Simon Callow

Paula Kerr ( 26 August 2015 )

As actor, director and author Simon Callow, 64, sets off with Felicity Kendal on a UK tour of classic Fifties comedy Chin-Chin, we find out how old he is in his head and if he acts his age

Reaction to turning 60?

It gets better. You say, ‘Right, that’s it’. You are never going to be young any more. You have peaked.

Best advice received? 

I was reading a story to a friend’s child, doing all the voices and getting excited by my acting, until she said, ‘Do it simpler’. That was very good advice.

Lazy days? 

I try to keep Sundays free. It’s nice when time stretches ahead and the minutes don’t matter.

Biggest fear?

 Losing my faculties.

Ever too old for new love?

Never! I fell in love last year.

Show-off or shy?

I was a terrific show-off as a child, demanding attention to a pathological degree.

Biggest age-related dilemma?

I have a big problem with my knees.

Decade you’re nostalgic for? 

The Eighties. I performed all Shakespeare’s sonnets, directed two plays and
a movie, wrote two books and played Mozart in Amadeus.

Home or away? 

Home – though it used to be away.

I did rather well quickly and made quite a bit of money. But, of course, I squandered it all – taking some gorgeous person to the south of France, or something.

What would surprise us?

People say they were intimidated when they met me and I can’t believe it. I seem immensely confident, but the truth is that I am just as messed up and confused as everyone else.

Exercised in the past ten years? 

I go to the gym four times a week.

Good self-image? 

Quite clearly, I’m not Brad Pitt, but I’m not Quasimodo, either. But when I was young, I felt myself to be really repellent.

Most prized possession?

A ring belonging to the Irish actor Micheál MacLiammóir.

Need to say sorry? 

To my paternal grandmother.

I tended to ignore her in favour of my more vivacious maternal grandmother.

Youth or now?

If youth only knew and if age only could! I’m fine as I am.

Preferred epitaph?

He made a contribution.

Verdict 

Your energy, enthusiasm and indomitable spirit belie your years. We’re going to put you at 49, the age at which you played to perfection the role of Edmund Tilney in the multi-award-winning
film Shakespeare in Love.

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