I don’t have people waiting for the latest Alfred Molina movie
When did you first become interested in acting?
MY mum says I was nine years old when I told her I wanted to be an actor. (Laughs) I can’t believe that I knew at the age of nine what I was talking about.
I would not have had any idea of the complexity of the notion. I think I just fell in love with the idea of acting.
I do remember when I was in primary school, certainly before I was 11 years old, standing in front of the class and reading a poem that was a comic limericky type of thing – getting a laugh and I remember the feeling – a kind of warm wave of excitement when I got that laugh.
They were laughing with me and not at me and I remember feeling ‘I want some more of this.’ (Chuckles) I was nine and I knew all about showing off... and not a lot about acting.
You’ve played so many roles during your career.
What do you get recognised for most?
(SMILES) It depends on the demographic breakdown and gender. For men of my age, in their 60s, it is Raiders Of The Lost Ark and The Da Vinci Code, for those in their 40s and 30s it’s all about SpiderMan.
Women of my age remember An Education, Enchanted April and Frida.
When I was doing Fiddler On The Roof on Broadway a lady came to see me in the show and came backstage afterwards with her grandson.
She said she had seen the very first production of the musical with Zero Mostel back in the 1960s and I was thrilled to meet her. Her grandson was 12 and all he wanted to talk about was Spider-Man which had just come out that year.
I was delighted by that – this older woman who had seen Zero Mostel and her grandson excited about the movie. I just thought that was kind of cool.
What was it like returning to the London stage this year to reprise your role of American abstract expressionist painter Mark Rothko in award-winning play Red?
FANTASTIC. It felt like completing the circle which started in 2009 when we opened at the Donmar in London.
The usual route is to then go to the West End and perhaps New York, but the New York Times nipped in and gave us a fantastic review ahead of the pack and we were encouraged to go to New York right away and strike when the iron was hot.
Then, two years ago, we did it in LA. I always wanted to do it in the West End and I’ve now able to complete the circle. Red won six Tony stage awards and the London stage production was a sell-out success. It is about to be shown in cinemas across the country. How has the production changed over the years?
FIFTY per cent of the cast has changed and the world has changed since we first did it.
There are themes and remarks that resonate in the play in the way that they didn’t 10 years ago.
The whole experience has been very satisfying. The play is physically quite demanding and energetic. I was younger than Rothko when I first played the role and now I’m older and I found it really hard.
If I hear someone is working on Red in the future I will think ‘great and good luck. I hope you have as much fun as I did.’
Four months is quite a long stage run. I must be getting a bit old when I start talking about getting home to my favourite chair, but it’s nice to be back.
Do you paint yourself?
I LOVE art and love going to see it and thinking about it, but I can’t paint. I’m lacking those skills.
It’s always been acting for me. When I was younger I thought I was not handsome enough to be a leading man. I thought I would be a character actor and I’d be the leading man’s wacky sidekick and I was pretty right. I’ve really made my career playing great character roles.
I can look at myself in movies and television when I was a younger actor and appreciate what I was trying to do. Mistakes and all. I’m not embarrassed by anything. There are a few out there that I wish I hadn’t done, but I’m not worrying about it.
Do you and your actress wife
Jill Gascoine now feel at home in LA?
IT STARTED off as an adventure and the next thing you know you’ve got a mortgage and a dog.
It creeps up on you.
We went thinking ‘give it one year and see what happens.’ But things go well and then you find 10 years have gone by.
There’s never been any problem about fame. (Laughs) I’m not at that level of celebrity.
I don’t have people waiting for the latest Alfred Molina movie. I’m not that. I’m at a minor level.
What’s next for you?
FUNNILY enough I’m developing two scripts now and working to perhaps direct in the future.
It’s very early days and I’m rather reluctant to talk about it because it is such a great cliché in California.
I’ve only recently had the chance to start not working. I’ve never been in that position before, but if I live modestly, if I don’t get a crazy, expensive hobby, I can just tootle along and just work when I want to.
Alfred Molina as Mark Rothko in the West End hit Red – coming to a cinema screen near you
Alfred Molinasays he doesn’t get embarrassedwatching himself on film or TV –although there are a few things hewishes he hadn’t done