Man of the moment
The 68-year-old British actor found fame in Love Actually and has dominated our screens ever since. This month, he’s starring in The Bookshop
Bill lives in London and has a grown-up daughter, Mary, with his ex-partner diana Quick.
My rise to fame...
Love Actually changed my life in a very good way. Richard Curtis gave me a very good role, and it changed my professional life and a lot in my personal life. so it’s something I should be grateful for. but when fans speak with me in the street, I feel like I’m disappointing them because I’m not billy mack, I’m just a normal bloke!
My early memories… I don’t love acting; I did acting because I didn’t want to do some other things. When I got into drama school, they said, “We hope you realise there may be long periods where you’re out of work,” and I had to keep a straight face because that’s exactly what I had in mind. long periods of no work. that’s what I call glamour. It still gives me a thrill to walk around when everybody else is at work.
My days off… When I’m working I have to get up at 5am, so when I’m not I like to get up at 10am. I put on some John lee Hooker, shave, then go round to the café for a leisurely breakfast with two football pages. then I go to the bookshop for a browse. My significant others... When mary was growing up she’d say, “you wanted a boy, didn’t you?” I’d say, “no!’ and I really didn’t. I thought, let’s fill the house with women, as far as I’m concerned. but she thought I was keeping something from her. she’d occasionally sit down in front of a football game with me and say, “Do we like the red ones or the blue ones?” My new film, The Bookshop… I’ve read most of Penelope Fitzgerald’s books, including The Bookshop [about a middle-aged widow trying to start a bookshop in 1950s england], and I adore it. I was very pleased to be in the film adaptation, particularly when I had read the script, and having worked with [director] Isabel [Coixet] and emily [mortimer] before. my feeling is that it will be a wonderful film and that’s not PR – I say that because it’s true!
✢ the bookshop is released in cinemas on 29 June.