YOUR interview with Mark Gatiss

Posted on 12 October 2012.

Posted in: Main Stage

YOUR interview with Mark Gatiss

We gave our online followers the opportunity to ask Mark Gatiss, King Charles I in our next production 55 Days, any questions they wanted. Answers came in by the dozens and we whittled it down to our favourite 10 (or maybe 12…).

Thank you to everyone who sent them in. Apologies to those we couldn’t publish – there was such an incredible variety you made the selection process very difficult! Hopefully we’ll be welcoming you to Hampstead Theatre soon for 55 Days which opens on 18 October. We’d also like to take this opportunity to say a huge thank you to Mark.

What do you think about Charles I? Do you like him as a person? What do you like in him and what do you dislike? @Res_controversa

Charles has always fascinated me – though I am firmly on Cromwell’s side! I find Charles’ certainty amazing and not a little frightening. The bottom line of his argument was ‘But I am King.’ To be that sure of yourself, that fanatical really, is disturbing. He was arrogant, duplicitous and tyrannical but he knew his own mind.

Do you think in the end he wanted to die? BlessedMatryrCharles? @aileach34

I do, yes. I think whatever doubts he harboured, whatever anxieties got to him in the long months of captivity, he eventually reached a kind of serenity. A state of grace in which he knew he had to die for his beliefs. And the manner of his death is genuinely admirable. Dignity all the way.

Apart from Charles I, which King/Queen in British history would you like to play? @katri_leikola

King John. Richard II (though I’m too old now!) Basically all the slippery ones! Maybe Charles II in the sequel… Queens are a different matter. Does Matilda count?

What’s been the biggest challenge of your career so far? @SarahNutland

55 Days must come close. My first King and a formidable challenge to make Charles, to some extent, likeable and pitiable. In terms of man-hours, sleepless nights and responsibility, though, it’s definitely Sherlock!

Which Sherlock episode was your favourite that you and Steven created? @hmmSHERLOCK

A Scandal in Belgravia by a mile. It’s such a beautiful piece of work. It honours the original story but extrapolates amazing things from it. It’s funny, weird, scary, thrilling and, ultimately, very moving.

How long does it take to film a series of Sherlock and is it fun on set? @Mjeshep

It takes about three to four months to film with months of writing and preparation before that. It’s often great fun on set but the pressure of filming three films in that time mean it’s never not challenging!

Who is the more emotionally vulnerable/dependent in the relationship between John Watson and Sherlock Holmes? @LithiumFlower

Clearly John Watson. He was a damaged war veteran drifting without purpose when he met Sherlock Holmes. John is fiercely loyal to his friend but can be very wounded by Sherlock’s lack of feeling. By contrast, Sherlock is a man who believes caring is not an advantage. But slowly, slowly, John is making him more human.

Excluding all Sherlock Holmes … All time favourite book? @Hollys05

Great Expectations! I’m mad about Dickens and this is, I think, his masterpiece. I also passionately love A Christmas Carol and read it every year! I also love Robert Graves’ Claudius books and have recently discovered Graham Greene. Wow!

We know you love the horror genre, but has any horror film you’ve watched ever genuinely frightened you? @EzmondTutu

When I first saw The Haunting (1963) I thought I’d die of fear! It takes quite a bit to scare me these days. Ringu, of course, did! I can’t bear torture porn as it sickens, not scares. But I LOVE to be genuinely frightened. It’s such fun!

If you had to give up one forever, which would u choose: performing or writing? And why? @AurieLisbon

I’d rather not, thanks! I’ve been blessed with being allowed to do what I always wanted to do: write and perform. They compliment each other very nicely and I use different ‘muscles’ for both.

Great to have the opportunity to speak to you, Mark! Can you recommend your favourite places (,park,shop,restaurant..) in London? :) – HS on our website

The National Portrait Gallery. Highgate Cemetery. Pasha, Upper Street (favourite restaurant). St. James’ Park. Selfridges! St Paul’s Cathedral. The garden of St. Paul’s church. Covent Garden. Soho in the early morning. The Post Office Tower (my favourite building in London).

If a real Time Lord offered you the chance to go anywhere (& any time) you wanted, where would you go and why? @EmParisx

Having always been obsessed with the past, I now would definitely go into the future! I’d love to know if we make it. And what the world might be like 100, 200, 1,000 years hence. Thrilling! Past-wise: The Civil Wars, definitely. Edwardian England. But remember what the late Gore Vidal said to anyone who thought the past was a better place. “One word: DENTISTRY”

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