ESQ&A: Paul Bettany

The British actor, who stars in new heist comedy Mortdecai, talks Depp, drugs and Damon Albarn 

Most Popular

Paul Bettany, star of A Beautiful Mind and The DaVinci Code, appears alongside Johnny Depp, Gwyneth Paltrow and Ewan McGregor in new heist comedy Mortdecai.

We had a brief chat with the BAFTA-nominated brit.

***

What advice would you give to your 20-year-old self?
Try and do fewer drugs! But also, whenever you’re on a film set, use the women’s toilets. The men’s are foul; the crew are drinking coffee and eating full English breakfasts since 5am, so it’s a ghastly place.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

What has been the proudest moment of your career so far?
What you feel proud about changes with your mood and what you’ve done, so right now I’m most proud of the film I’ve just directed (Shelter) starring my wife (actress Jennifer Connelly) and Anthony Mackie. As an actor, I’m very proud of Gangster No 1 and Master and Commander

You’ve worked with Johnny Depp a few times now (The Tourist, Transcendence, and now, Mortdecai). What’s he like on set?
He’s the most relaxed actor, and has absolutely no ego in the scene. There are those who always try to beat you.

Most Popular

What’s next?
I’m daunted by the crazy tour for The Avengers sequel (Age of Ultron) this May. I’ve been to Comic-Con a few times and going last year as an Avenger, people were crazy; I’ve never experienced anything like it. After that, I’ll be releasing the movie I directed, Shelter.

What's your desert island film, book and album?
Album: Astral Weeks by Van Morrison. Book: The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov – which is just nuts and brilliant – and film: The Godfather Part 2.

What’s your drink of choice?
I’ve never found a drink I don’t like. As I hurtle towards middle age, I really enjoy red wine… with a lot of cheese.

When were you last star struck?
I’m such an enormous fan of Damon Albarn and I went to Latitude Festival to see him live. I was there with my wife and kids, and there was talk about whether we should go backstage. I couldn’t do it. I just sat there in absolute awe. The gig was fucking brilliant.

What’s your hidden talent?
My Spaghetti Bolognese is extraordinary. Everybody has their own theories on why it’s so good, so naturally I just protect the recipe.

Mortdecai is released on 23 January

***
MORE ESQ&A:
Joel Edgerton
Cillian Murphy
David Morrissey
***