Hugh Dancy: Hugh Better Work!

Whether he's playing a man with Asperger's syndrome in the recent film Adam or bringing down the house on Broadway wearing nothing but a towel, Dancy always dazzles like a royal jewel.

BY Brandon Voss

August 05 2009 12:00 AM ET

Are you a fan of camp?
I'm a fan of working with good friends when they ask me to.

As part of Broadway's annual Easter Bonnet Competition, a fund-raiser for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, you came onstage wearing nothing but a towel in a cheeky ploy to increase ticket sales for Journey's End. Did it help?
I don't think so, no, but we did win the damn thing. I was going to sing, but about four days before that I got diagnosed with a polyp on my vocal cord, so I decided to just come out in a towel. What the hell, right?

Because you take care of your body, do directors ask you to remove your shirt for scenes when it seems totally unnecessary?
What, you mean like in Adam? Or in Journey's End, having a quick wash in the trenches? [Laughs] I suppose the closest I've come to that would be Confessions of a Shopaholic, where the clothes were tailored to within an inch of their lives. But that's what we signed up for.

Photographer Mario Testino had you strip down to boxer shorts last year for the cover of Vogue Hommes International.
You figure if somebody's going to do it right, it would be him. I knew Mario previously from other shoots and from just bumping into him around and about, so it was pretty easy.

Are you comfortable being a sex symbol?
There are worse things you could be called. To some extent it's helpful, but if you engage in that too much, you actually limit your options professionally. And if your self-esteem rests on that, then you've got a major problem.

Were you OK with the fact that your modeling for Burberry print campaigns would be more about your looks than your talent?
Yeah, sure. It wasn't like I was looking for a new career. They said they wanted a British actor to do that, so I said, "Sure, I'm up for it." I'm up for anything — within limits.

To borrow a line about your character in Confessions of a Shopaholic: Do you speak Prada?
I cannot tell you how often I've been asked that question by stewardesses on airplanes. I've yet to come up with a sensible answer, except that I basically speak denim.

Your character Sam Green in Savage Grace has sex with both Barbara Baekeland and her son Tony, who were played by Julianne Moore and Eddie Redmayne. How are love scenes with a man different from those with a woman?
Let's just say that a love scene with a man and a woman at the same time is significantly different from everything else. Beyond that, maybe it's different with a man, but only because of my lack of experience. [Laughs] I'd worked with Eddie before and he's a good friend, so weirder than his gender was the fact that it was a mate of mine. That's what was really uncomfortable.

Tags: film

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