Ben Whishaw - Playing Q was a bit like doing a Shakespeare role
English actor Ben Whishaw got his big break playing the title role in a Trevor Nunn-directed Hamlet in 2004. The Danish Prince seems a fitting motif for an actor who manages to convey so much of the inner workings of his characters with nuance and suggestion.
Dazzling turns in art-house films Perfume and Bright Star, and his current performances as Q in James Bond blockbuster Skyfall, and as a star reporter in BBC series The Hour, are now being followed by existential epic Cloud Atlas in which he appears alongside Tom Hanks.
Whishaw remains the actorâs actor: intensely private and as outside of the tawdry circus of stardom as his unique talent allows.
He talked to the Independent about this roles.
Q: One of your latest roles is Q in the new James Bond, a character totally associated with Desmond Llewelyn. How did inheriting a role change your approach?
BW: I was quite nervous. In a way though itâs a bit like doing a Shakespeare role thatâs already been inhabited by many other actors. Iâm quite used to that feeling now. I try not to let it weigh on me much and just play the character as I see it.
Q: Many actors cite a particular change in appearance, for example a wig or costume change that signifies the beginning of their playing a character. Is the external changing of your appearance, with costume and make-up an important role in developing a character?
BW: I love the element of acting thatâs dressing up â yes. Thatâs where it all stems from I think - the childâs dressing up box - itâs playing. I love how wearing someone elseâs clothes can make you feel different, move differently, even think differently. Iâm always clear in my head that the character Iâm playing is very distinct from me and at the same time so much of you ends up leaking into the character. Itâs an odd business.
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