Bill Nighy on His Thrilling, Thrilling Oscar Campaign for ‘Living’

One side, Bill Nighy have a chance to meet Adam Sandler at a campaign event marking a real life highlight. This is the star of one of his all-time favorite movies, Drunk love, and the chance to tell him how much it means to him. On the other hand, the occasion also preceded a roundtable discussion with Sandler and the top contenders for this year’s best actor Oscar, including Brendan Fraser and Austin butler, which Nighy finds a bit, um, “terrible”. “It’s a strange situation, acting like a competitive sport,” Nighy said in our article. Golden boy interview (listen or read below). “Strange. But everyone knows the score.”

When Nighy is learning, sometimes you have to roll with it. After all, this moment makes you feel good—even with that occasional discomfort. Character actor who has been a part of major series like But the pirate of the Caribbean and Harry Potter as well as classic comedy Really love and Shaun of the dead, had a brilliant acting career mostly out of the limelight. He’s received rave reviews and the odd lead (usually on TV or on stage), and now this year has initiated a kind of industry reflection on all of that — a public recognition. realize how well Nighy has done in the long run.

The reason for all this appreciation — and the buzz surrounding a most likely Oscar nod — is Life, heartfelt remake of Akira Kurosawa’s 1952 classic Ikiru, moved to London by the writer in the 50’s Kazuo Ishiguro and director Oliver Hermanus. Nighy describes Mr. Williams, a soft-spoken Public Works employee who was completely shaken when he received a terminal diagnosis. The small-scale TV series approaches a kind of transcendence in this man’s perception of what makes life beautiful and worth living — and the portrayal is superbly executed, controlled in the main. Nighy’s body brought the story to depth.

“Even though it’s a sad story, you’ll feel better, inspired in some way,” Nighy said. “You watched something that brought you to humanity.”


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Vanity Fair: Live was a huge hit in the UK. Were you surprised by the length of time this movie went and how many people watched this movie, since it started out as a minor discovery in Sundance?

Bill Nighty: I don’t think anything could have prepared us for the depth of response and universal welcome this film received. I think we’re making a good movie. I know we have a great script from Kazuo Ishiguro, and I know it Stephen Woolley is one of the greatest British film producers of all time. But you never know. It’s a movie where no one carries a gun and no one goes topless. I offered to take my shirt off, but they told me to put it back on. [Laughs] Next time maybe. But yes, it is number one nationally. I found it very satisfying and very moving.

The roots of this project are with Ishiguro—and especially your participation in it. I believe his plan was to write this remake, even though it’s very personal, especially for you. What is one’s reaction to something like that, especially when it comes from one of the most famous writers of our time?

It’s hard to contain information when you first realize it’s happening. All I did was go to dinner with Stephen Woolley and his wife, Elizabeth Karlsen, Also a great producer. The other guests were Mr and Mrs Ishiguro. And at the end of dinner, he said, we know what your next movie is going to be. I thought he was joking, you know? A few weeks later, Stephen called and said this was his suggestion. That’s an amazing development as far as I’m concerned. I would never have imagined that something like this could happen, but then there’s a degree of apprehension because you don’t want to mess things up. This is such an opportunity. Turns out, even I have to admit, I didn’t mess it up.

You did not. It’s one of my favorite performances of you, and I think a lot of that comes down to how subtle it is. Starting from this character’s voice and soft-spoken personality, I believe you don’t even know how you’re going to approach that character until you start filming, right?


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