Sir Michael Gambon talks “The Casual Vacancy” and “Harry Potter”!
In an in-depth interview for the Sunday Times, Sir Michael Gambon talks about how he got started in acting, why he can’t perform on stage any longer, Harry Potter, and the upcoming HBO series by J.K. Rowling, The Casual Vacancy.
Although MuggleNet fans know Gambon mostly for his role as Hogwarts Headmaster Albus Dumbledore, he has played well over 100 roles in film, and that doesn’t even count the stage roles he’s taken on since beginning his career around the age of 22.
Lately, however, fans will have noticed that he has taken on another character created by Rowling – Howard Mollison in The Casual Vacancy. When asked which character of Rowling’s he found easier to relate to: Dumbledore or Henry Mollison, Gambon said,
I’d say the wise wizard, wouldn’t you? The pleasant old chap who is nice to children. He came naturally.
The interviewer then asks if Gambon had read all of the Harry Potter books, to which he replied,
No. I’ve only read my part. Is this terrible, what I’m saying?
However, this seems to be par for the course, considering he’s also never read The Casual Vacancy:
She did send me one, which was very kind, but it didn’t arrive until I got home, having just finished the whole thing. It’s a bit thick for my storyline.
Gambon also likes to give his fellow actors on stage as well as interviewers a bit of a hard time, though it’s all in fun. He tells how he goes about entertaining himself when he’s feeling bored:
It has to be very subtle. The audience must never know. But if you’re in a play for a year, six or seven times a week, it will drive you up the wall. You’re nearly dead, even though the play might be brilliant. So you have to muck about.
For interviews that bore him, the actor will actually make things up for a bit of a laugh.
He told [a journalist] he had been in the Royal Ballet but left after falling off the stage and through a timpani drum.
Gambon also touches once more upon the stage, which he loves but feels he must give up because of his trouble remembering lines. In his last play, he had someone backstage feeding him his lines through an earpiece he wore.
There was a girl in the wings, and I had a plug in my ear, so she could read me the lines. And after about an hour I thought, ‘This can’t work. You can’t be in theatre, free on the stage, shouting and screaming and running around, with someone reading you your lines.’ It’s a horrible thing to admit, but I can’t do it. It breaks my heart. It’s when the script’s in front of me, and it takes me forever to learn it. It’s frightening.
Hinting about a new project, of which he says he has no idea what it’s actually about, Gambon reveals that he plans on traveling to New York and Canada for a role soon.
I’ve been offered a film, two weeks in New York and two weeks in… the country further up…Canada. A four-week job directed by a man who’s French. He was talking to me on the phone the other day, and I didn’t understand one word he said. I kept saying, ‘Oh, yeah, yeah — that’s great.’ And then, ‘All right, see you then. Bye.’ I don’t know what it’s about. I expect my agent will tell me.
We know whatever Gambon does next, we’ll be watching! For now, we’ll simply settle for watching the drama unfold on his series Fortitude and anxiously await the US premiere on April 29 as he takes his turn as Henry in The Casual Vacancy. The series will also premiere in the UK on February 15.
You can read the full interview with Gambon here if you have a subscription.
Will you be watching the first episode of The Casual Vacancy? Tell us what you are most excited about and how you think the series will compare to the book by commenting below!