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Interview with Clive Owen at the BFI London Film Festival 22nd October 2009

It's the BFI London Film Festival and I'm at the BFI Southbank to meet Clive Owen.
We can all just google Clive Owen to read about his achievements as a BAFTA, Golden Globe winner and for his extensive work in the film and tv industry. Therefore I thought I should pick out some goodies from the interview, that you don't read about everywhere else...

Born 1964 in Coventry, Clive Owen was a man who didn't have it all set in his early life. With a father who left the family when Owen was three and raised by his mother and stepfather, a railway ticket clerk, he described his childhood as rough.

Clive is the man who first didn't believe that acting could be tought, then got into RADA by asking them to go to hell and called Julia Robers a whore in their first film together. When asked if he ever see it as just a job Clive express that he truly loves every film he goes into and that he never see it as "just a job".

"When performing in a play at the age of 13 I suddenly knew that I would dedicate my life to acting" he says. But being born and raised in a small place like Coventry didn't leave much room for expressing his vision.  "I wasn't taken serious when I explained I wanted to become an actor. People told me to stop dreaming" he says. School went out the window as he fell in love with the craft of acting.

Clive had no believe in that acting was something you could be tought at school or "You can't teach people to act", as Clive express it himself. But at the age of 16 when he had been chasing acting work for over 2 years without success he got persuaded to apply to acting school. He got in immediately, but turned it down. Then it occured to him that it was the only road to take so Clive spent another two years to try to get in.

He eventually got into RADA (Royal Academy of Dramatic Art) by swearing and cursing at the judges, as part of his audition. During his last year at RADA he went on to do 7 straight plays and he says that it was a great experience to work with other like-minded people as passionate as himself. During the interview he mentions many times that the 3 years of full-time theatre work he dedicated RADA was vital for his success as an actor. However Clive reveals that as much as he loved RADA he thought they should have included some film continuity as part of the education.

When entering the tv industry he fealt very new to the whole situation. It was basically learning by doing, as he had no experience from filming. Clive keapt the doors open to theatre which also turned him into an acclaimed stage actor. At the start of his career he was just happy to make a living, Clive says. In 1984 only 6 films was made in the UK. It was hard to get BFI funded, leaving the actors to fight for the very few jobs that were.

Clive managed to seize his first film role in Vroom (1988), coming straight out of RADA and within two years he played in the TV crime drama Chancer. The rich rewarding experience from hours of work opened up for more opportunities and many successful award winning films were to follow.

Oven got the great opportunity to work with Julia Roberts for the first time in Closer, where he in one of the scenes call her a whore, giving her the opportunity to offer one last great fuck in exchange for her freedom, meaning he would sign the devorce papers... He later got the chance to work with her again in the smart adult Hollywood film Duplicity (2009). The characters in the film don't trust eachother, but in real life Clive states that Julia Roberts was extremely easy to work with, leaving him feeling relaxed and confident. "We worked very well together", he explains.

"I don't think there is no such thing as natural charisma on film. Charisma is developed through the way the actor relates to the camera and the people you work with", Clive says.

When asked why he never moved to LA, as so many other successful actors, he explains his love for London.  Whatever happend his base would always be London. "You have to go to LA, it's the centre of everything. It's all about status, how much you're worth as an actor. I don't think that's always healthy for an actor," he says.

When finally asking him when he's going to move into directing he says he does have a passion for directing and that he's been flirting with the idea, but that he must find something he's really passionate about, he would have to stop acting and be fully commited to directing. "There are no rules in film making", he says.

In a week from now he's off to America to do another film, with David Schwimmer (Friends) as director. "It's an amazing script", he says. Clive plays the father of a 14 year old girl who's on Internet, being groomed. We're all very excited about what his next masterpiece will look like.

Clive lives in Highgate, London with his wife Sarah-Jane Fenton and their two daughters Hannah and Eve. He met his wife when the two performed the leads in Rome and Juliet and they married in 1995. When asking him if he's a bit domestic he responds; "I do the washing up, yeah". He also says he's a Liverpool fan, simply stating the reason being that they won everything when he was a little kid.

Comments (1)

Fun reading

Like your style, very unusual to read an interview with an actor written this way. Good job/ J


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