Peter Hall was just organizing the Royal Shakespeare Company. It was going to be an ensemble, it was going to be in repertory, it was going to have a home in London as well as in the Midlands, and all of those things were happening at that time.
Well, I think just the fact that you are making your first film is a huge step.
I think you get better at staring into space. Especially living in the South of France.
The danger is that if you have a bunch of ideas that you forget to use.
One fine day I discovered that more complex plays really have to be directed.
If you are prepared to make a fool of yourself for them then you usually get that back. I think that there are points where you become so close to an actor, you know them so well, almost as well or better than their spouse. You have to know them, warts and all.
I was watching Monster’s Ball, which is a fabulous movie. It’s just a little gem: beautifully shot, and shot in a way I never would have done. It made me feel very old, really, because it wasn’t eccentric for its own sake, it was just very original.
What you’re doing is putting into professional play the way that you relate to other people, the way that you analyze and relate to a written text, the way that you would persuade anybody to do anything. It has to do with listening, with humility and a sense of yourself.
When I was at Stratford, the very first thing that I was commissioned to work on was trying to make a musical out of the documentary material about the General Strike, which was the next big historical event in England, after the First World War.
So, through all that early professional career I would occasionally do a musical, a pantomime or a play with songs. The next stop would be a Shakespeare, or an Ibsen, or a play by a brand new writer who had never done anything in the theater before.