from Shakespeare to contemporary dramas. He moved to London in 1971 and had a number of odd jobs before landing the role of “John the Baptist” in the hit musical “Godspell”. He went on to a successful early career in the West End theatre and on TV, and debuted on-screen in Nijinsky (1980). In the early 80s, he gained international attention with his starring role in the Granada Television serial adaptation of Evelyn Waugh’s classic novel “Brideshead Revisited” (1981), after which he was much in demand as a romantic leading man. He went on to a steady film career. (per IMDb)
I’ve always admired Mr. Irons, though I’m guilty that I haven’t seen a lot of Irons’ earlier works, but if I were to list top five roles of those I have seen, I’d probably list The Mission (check out my Music Break spotlight of Gabriel’s Oboe), The Lion King, The Man in the Iron Mask, Stealing Beauty, and Margin Call. Yes I know he’s not on for very long in the last film, but when he does, it was definitely the most memorable parts of the film. On top of his considerable talent and classical training, the tall thespian also has a gift of screen presence. It’s impossible not to notice him when he’s on screen, and when he opens his mouth, he absolutely commands attention.
His vocal performance as Scar in The Lion King is downright iconic. His rich, haunting voice works absolutely brilliantly. The only person I could think of in this role would be Alan Rickman. Interestingly they played brothers in the Die Hard movies (Hans & Simon Gruber), though never share a screen together. Now, you’d think it’d be impossible to match the iconic booming voice of James Earl Jones, but Irons’ sinister raspy voice is indelible in its own right. The way Scar whispered ‘Long Live the King’ before throwing his own brother Mufasa off a cliff remains one of the most heart-wrenching death scene ever filmed, not just in animated features, mind you. I always tear up whenever I watch it and I remember hating Scar with a passion. Apparently the Disney animators were so impressed with Irons’s performance that they worked his features into Scar’s face!
His singing segment of Be Prepared with the Nazi undertones is perhaps the most memorable Disney villain songs ever. I guess Irons will always be known for his deliciously evil roles as he’s not afraid to take risks in his career.
Speaking of devilish roles, he’s recently wrapped the SHOWTIME series as Pope Alexander VI in The Borgias, which follows the Borgia family as they rise to power in the Roman Catholic church. The tagline says: Sex. Power. Murder. Amen. ‘Nuff said. His next project is a Western Thriller A Magnificent Death from a Shattered Hand, a directorial debut from… Thomas Jane?? Color me intrigued 😀