Subtitles section Play video Print subtitles - Well, there is a pressure, but you dissolve the pressure by working hard. If you feel the pressure and you buckle or you feel the pressure and you don't put in the time or the prep, you're gonna choke. You use the pressure or you use the fear or challenge to just put in the time, and it's up to you to fly with it or try to. [soft dramatic instrumental music] So The Ragged Child, it was the televised version of a play that I had appeared in with the National Youth Music Theater, which was a young people's theater company. It pulled together from auditions all around Great Britain, kids from all types of backgrounds. It was an interesting experience. I guess it was one of the first times I'd ever done this, the stop start process of filming. It was very much an ensemble piece, so each of us shared the weight of the responsibility of the piece, although the lead was played by Johnny Lee Miller, who obviously has gone on for a wonderful career. So I view my time in the NYMT as a big part of my training, actually. Your training never stops, but that was a real part of stepping up and taking responsibility as an actor. Jerome Morrow, that's a nice name. - It's my name. - I can't be you without it. - What makes you think you can be me at all? So I'd done a couple of other films, but Gattaca felt like a huge, huge break. First of all, to work with Ethan and Uma, Alan Arkin, Ernest Borgnine, Gore Vidal, this extraordinary group of highly regarded and talented individuals. I guess I was spoiled looking back because also to work on something that I just so believed in, unique, resonant, timely, political, had great style. But my memories of it were wow, yeah, moving to LA for the first time. I was staying in one of these little self-contained suites, just up off Sunset, renting a [laughs] Ford Mustang, driving around, hanging out a lot with Ethan. Ethan and I got on very, very well, I remember. We filmed some of it in Marin County. We did that drive up the highway together, which took us a weekend. It really felt like the first time I'd come to Hollywood and I was making a movie, and it was a true moment of destiny and dreams. It's great that that film that early on in my career was a film that also stood the test of time. I've made about, God knows, 30, 40 films since then. That's still a film people talk about, which is really, it really meant something. There are a couple of others I did around that time, which people [laughing] don't talk about so much, which is no bad thing. [laughs] Oh, I can just imagine, if only Dickie would settle down. Doesn't every parent deserve a grandchild? Oh, God. Never, never. Swear on your ring, Marge. I'm never going back. The Talented Mr. Ripley. I was making a film in London produced by Carolyn Choa. I was aware that Carolyn was married to Anthony Minghella. Anthony, by all accounts, was watching the rushes of this film come in decided to offer me Dickie Greenleaf. In my insane arrogance as a 20 something year old, hostile to the idea that I would be cast as this pretty boy, turned it down. [laughs] I was thinking at the time that what I should really be doing is just playing character roles and hunchback, just trying to find real weird, twisted characters. I luckily came to my senses and realized that he was putting together this extraordinary group of young actors and that he himself, obviously, having just won 50 Oscars or whatever it was for The English Patient, was probably gonna be good, safe hands to put myself in. And my experience of that particular film was absolutely golden, but it was also somewhat misleading in that I was sent, first of all, down to Ischia to get a suntan, learn to sail, and practice my saxophone. I've never since been given that [laughs] kind of carte blanche or invitation on any other job, sadly. I was overwhelmed with nerves because suddenly, you have Gwyneth and Cate and Philip and Matt turning up alongside all these other great actors. I used the bravado and the confidence and the swagger of Dickie as a way of pulling my way through that, and I think I pretended I was Dickie, basically, for the whole time, which worked. It was very well received. It was the first time I got a nomination by the Academy, and so in many ways, it was a huge turning point in my life. It still sits in my heart as one of the most wonderful memories, mm. [light jaunty instrumental music] Many a Mecha has gone to the end of the world, never to come back. That is why they call the end of the world Manhattan. - And that's why we must go there. - My memories of AI, wow, there are so many. So I went from the sun-kissed coast of Italy to East Germany, where I was filming Enemy at the Gates. I get this phone call from Steven Spielberg, which is the phone call most actors spend a lifetime waiting for, and he was developing AI alongside Stanley Kubrick, who sadly passed away early, early on in the development of this particular version of the film. I would finish working Berlin, fly to Paris, get on the Concord, fly to New York, and land before I'd left, get met on the runway at JFK with a helicopter, and flown to Steven's house. This is [laughs] to rehearse. If that doesn't make your head spin, nothing will. That kind of treatment is, well, for me, otherworldly. It was a really interesting experience in the hands of this extraordinarily powerful director. He was incredibly collaborative, and we came up with this idea of the dancing and the music and the guy with a walking jukebox so he could paly old classics and dance to them and seduce whoever he had to seduce. He was open to so many ideas, and, in a way, the challenge was just be as imaginative and as creative as you can, and I'll see if we can do it. And most of the time, he was like yeah, we can do that. The makeup was an extraordinary journey. Initially, they wanted to make a fake me, so they took a mold of my face and stuck the mask of me on my face. First of all, it made my head way too big, and secondly, it meant that you couldn't actually register anything I was doing. So we ended up just built these tiny, little pieces that just made every line on my face perfectly symmetrical and straight. And then I also remember, because, unfortunately, it all grew back tenfold, they shaved almost [laughs] all my hair off. Everything was shaved every morning, and they sprayed me like a doll every morning and polished me. Sitting in a chair for four hours and being transformed does help because you go in as one thing, and you come out really looking and feeling as another. I had a rigorous routine that I went through everyday with the choreographer. That discipline was also very important to setting this physical neutral zone for Gigolo Joe to operate out of, and getting the walk right. 'Cause he was a robot, we wanted certain things and certain moves to be repetitive. And if you watch the way he walks, people walk like. He actually walked with a rhythm. He did this thing where he turns his head every other move. And so getting into that and locking that was an important ground zero to start at everyday. Finding the character is finding the right look, the clothes, the makeup, the hair, all of that, and then you end up with what just feels right. [subdued atmospheric music] - And what do you do? - I work wood. [hammer banging in distance] [men chattering] Cut. Mostly work wood. Well, Cold Mountain. So I'd start this extraordinary relationship with Anthony Minghella, and I remember him saying come on the odyssey with me. This is gonna be this huge physical journey, and it was. We battled the seasons and the elements every single day. It was deeply emotional, too, because a lot of my character's journey was physical. I remember also, I had this big relationship with animals and that Anthony wanted all the animals to be real, so I was always fishing and learning to cut cows open and pull chickens' heads off and all of that stuff. It was very hands on. If you're up a mountain in six foot of snow, you're up there with a crew. If you're in a bog or if you're in a swamp with gators six feet away, they're in there with you. So it's a very bonding experience to go from baking heat to sub-zero temperatures and everything in between. It's all about the people around you. If you're with a really wonderful group of people and the part requires it and they're there with you, then absolutely, you do it again. Please tell me the truth. - Why? - Because I'm addicted to it, because, without it, we're animals. - I'd seen Closer on stage in London and in New York. Again, Mike Nichols, a director just of legend. A dream team. How lucky am I? Suddenly, I'm in the room with these other three wonderful, wonderful actors. I remember the rehearsal process was really interesting. We rehearsed it in New York. We read through the script, but, most of the time, we really just listened to Mike recounting stories of his love life. I remember halfway through saying to each other like, maybe we're not gonna input anything. And what I realized he was doing was he was laying his life bare in order to feel safe. It was like he was in confession. And so suddenly, anything we discussed, anything we shared, because the piece is about meeting and breaking up with the loves of your life, so it's always dealing with the most raw, the most intimate, the most revealing and vulnerable moments. And in a way, he was going through this process of confession and allowing the conversation to always be safe, which worked. We shot it in and around London, which was a real treat because I was at home. So much of London now I drive past and I think, oh yeah, I filmed there or oh gosh. And so suddenly, these little landmarks in my hometown are also touchstones of memories. But sadly, there's this one strip, the scene at the very beginning when I spy Natalie Portman coming through the crowd, Spitalfields Market, has been completely demolished. The shops have all gone, and it struck me the other day how sad that was 'cause I have such vivid memories of shooting that scene. The play, those who know the play, will know that the ending in the play is very different, or at least it goes a little further, and we filmed that ending. Although it's quite an eccentric ending. My character Dan calls the other two together and has this breakdown where he describes that Alice, Natalie's character, has died. And he goes through this whole confessional where he discovers that she's stolen her name from the memorial of this young woman back in the Victorian age.