Jeremy Northam: Man of many faces, CNN (May 02, 2001)

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Jeremy Northam: Man of many faces, CNN (May 02, 2001)

Post  Marriela on Wed Jun 13, 2012 3:04 am

Jeremy Northam: Man of many faces

CNN, May 02, 2001|By Lori Blackman || CNN Showbiz Today Reports

"Jeremy Northam is one of those actors you have seen in many films, but you might have trouble pinpointing exactly what movies they were. Making your confusion more profound is the fact that he's versatile, tackling roles in period pieces, thrillers and epics.

This year, he attended the Sundance Film Festival with a film called "Enigma" and its two unlikely producers. He also has another, "The Golden Bowl," coming to the big screen. And though he may look the same in this pending film as he has in some others, he surely doesn't sound like the same fellow.

CNN caught up with Northam, 39, at Sundance, and talked about his new movies, European villains and accents.

CNN: One of the interesting things about this movie "Enigma" is that it is produced by Mick Jagger and Lorne Michaels. That's an interesting and unlikely duo.

Jeremy Northam: Well, Mick is an owner of an Enigma machine (a World War II German coding device). But I think he has always been interested in the subject matter. It is one of the stories and areas of history that I think have been known about and yet not really covered for many years.

CNN: Some people have drawn analogies between the Enigma machine and what we now know as the Internet. What is it about this story that gives it a contemporary feel?

Northam: Well, the man who doesn't figure into this film but (to) whose work we all owe a huge debt is Alan Turing, who was involved with the early code breaking. He was a brilliant mathematician whose work in this particular field gave birth to modern computing science.

CNN: You've done period pieces like "Emma," "The Winslow Boy" and "An Ideal Husband"; and you've made big studio films like "Mimic," "The Net" and "Amistad." What do you look for in roles?

Northam: I've ... always wanted to try to do lots of different things, and I feel very fortunate that that has happened. I don't want to play the same part endlessly. I think that happens with a lot of people because you find success and that's what people hire you for. But I don't want the same persona constantly. That is a double-edged thing: On the one hand it can bring you lots of different work, but on the other hand, people don't necessarily remember who you are from movie to movie.

CNN: Do you have a preference for a certain type film?

Northam: I'd like to do more contemporary stuff. "Happy, Texas" was one of the most contented jobs I've ever done. ... It wasn't a goofy comedy, it was a very heartfelt meaningful comedy and gave us many options and just made the experience a very good one. I would love more scripts of that kind, really. But they are fairly once in a blue moon, I suppose. I am interested in fine writing in the end. That will dictate the choices that one makes.

CNN: Does the fact that you are English mean you're often offered period pieces?

Northam: Yes, absolutely. Sometimes I feel that people feel that ... that's what English actors do.

CNN: You have another period piece out in theaters right now, "The Golden Bowl."

Northam: Yes. It's set in the early 20th century. It stars Nick Nolte as a billionaire -- a bit like Randolph Hearst -- who marries a young daughter to an Italian prince who has had an affair with her best friend, (played by) Uma Thurman. There is a rather complicated love quartet though the course of the film. It's an absolutely gorgeous ... film, and Uma Thurman gives, I think, the best performance of her career. I play an Italian prince with a ridiculous accent.

CNN: What kind of accent?

Northam: Well, an Italian accent, but it's really strange because in the Henry James novel (on which the film is based) he says he speaks English without a trace of an Italian accent -- which would be fine in the novel, but I think it would be rather odd on film. We'll see whether it works for people.""


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