Happy Birthday Jeremy Irons + James Lipton! Watch their conversation in Inside the Actor’s Studio

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.

InsideActorsStudioIn 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.


Quick Bio:
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.

TheLionKing_ScarHis 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 😀

Let’s wish Jeremy Irons a happy birthday. What’s your favorite role by the British thespian?

37 thoughts on “Happy Birthday Jeremy Irons + James Lipton! Watch their conversation in Inside the Actor’s Studio

  1. Hi, Ruth:

    I’ve been a fan of Mr. Irons since his very early days of ‘Brideshead Revisited’.

    Still think his best work was in ‘Moonlighting’, ‘Dead Ringers’, ‘Reversal of Fortune’ and ‘M. Butterfly’. Mr. Irons has a unique talent for playing odd, sometimes creepy characters that has stood him and the test of time quite well.

    Wishing him more of the same in the future.

    1. I still need to see that one. He was talking about Brideshead Revisited on Craig Ferguson show and how he’s not keen on the remake.

      I have to see his Oscar winning role in ‘Reversal of Fortune’ too. Have you seen Kafka? I’m curious about that one too. Thanks Kevin!

      1. jackdeth72

        Hi, Ruth:

        ‘Kafka’ has a superb Old Vic cast and story wise. Is a lot like Orson Welle’s ‘The Trial’ and Crononberg’s take on William Burrough’s far more trippy, ‘Naked Lunch’. Surreal and shadowy. With dialogue that asks far too many questions that Mr. Iron’s Kafka is hesitant to answer.

        A good candidate for a rainy, damp Saturday afternoon. That should not be over thought or have too much read into it.

  2. Didn’t know Jeremy Irons is that old. He has a great voice, which is instantly recognizable. I agree with jackdeth72 that Brideshead Revisited is a highlight of his career, especially the voice-overs in that series.
    He was good in “The House of the Spirits” too 🙂 and I remember he played opposite his son Samuel Irons in tv-movie Danny the Champion of the World (1989)

    1. Man I really need to check out Brideshead Revisited, too bad it’s not on Netflix though. Is “The House of the Spirits” horror? If not, that sounds good too, thanks Chris!

      1. “The House of the Spirits” is not horror, a drama. Based on a novel by Isabel Allende. I like the performances, but the director is not one of the best, Bille August. Worth a watch, though.

    1. Indeed it is Keith! I wish he could do a film with Timothy Dalton and Alan Rickman where they just sit around in a diner and talk. I’d sooo watch that 😀

  3. Jeremy Irons is one of my mother’s favourite actors so I grew up watching him on television. I particularly remember him in Brideshead Revisited and Moonlighting which Kevin mentioned, where he played a Polish builder working illegally in London.
    His most memorable film role for mine was when he played gynaecological twin brothers in David Cronenberg’s Dead Ringers.
    Jeremy is reported to have said that the way he differentiated between his two roles was by always playing one brother on the balls of his feet, the other on his heels. Can it be true? Or was there more to his extraordinary performance?

  4. Ted S.

    Somehow I thought he’s older than 65, guess he’s the kind of person that looks older than he is. I do like his acting quite a bit, haven’t seen any of his latest work though, I think the last movie I saw him in was Kingdom of Heaven and he’s quite good in it. Of course he’s great in playing villains, like you mentioned Die Hard 3 and The Lion King were some good examples. I really like Dead Ringers too, great thriller. I remember Ann Rice really wanted him for the role of Lestat in Interview with a Vampire and she got pissed when Cruise was cast instead.

    1. Hey Ted, you have the BD of Kingdom of Heaven right? I’d love to see the director’s cut as I think that’s the better version right? I hate Orlando but I remember I quite like the cast here overall.

      Oooo, he’d make a great Lestat. Yeah no wonder Rice was ticked off w/ Cruise though he ended up being pretty good.

      1. Ted S.

        Yeah, I have Kingdom of Heaven director’s BD and yes it’s much better than the theatrical version. But unfortunately Orlando Bloom was still lead, LOL. That was the most boneheaded casting ever! It wasn’t Scott’s fault though, Fox wanted Bloom for the role since he’s still hot after the Lord of the Rings films and many thought he’s going to be the next big A list actor. Thankfully that never happened since Kingdom of Heaven and Elizabethtown tanked and Bloom’s career as a leading didn’t last long.

        1. Y’know, with your new casting site, hopefully we could REPLACE the idiotic casting like this, ahah. Imagine if they had a compelling actor who doesn’t look like a boy band member! I remember liking the film despite him, but yeah, could’ve been a heck of a lot better!

          We gotta meet one of these days so I could borrow it. Well we gotta meet anyway regardless, ahah. I sent you a tweet to you + Jeannette btw 😀

          1. Ted S.

            That’s what we hope the site would do, of course we can’t convince movie studios to change their minds but if enough people complaints and voice their displeasure with miscasting, they might listen to us. We want to be the central site for people to voice their opinion about casting.

            Like I said, I’m off from work for a while so whenever you can meet, I’ll bring the disc. I still have your Guns of Narveronne disc.

  5. Hi Ruth, Happy B’Day Jeremy! Loved him as Helen Mirren’s ‘Elizabeth’ love interest. Also in ‘Merchant of Venice’ and ‘Being Julia’. Really there’s nothing I haven’t loved him in. His voice is divine.

  6. Jeremy Irons is one of those guys where if you put in a bad movie, he is the only that will somehow be in that movie and go out there unscathed. He’s one of those guys that pretty can’t suck. I love him in pretty much anything. He can be funny and also can be a badass. The guy puts on an acting clinic and just makes it so easy. He was perfect as Scar.

    1. Well-said Steven! He does enliven every project he’s in. I think someone mentioned Eragon, which I wasn’t too keen on initially but I might give it a shot for Mr. Irons.

  7. You know Irons is one of those actors where I can’t choose the best performance because he is always so good. I recently saw him in The Borgias and while the show was so-so he was amazing. That is the sign of great talent – awesome work in even mediocre stuff.

    1. Hi Sati! You’re right, that is a sign of a great talent indeed. No doubt he’s the highlight of The Borgias, probably the only reason to watch that show.

  8. Fantastic post! I just rewatched some episodes of Inside the Actors Studio in honor its Emmy win (finally). LOVE that show. I’ll have to watch Irons one.

    My favorite Jeremy Irons role is his double role as twins in Dead Ringers, but I also love his work in Reversal of Fortune and The Lion King.

    1. My goodness, it never won an EMMY before?? That’s a travesty! I was just reading the IMDb description of Dead Ringers, that sounds like a juicy role that’d certainly display his acting chops. I have to see that and Reversal of Fortune as well.

  9. Aaah unfortunately I haven’t seen many films with him in it 😦 But his portrayal (even with only his voice) of Scar is really amazing. He does have this mysterious charm from his face and eyes that, uniquely, suits both wise and villain character. Well, happy birthday to him, then 🙂

    1. That’s ok Fariz! The nice thing about movies is that we can always catch up on stuff we haven’t seen yet. Yes, that’s exactly why I think his portrayal of Scar is iconic, that he could ‘act’ using his voice alone. Of course the animators did an excellent job as well.

  10. What a fine post Ruth!!
    I also like Irons even though I haven’t seen much of his films. And yes he has such iconic voice that demands attention.
    You know, I had a crush on him in Die Hard 😉

    Happy Birthday Mr Irons.

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