The Queen is one of the best reviewed movies of the year. Did you expect that?
"Well, I mean I knew it was going to be good because Id done a film about four years before with the same people same director, same writer where I played Blair as well called The Deal which was just shown in Britain on TV. I knew that we got that right so hopefully wed get this right. But we had no idea that it was going to have the affect it had, certainly in Britain. We thought itd divide audiences in Britain a lot more and in fact the whole of Britain has gotten behind this movie. Its the same now in America. People now are loving the film. Its a pleasant shock, but its a shock nonetheless."
What does Tony Blair think? Have you heard anything from his people?
" Well no, not yet, not officially. I get a few strange-looking people passing my house every No I dont (laughing). I hope hed like it. Im sure he would. I think he comes out of it very sympathetically. Its about the time when he was at his most popular. Its nice to remind people there was a time when Tony Blair was popular."
Did you just study tapes on him? You didnt have any face time with him to get into character.
" No, its not something that he or the Royal Family wanted to be officially associated with in any way. So it was just a matter of watching video footage and listening to him and reading about him, and all that kind of stuff. And talking to people about him."
What was the most difficult thing for you to capture about playing Tony Blair?
" Wow. Just to have the kind of gravitas of a Prime Minister the same time as having the kind of youthful energy that he had when he came into power in 97. So getting the combination of that and hoping the people would accept me as him and accept me as Prime Minister because I think I look about 12 in the film."
Do you think he handled the situation correctly or did the Queen handle it correctly or was it a combination of the two?
" Well I think they both handled things in the way that they were sort of trained to do it. The Queen is part of a tradition and a way of doing things, and she knew no different at the time. In the same way, Blair came along I suppose the Royal Family represented a much older, traditional way of looking at Britain. Blair represented a much more American-influenced way of handling things. So the two of them clashed because they both had their very particular ways of doing things."
You could understand how Blair handled it?
"I think so, yeah. I think he started as the story went on Blair starts to understand why the Queen is reacting the way she does. I think thats why they managed to resolve it in the end."
Youve also got Blood Diamond coming up.
"Yeah, yeah, its really exciting. I play a British diamond dealer that Leonardo DiCaprio comes to to try and sell some diamonds."
That films getting a little weird buzz about it because some are saying its going to put down the diamond industry. Whats your take on that issue?
"I dont think it in any way tries to put down the diamond industry. I think it tries to just make people aware that they need to be aware of where certain things come from things that they pay for, things that they buy, where the money goes, and the affect it has on people around the world. If theres nothing shady about peoples business, then theyve got nothing to worry about, have they?"
Exactly. Whats it feel like to be in two movies that have Oscar buzz?
Its extraordinary, you know? Its really exciting. Its fantastic. (Laughing). Next year Im going to go for three at the same time instead of two. Why stop at two?
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