Wednesday, April 28, 2010


In January 2006 a young 25 year old Russell Tovey gave these answers about his burgeoning career...I don't think he would regret his answers even today...

Date & place of birth

Born Saturday 14 November 1981 in Essex.

Lives now in
I live in Essex. I bought a place not far from my parents.

I didn’t train. I’ve been doing this since I was a nipper. I joined a kids’ agency when I was ten. I joined a local drama club and the woman who ran it set up this agency. I got work through them from a very young age. My first job was a walk-on part in The Bill - I threw a ball at a policeman. And things sort of progressed from there.

What made you want to become an actor?
I watched a film called Dead Poets’ Society when I was ten and I remember saying “I want to be an actor.” There’s an actor in it and all he wants to do is play Puck in A Midsummer Night’s Dream. He’s made to go and do other stuff instead and in the end he kills himself - not that I’m going to do that, but it was so inspiring. I just told my parents, “that’s what I want to do, act”. They’ve always been really supportive of me. When I was at high school, I was having a lot of time off for filming work. I’d be back for three months and then off filming again, and my dad was worried that, if it was a fad, I wouldn’t have an education and I’d have wasted all that time. But I always knew this was what I wanted to do, and I wanted to make sure I could make the link from acting as a child to acting as an adult. Mum has been 100 percent there for me throughout. Well, they both have, but mum comes back again and again and again to see the show. If there’s a minor celeb in the audience, she loves it, she just wets herself! She always buys gossip magazines!

First big break
I’d say my first big break as a kid was a TV show called Mud. I got to go in the BBC Broom Cupboard and meet Andi Peters. I was 12 and thought it was just amazing! As an adult, I suppose the best thing was getting in at the National in Henry V and being there for two-and-a-half years after that. It was like my drama school, I learned loads.

If you hadn’t become an actor, what would you have done professionally?
I would have been an archaeologist. I had a metal detector when I was little and used to be obsessed with dinosaurs. I also wanted to be a history teacher. I’ve always been obsessed with the past, kings and queens and who got beheaded. And I love all the hidden secrets in London’s past. I’m always buying all these books about things people don’t know about, like Underground stations that exist but nobody knows about as they’re no longer used.

Click play above for a small slide show with voice over by Russell Tovey - you'll hear his Essex accent also called an "estuary" Essex accent.

What roles would you most like to play still?
I never really know when people ask that. I don’t have any specific roles in mind. I just want to do good writing.

What would you advise the government to secure the future of British theatre?
Support it. Just give it loads of money to keep it going and get kids away from their Playstations and into the theatre.

If you could swap places with one person (living or dead) for a day, who would it be?
Andy Warhol because he was just so out there, so mental and he absolutely inspired so many people with his art. I think it might be fun to be absolutely gaga for a day! Failing that, maybe a king?

Favourite directors
Nick Hytner because he’s given me the opportunity to do some great stuff and has taught me loads of stuff. Also, I’ve done a TV show, My Family and Other Animals, and the director on that, Sheree Folkson, is just brilliant. We have a good rapport with each other. She knows what she wants and she’s very gifted in her vision. But there are loads. At my age, I’ve already worked with some really great people so I’m very lucky.

Favourite playwrights
I have to say Alan Bennett, of course. And I also love Maber and Pinter. I reckon they’re my favourites.

Favourite after-show haunts
I’m a member of a couple of bars. Soho House, that’s always good for other theatrical people and it’s open late and it’s right in the middle of Soho. When I’m at the National, I just go to the Green Room. Anywhere really with friends is good.

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