The hero of Four Weddings and a Funeral, Notting Hill, Bridget Jones, About a Boy and more recently The Gentlemen has lost none of his boyish appeal. Or his very British sense of humour…
Acting is like laying carpet. You pick it up as you go along. My father laid carpet for years. He struggled at first, but the more he did it, the more he enjoyed it. By the end of his career, he was laying the smoothest carpets you’ve ever seen. Perfection! I hope to become that good an actor one day.
It is! They wanted a guy who wasn’t too bad-looking to be in a pretentious student film. I agreed, though not for the ego boost of seeing my name in the credits. My main motivation was that I was hoping to sleep with one of my co-stars. A girl called Victoria Stud, can you imagine!
That would be at the Venice Film Festival in 1987. I was there for the premiere of Maurice. I was sitting in the front row wearing a suit I’d had since I was 13. It was a bit of a squeeze but it was the only one I had. Anyway, I was fiddling around, trying to loosen the strap on my watch, when I dropped it. I bent forward to pick it up and heard this ripping sound: the seat of my trousers had split down the seam! What the hell was I supposed to do? If I left, people would think I didn’t care about the film, except the alternative was to sit there with my shirt poking through the hole in my trousers. In the end, I stayed. When the lights came back on, I stood up and thanked the audience, using the press release for the film to cover my arse! Not something I would wish on anyone.
I certainly do! It was a gold Rolex I’d bought with my first salaries as an actor. I was hardly going to leave it on the floor, was I…
Absolutely. I was helping my father lay carpets and at the same time I had a job delivering quiches around London. Except I used to drive so fast that every time I slammed on the brakes, all the quiches would go flying to the back of the van. My boss got dozens of complaints about squashed quiches and I got the sack. Anyway, I used my hard-earned cash to buy a digital watch. It was a Timex, if I remember rightly. I thought it was amazing. The problem is, I’m short-sighted so I had to have the liquid crystals an inch from my face in order to see what time it was. It ended up in the back of a drawer.
What would be the point of ruining your eyesight? I like a watch to have hands that stand out clearly on the dial. I’ve seen watches with so much going on, it’s a wonder you arrive anywhere on time. Of course, these are often beautiful watches that have been superbly crafted from the finest materials, but do you really want to have to tie yourself in knots just to make out the numbers on the dial?
It’s an option worth considering. It all comes down to what you can afford. Roses are nice but they fade and you might stab yourself on the thorns. Chocolates are always a good idea, if you don’t mind your lover piling on the pounds. A watch, on the other hand, is a gift that will last and that captures a moment in time. Then it’s a matter of finding one that’s right for the relationship you’re in. Splashing out on a luxury watch just to impress your girlfriend, I find that to be in terribly bad taste. But if it’s for your wife, the mother of your children, the woman you want to spend the rest of your life with, then a beautiful watch immortalises your love. It’s like a diamond ring or simply a weekend for two on an empty beach. Of course, if you do decide to buy an expensive watch, you never tell her how much it cost or that you had to take out a loan to pay for it. Some things are best left unsaid. A smile and a tender kiss will say so much more.
I love staying in five-star hotels, smoking a huge cigar and knocking back two bottles of Chardonnay over a good meal. Especially if someone else is footing the bill! Oh, and I recently bought myself an Aston Martin. I’ve always had a weakness for sports cars. I read car magazines like other guys look at porn. I want every single one and it drives me mad that I can’t have them all. When I was living with Liz Hurley, I thought about buying myself a red Ferrari, but Liz refused. She said I’d look like a complete wanker in a Ferrari but she could see herself in one. Which is how I ended up driving her rusty old Mercedes!