My Guest on Judiang Is… RA?

I’m stockpiling entries that WordPress can auto-post.  This gives my procrastinator heart new hope in achieving the goal of posting daily.  High tech, I love you.

The second question Servetus asked me which led to formation of this blog was this: if you could interview RA, what would you ask?  I asked her the same,  but she decided  to play her cards close to the chest.  I felt this was a challenge so I’m picking up the gauntlet and having a go at it.

This question stumped me for weeks.  What on earth can I ask that hasn’t already been posed?  Certainly it wouldn’t be about shoveling elephant poo, his sex symbol status, or his looks.  It occurred to me the best way think about this was to imagine a setting which would set the tone.   An informal chat in a pub wouldn’t work because of the potential for me to become too inquisitive (as in Spanish) and him deflecting questions or not answering seriously.  So it would have to be a formal setting, on stage, before a live audience, a la Actor’s Studio.  The interview would focus on his craft since I can’t see how any personal questions would be relevant unless it concerned some life changing event he had publicly discussed.

One question would definitely have to address his creative transitions.  He took dancing as a child to correct pigeon toes.  He developed a passion for playing the cello but didn’t pursue it professionally due to alleged shyness in front of audiences and instead danced professionally even though he was too tall.  When he realized he was fighting an uphill battle, he enrolled in LAMDA.  There isn’t necessarily a logical progression between these areas, especially in the context of his purported shyness.  It’s also my understanding that not anybody can get into LAMDA or RADA.  How did he make these transitions?  Why acting school and not music school? Did he think he had real acting talent or did he go on a wing and a prayer? How did he deal with the shyness issue?

Another question which has always intrigued me is this: how does he memorize all those lines?  This might seem cause a mental eyeroll, but I think a lay audience not in the business would be curious.  Seriously, how do actors do it?  David Tennant had 358 lines in Hamlet which he learned in six weeks in addition to his role in Love’s Labor’s Lost.  I know they just do it, but technically how?  Does RA use cues? Emotions? Memories? Associations? Rhythms?  Is it a technique he had to learn or does he just need a damn good memory?  How does he reach the point when remembering the lines recedes into the background, and conveying the emotion takes hold?   I would love to hear an actor talk through the process, and maybe demonstrate a scene he would be warned about ahead time.

I’m not sure if I would ask this next question during an interview; he might feel put on the spot.  I would comment on his widening fame and point blank ask about his views on privacy and expectations he has of fans and vice versa.  I’ve read comments from fans reading deep meaning into relatively innocuous comments and ascribing feelings and motives to him that basically sound like projections of their own personal issues.  I know he enjoys being teasingly cryptic with fans to add some excitement, but it would be nice to know what he actually thinks.   Maybe this question would be a good submission for a written interview when he could answer with careful and considered thought.  Not sure how I would pose such a loaded question before a studio audience.  Don’t think I would have the mettle to do it as long as I was a fan.

I can’t think of any more burning questions right now.  I imagine some minor ones like which was his favorite role and why. Don’t believe he’s actually been asked that.  Also, knowing he likes to create diaries for his characters, I would discover what story he had for Lucas in S9 of Spooks.

As a treat for getting this far, here is one of the best interviews he’s given, discussing about Lucas North in Spooks: