BY Brandon Voss
December 13 2009 1:10 PM ET
Were you familiar with him as a fashion designer?
My other half’s in fashion, so there are always various magazines lying around, and you can’t help but see him on billboards occasionally. I was very aware of his face and him sitting behind Keira and Scarlett on the front cover of Vanity Fair. I’ve met a few people who are iconic, but — and I don’t know what it was — I was very nervous about meeting him. But the moment I met him in Claridge’s to have a few drinks and discuss the project, I was put at ease pretty quickly.
What kinds of conversations did you have with Tom about your character?
My part is based on Don Bachardy, who had a very close relationship with Christopher Isherwood, but it wasn’t like I was going to base my performance on Don, who has a very strange voice. There’s also a lot of Tom in the story, and I saw the film essentially as a love poem to Richard, his partner, but we didn’t talk that much about it at all. It was all sort of in the script, really, and Tom just seemed to like the effortless affinity that me and Colin had with each other. It wasn’t like he ever said, “You need to think of two horses running through the fields together and feeding each other hay.” I’m sure we talked about it, but I never fucking remember anything. I do the job, cut the umbilical, and what will be will be. I’ve learned my lesson that if you hang on to something, you’re always going to be disappointed with the final product. I’ve never particularly liked what I’ve done, but this the rare time that I do — probably because I’m not in it that much. There’s usually a direct correlation between films doing very well and me not having a big part in them.
How has working with Tom impacted your wardrobe in real life?
I generally put on whatever’s nearest the bed in the morning, which I know slightly infuriates my other half. I’m always like, “Well, do you know what, darling? If I was changing my underpants and my socks every single day, it would just contribute to the laundry basket.” Because when you’ve got a baby at home, there’s enough fucking laundry already. So I change that sort of stuff every two days — and I don’t know why I’m telling you. [Laughs] I did get a couple of lovely suits out of Tom. We worked fairly cheaply on this film — for almost nothing, really — so I think he felt obliged. Or maybe he just didn’t trust me to turn up looking smart to all the festivals we had to go to.
You played a man whose wife leaves him for another woman in the 2005 romantic comedy Imagine Me & You. Have you ever been left for a woman?
That hasn’t happened so far. If my other half did go off with another woman, I think it might ease the blow a little. If she went off with Jake Gyllenhaal or Brad Pitt, you’d be like, “You fucking asshole, how dare you!” But if it’s with some beautiful lady, you’d be like, “Well, there’s not much I can really do.”
What can you tell me about your role as an Irish innkeeper in the upcoming romantic comedy Leap Year?
With the adorable Amy Adams. I’ve always wanted to work with the director, Anand Tucker, ever since I saw Hilary and Jackie. Amy was already involved when I came on, which is the reason it got made, but I was like, “What the fuck are all the Irish actors doing? Surely they don’t need me to do this.” But Anand wanted me, so I had to go learn the accent and do my best. It was really good fun because it doesn’t take itself too seriously or try to reinvent the genre. People have already said, “Man, why are you doing this fucking film? You had a really good run with interesting, in-depth stuff.” But I knew I was going to have a brand-new baby, so I’d rather be filming in Ireland, which is just across the pond from me, rather than in Kuala Lumpur, which is where you can sometimes end up.
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