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Tufty Club (1992)

‘Sporadic problems with the bell,’ says the notice on the door. “Dodgy lift,” explains a grumpy resident. Understatements both, but six breathless flights later waits David Thewlis, one of Britain’s most endearingly quirky young actors.

All tufty hair, ripe lips and fragile frame, it’s no surprise that this skinny 28-year-old Blackpool boy is constantly cast as ‘the wimp’ – Clive ‘Chancer’ Owen’s sidekick in “Vroom”, the goofy loon in Screen One’s “Filipina Dreamgirls” (for which he acquired an impressive Welsh accent) and the monosyllabic but strangely attractive boyfriend in “Life is Sweet”. Here, he embarked on 9.5 Weeks Mike Leigh-style, licking Nutella from the breasts of a bulimic Jane Horrocks. “My girlfriend kept finding chocolate behind my ears,” he laughs. “Try explaining that one away.”

But Thewlis’ career has been more than a spot-the-drip competition. In 1989 he played the highly acclaimed lead in “Resurrected” – as a squaddy accused of desertion during the Falklands War. And more recently, he gripped the nation with his portrayal of a motor neuron disease sufferer in the BBC’s “Journey to Knock.”

For all that, stardom is the last thing he’s after. “I truly don’t want to be famous,” he explains. “Clive Owen is one of my best friends and his fame is like an affliction. I find myself acting as his minder.”

Trained at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, one of his first jobs was a Bran Flakes ad. “How could I say no to five days in Miami just for saying “Tasty, tasty, very tasty?” he laughs. Soon after, he decided to cut the pap. He has just turned down two big TV earners in favour of a stint at the Royal National Theatre. “I’m dead happy even though I’m broke,” he says. “By the way, any chance of getting paid for this interview?”

Nice try David. Very nice try.

· Published | January 1992
· Journalist | Susie Forbes
· Source | © Elle Magazine
· Credit | Scanned and submitted by Tannim

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