HOW MUCH IS A PINT OF MILK?
What do David Bowie and rotten fish have in common? They’re both answers given by Juliet Stevenson in this month’s Q&A.
Do you have a signature dish?
I’m quite proud of my fish pie. It takes me a ridiculously long time to cook. I put loads of different kinds of fish in it and the sauce has got to be really piquant. I make it about once every five years, because I hate cooking.
When were you most starstruck?
Meeting Maggie Smith on the set of Harry Potter. I took my kids to meet my great friend, Alan Rickman, when he was filming, and he said, “Oh, come and meet Maggie.” I was completely overwhelmed. Under her steely gaze, I just talked gibberish. She told me she was a big admirer of mine but that made it worse. The more I jabbered, the more formidable she became.
What’s your earliest memory?
Jumping off my wall when I was three. We lived in Queenscliff, a one-horse town in Australia, and everything is in very vivid colours. I had a little wall in the garden — they called it my jumping wall and it was probably about six inches high, but in my memory it’s at least six foot.
Do you have a favourite animal?
My Cockapoo, Milly. My children think I love her more than them. It’s not true, although it’s touch-and-go some days. I love sea animals, too. Otters, seals and dolphins.
What was your role in your first school play?
Toad in Toad Of Toad Hall. It was outside under a tree and I painted a frog’s mouth across my face. I vividly remember the exhilaration of inhabiting somebody very different from myself — although my family would say Toad is not so different from me.
Do you have a nickname?
People call me Jules. My dad was obsessed with nicknames and his nicknames for me would evolve every week, like some kind of strange dialect. My friends would come home and I’d die of embarrassment because of these names he’d call me. No, I’m not going to tell you them!
How much is a pint of milk?
About £1.20? I buy milk in two-litre cartons.
Who did you have on your wall growing up?
Originally a poster of The Monkees, but then it evolved on to David Bowie and John Lennon. There was one film actor I had a massive crush on: Leonard Whiting, who played Romeo in Franco Zeffirelli’s Romeo And Juliet.
What’s the worst thing you’ve ever put in your mouth?
I ate raw octopus in a sandwich in Malta once. I chomped down on it and my jaw sort of sprung back out again. Rotten Arctic char is the worst, though. I tried it in Canada. It was a complete agony of nausea. It wouldn’t make my fish pie.
Do you have a tattoo?
No, although I’m fascinated by them. I wouldn’t mind having a tiny one on my inside wrist. But I think as an actor you have to keep everything clean and available to be someone else.
What one thing do you do better than anyone else you know?
I do the best impressions of Marge Simpson and Louis Armstrong.
Do you have a favourite joke?
Why did the banana go to the doctor? Because he wasn’t peeling very well. It’s a terrible joke, but my son found it hilarious when he was five. I can remember mountains of text by Shakespeare or Samuel Beckett, but I just don’t remember jokes.