I dont really want to pick
one film because it would be a misrepresentation. It is like someone asking:
Whats your favourite food? And you saying: Fried eggs,
because thats all you can think of at that moment.
Having said that, Rushmore (1998) is a great movie. It is well written, superbly
directed and acted, concise and not dumbed down. But last night I also enjoyed watching Final
Destination (2000, above), which has Devon Sawa in it, who is a friend of mine.
It is a teen slasher film but, even though I knew it was rather silly, I would rather see
a good teen slasher than a bad art film any day.
I would always go to see a Martin Scorsese film. And I would always be interested in a
Coen brothers movie. But Scorsese is a must. He has, I think, never used clichés, has
never repeated himself and never used a shorthand out of laziness. Watch a Scorsese film
and observe how the children behave because that shows how brilliant he is. Usually the
children will run on and you think film children, but in a Scorsese film they
behave in a real way. He has imagination, honesty and, even when it doesnt work, he
is always interesting.
I dont love everything that the Coen brothers do, but I love the trying. I found O
Brother, Where Art Thou? (2000) a little dull and pretentious. I still enjoyed it, but
not as much as I have their earlier stuff. By the same token, I dont like all of
Woody Allens films, but I watch them because he is capable of being brilliant.
Sensibly, there is an understanding that all actors lie when they are going for a part.
You wont get the job unless you do. So, if you are asked whether you are trained in
sumo wrestling, you say, Yes, of course, and worry about it once you have the
job. There is a lot of horse riding involved in A Knights Tale (2001), but I
have been taught from scratch (Hamlet, 1996, The Honest Courtesan, 1996, Middlemarch,
1994) so many times that I am really quite good. I was in the rugby team at school, but I
was never sporty. I jog, that is about it. If you like your beer, you have to do
The thing that makes sport interesting to me is the human element. Watching Goran
Ivanisevic provided great drama during this years Wimbledon final. It was
extraordinary to see how much it mattered. But when it is a bunch of people I dont
know running around, I would rather watch an old film.
Some of the best travelling I have done is when I have been to a place to work rather
than as a tourist. One of the most beautiful times I have had was in Rome when I was
filming The Honest Courtesan with Catherine McCormack at the Cinecittà Studios. I
had a beautiful 14th-century apartment just off the Piazza Navona and, because I had so
much time off, my best memories are of walking around the streets, taking photographs and
sitting in cafés, being in this idyllic place and thinking: God, sometimes I am so
lucky. Consequently, when I think of Rome I dont think of the work but of the
time I spent not working.
We filmed A Knights Tale in the Czech Republic, mostly because it is five
times cheaper than filming anywhere else. I had a lovely apartment in Prague, which is a
stunningly beautiful city. It is the most architecturally complete place in the sense
that, unlike Paris or London, or anywhere else for that matter, there are no modern
monstrosities that get in the way until you get to the outskirts, where the Eastern
bloc buildings are really grey and depressing.
When I have been out of the country and rushing around, there is nothing that I like
better than to sit on my sofa with my feet up, reading books, seeing my mates and watching
the television. I like salt and vinegar crisp-munching, tea-slurping, any-old-rubbish
television. Anything that is soporifically comforting: like a fireplace used to be a
couple of hundred years ago.
I have got out of the habit of reading, although I am weaning myself back into it and
am in the middle of Perfume by Patrick Suskind (Penguin, £7.99) again, which I
havent read for a very long time.
It is about a boy born in revolutionary Paris to a woman who doesnt even know
that she is pregnant. He is born with a sense of smell one million times more developed
than any other human being, and he becomes a perfumer obsessed with smells. His life is
about finding the perfect scent. It is a fantastic book. Wonderful. Very vivid.
I am about to play the religious reformer Martin Luther at the National in London, so a
lot of my reading at the moment is homework. There are about 25 books on Luther that I
should read, and if in doing that I learn something specific about the man rather than a
generalisation, then it will be worth it.
The one I am reading now is Young Man Luther: A Study in Psychoanalysis and History,
by Erik H. Erikson (W. W. Norton, £8.95), which is terribly dry, but it could prove to be
I love taking photographs of people; off-guard, reportage shots. I dont mean
paparazzi-type photos, but those that capture who people are when they are relaxed.
I also have a photographic diary of pretty much every job I have done during the past
eight years. I was in Papua New Guinea for three months for a film that I am really proud
of that is still to be released here. It is called In a Savage Land (1999), and
made by the Australian director Bill Bennett. In Papua New Guinea the local tribes still
live in mud huts, there is no electricity, they wear grass skirts and trade in yams. I
have the most amazing pictures from my time there.
And then I remember being miserable in Canada on a film called Bless the Child
(2000), for no other reason than the fact that I was stuck on my own. Kim Basinger, who
was very nice, was there with her entourage, but she wasnt available to hang out
with, and the other actor was six years old. It wasnt until I came home that I
realised that I hadnt taken a single photograph.
I wouldnt want to see an Andrew Lloyd-Webber musical in case I liked it. I
generally dont like that kind of stuff too cheesy but I must never go
because the thought that I might enjoy it, even mildly, is so terrifying that I cant
put myself in that position. Consequently, I can never go to see one of his productions.
Rufus Sewell stars in A Knights Tale, which is on general release, and
will appear in John Osbornes Luther, at the National Theatre, London SE1, from Sep
- CV: Rufus Sewell
RUFUS SEWELL was born in 1967 in Twickenham,
Middlesex, the son of a Welsh mother and an Australian film- animator father. After
studying at the Central School of Speech and Drama in London he built a career in the West
End and on Broadway before the role of Will Ladislaw in the BBCs Middlemarch made
him a household name. He is divorced from the fashion buyer Yasmin Abdallah and lives in
Making It Better (1992)
This London theatre debut won him the London Critics Circle Best Newcomer
Nominated for an Olivier Award
Role of Will Ladislaw made him a pin-up
Cold Comfort Farm (1995)
Playing opposite Kate Beckinsale
A Man of No Importance (1994)
Suri Krishnammas tale of a bus driver
Biopic of the painter Dora Carrington
The Woodlanders (1998)
Thomas Hardy adaptation
Martha, Meet Frank, Daniel and Lawrence (1998)
Playing Frank McQuean