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March of the Penguin Authors (2007)

Actor turned novelist David Thewlis, here with his debut fiction, “The Late Hector Kipling”, stayed on the back patio so he could smoke, where he was mostly left alone – typical of the Canadian response to celebrity. I asked him the difference between film parties and literary parties, and he was quick to offer, “At film parties, you can recognize just about every face there. Here, there could be the world’s greatest genius behind you and you’d never know it.”

He was nursing a water just before his Harbourfront reading – “I never drink before I go on stage,” he told me – except in the film “Total Eclipse”, where he played famously alcoholic Paul Verlaine opposite Leonardo DiCaprio as Arthur Rimbeau. Director Agnieszka Holland insisted he drink real ouzo during one scene – no other liquid could replicate the cloudiness ouzo takes on when you put an ice cube in it – and by the fourth take, each involving three shots, he was hammered.

When I asked why he had to be drinking ouzo, he laughed, “She wanted real drunkenness. Being drunk is hard to act. People think it’s all about weaving but it’s not physical. It’s in the eyes, that glazed look. Amazing thing is,” he said, “the next day I said I wanted to see the dailies because I couldn’t remember anything and they were actually good. Look at the film again and you’ll see the effect.”

He warned me that he could tell stories non-stop and that I should shut him up if I got bored. No chance.

· Published | 25 October 2007
· Journalist | Susan G. Cole
· Source | © Now Magazine
· Credit | Submitted by Wendy

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