When I was at school when I was 16, I was in a quandary because I didn't know whether I wanted to join the army - I had this terrible desire to be a tank driver in the Royal Tank Regiment, genuinely - or whether I wanted to go to art college because half of me wanted to be in the army, and the other half of me wanted to be a surrealist.
I didn't know whether to join the army or go to art college.
Eccentricity is usually owned by middle-class and upper-class people. If you are working class and eccentric, then you're just mad.
If one wants to measure oneself by the facile accruement of awards, then I've done very well.
When you're doing a film, your agent and manager spend hours - days - talking about contractual obligations. If you turn up for work and ask for a peeled grape on top of foie gras but you don't get it, you can't get annoyed.
What character actors want to do is investigate new types of people and present them in all their idiosyncrasies, psychological complexities, and contradictory stupidities. That has been one of the great delights over our seven collaborations.
It doesn't bother me one iota that most of my career has been playing people who are not that - well, let's say that people wouldn't aspire to be like them.
In 1996, when I was being treated for leukaemia, at one point I had a vicious infection that was trying to claim me. Mercifully, due to love and expertise, I pulled through.
There's posh character actors. For God's sake, Olivier was one of the greatest character actors in the world. Hamlet, Shylock, Othello - Othello! Whether you like it or not.
I played Othello at RADA - blacked up. I didn't know it was going to be offensive now!
You're immortal, aren't you, until you get a little peek over the precipice. The thought of death...You're not supposed to start pondering it until you're old. And there's nothing like being told you've got a life-threatening disease to concentrate your mind on that.
When I was born, my dad was a scaffolder, and my mum worked in a chip shop. Then my mum taught herself how to be a hairdresser and ended up with her own salon; my dad became a postman and then a counter clerk. Our first house didn't have a bathroom.
I don't play the lottery, as I feel I have been really lucky in what I have been able to do in my life, but if I did win, it would be the usual things - helping out the people I love. I'd probably squander a few quid on all sorts of unnecessary crap!
I'm working class, and want people to know I'm not unintelligent and all the other cliches that come with it.