Bill Nighy: ‘I Don’t Have The Right Temperament For Acting’
Bill Nighy doesn’t think he’s “temperamentally suited” to acting because he finds film sets scary. The Love Actually legend has been scoring acting roles in film, TV and theater since the 1970s, with notable roles in Shaun of the Dead, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel and the Pirates of the Caribbean movies, but he admits he still finds being on film sets a frightening experience.
“If you want to get paranoid, go on a film set,” he told Red magazine. “There are 100 people, then someone says ‘Action’ and the other 98 people start looking at you. I always think I can’t do it, so my life has been a series of surprises.
“I don’t think I’m particularly temperamentally suited to my job. In fact, I know I’m not.”
Bill is shocked when people comment on how relaxed he seems when he acts, but he admits his outside demeanor is vastly different to how he feels inside, especially when it comes to performing in the theatre.
“Opening plays is the scariest thing, and it doesn’t get any easier,” he admitted. “I used to imagine the audience could feel my alarm, when I’m standing in front of a thousand people with my head on fire and adrenaline pumping through my system. And, yet, I come off and people tell me I seemed relaxed.”
The 67-year-old can currently be seen in British drama Their Finest, about a team who create a propaganda film based on the Dunkirk evacuation to boost moral during World War II. He stars as an actor who reluctantly plays a drunken uncle alongside Gemma Arterton, a writer who is put in charge of ‘the slop’, a name given to female dialogue.
The film highlights the sexism and misogyny her character faces in the film industry, and Bill hopes it won’t be the case for his daughter Mary, 32, who is a director.
“Everything is more difficult for a woman… well, not everything, but lots of areas remain half-open to women, if not closed,” he said. “My daughter is a director and I think, actually, it’s not a bad time for her to start because things will improve.”
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