HFPA in Conversation: Tobias Menzies and Morally Complex Characters

by Kirpi Uimonen Ballesteros July 29, 2020
Actor Tobias Menzies, Golden Globe nominee

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Twice Golden Globe nominee Tobias Menzies discovered acting through his mother. “My mom has always been an avid theatergoer. She did some acting when she was young before I was born. It’s always been a great passion of hers. And it’s really through her that I saw a lot of theater as a young person growing up.” Menzies told HFPA journalist Margaret Gardiner.

He saw the best theatre plays in London in the ’80s and early ’90s. “I didn’t do a huge amount of acting at school. I actually got into it a little bit later once I’d left school. And initially, I was very interested in people, companies that were making their own work, like Complicité, Shared Experience, Cheek by Jowl, that kind of flowering of visual, physical theater that was going on then. I thought I wanted to go to the École Internationale de Théâtre Jacques Lecoq in Paris and form my own company and do my own shows which hasn’t really worked out very well because I haven’t really done that.”

But he has been a successful actor in movies like Atonement, Casino Royale, Underworld: Blood Wars and on TV shows such as Rome, Catastrophe, Game Of Thrones, Outlander, and The Terror. “I guess I am a little bit drawn to characters that are maybe morally complex, they seem to me more interesting to play.”

He is currently portraying his royal highness Prince Philip on Netflix’s The Crown. Is it more challenging portraying someone who’s so well known?
“Yes certainly, there’s a whole technical challenge of sounding like them and moving like them, which I hadn’t done before. But that was really interesting and I really enjoyed that challenge and obviously picking up from a previous cast so we had a lot to draw on.”

Listen to the podcast and hear what is the origin of his name; why he thinks he might be his parents' favorite son; what is the appeal of being on stage for him; how his dance background helps him with acting; what kind of memories he has from playing Brutus on Rome; why going to Comic-Con was pivotal for him to realize how passionate Outlander followers are; how was his first experience at the Golden Globes and why he was fascinated by Leonardo DiCaprio; what are his thoughts about fame; why equal representation in front of the camera is important for him; how he ended up living for a month with Helena Bonham Carter; when he returned to his flat; what he has been doing during the Covid-19 quarantine; what kind of memories he has of Princess Diana; how he describes his final season on The Crown; why he is eternally grateful to Sharon Horgan; and what are his thoughts about aging.