THE mantelpiece of Jeremy Irons would be missing a shiny
Oscar statuette if the 58-year-old had had his way and refused his role in the
film Reversal Of Fortune, for which he won the best actor Oscar in 1990.
“I tried to turn it down. I kept saying no but [his
co-star] Glenn Close persuaded me.”
Reflecting on playing socialite Claus von Bülow, who was tried but acquitted
for the murder of his wife, Irons says: “I thought it might have been a bit
tasteless. The man it was about was still alive and it was like digging up
his family history.
But Glenn said: ‘If you don’t do it, someone else will,’ so I eventually said
yes.” But even during the making of the movie he had reservations. “I still
felt uneasy and thought it would go straight to TV. The first edit was a
disaster but they fixed it and I got a call from Cannes saying: ‘We’re going
to run for the Oscars with this.’”
He still doesn’t think it was his best work. “Dead Ringers the year before was
‘the’ performance, in a way I felt the Academy had been voting for that. I
don’t care what the Oscar was for, though, as long as they give it to you!” he
Irons, who was at the Tenth Planet Brief Encounters
acting masterclass at Covent Garden’s Actors’ Centre says he will put his name
to turkeys if the price is right.
“I don’t regret anything. The terrible ones I always did for the money, like
Dungeons And Dragons – Christ, that was dreadful. The more commercial roles,
like Die Hard and The Lion King, aren’t any easier. It’s dangerous to think,
‘I can do this sitting on my bottom’, but I felt I was a bit boring in The Man
In The Iron Mask (1998) so I stopped for two years.
“I get spoilt filming. I had 20 years of lead roles, then 10 years of guest
roles which aren’t as satisfactory but you get paid a lot so you don’t have to
do it often!”