Interviewed at length by Kate Kellaway for The Observer newspaper (March 17) in London, Whishaw, who is starring in John Logan’s new play Peter and Alice (opposite Dame Judi ‘M’ Dench), spoke at one point about his role in Skyfall.
John Logan, of course, was part of the highly talented screenwriting trio behind the latest 007 adventure and helped refine the character of the new ‘Q’. According to Kellaway, although he is no computer boffin himself, Whishaw is hopeful, based on what he called ‘tiny teasers’ from John Logan, that in the next James Bond film he will be released from ‘that horrible bunker’ and ‘go wherever the action is happening’.
Whishaw also spoke in some detail about his wider acting career, the people who have especially inspired him, and his admiration in particular for Dame Judi Dench and her acting technique. At one point, Whishaw revealed that he has just been moving house: ‘While I was clearing I came upon, in a big old box of old rubbish, a VHS cassette my Grandad made for me in 1995 of a South Bank Show about Judi Dench’. He said he remembered watching it and its ‘magical’ effect precisely because: ‘I couldn’t see how she was doing it’.
And now there was the added satisfaction of working alongside her on the stage in London: ‘What I love most about Judi is her playfulness and lightness. You never feel anguished – as you sometimes can in rehearsals when you feel you are never going to get there. She is such a warm, loving person – but in an unforced way. Same with her acting – nothing effortful’.
Whishaw also spoke about his admiration for the actor Michael Gambon, who played his father in the 2008 film version of Brideshead Revisited. According to Whishaw, Gambon (who was once considered for the role of James Bond in the 1960s), has access to a particular idiosyncratic quality in his acting.
When it comes to his life away from the world of film and theatre, the new ‘Q’ also revealed to Kellaway that photography has taken him over: ‘I am obsessed. It is my new thing and it is really addictive’. He said he has been ‘buying up old cameras. The oldest is probably from 1980’.
Whishaw will be in very good company with this hobby. It is not widely known that the EON Producer Michael G. Wilson is also a major collector of old photographs and is a leading expert on early camera technology. Wilson is also very keen to encourage new photographers, and gave some photography students special access to the Skyfall sets.