Ever quotable Bill Nighy | Inquirer Entertainment
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Ever quotable Bill Nighy

By: - Columnist
/ 02:14 AM September 27, 2014

NIGHY. British wit and dry humor. ----------ruben-nighy1 photo by RUBEN V. NEPALES

NIGHY. British wit and dry humor.  RUBEN V. NEPALES

LOS ANGELES—“I have a Snickers bar abuse problem.” “No sandwiches were hurt during the making of this movie.” “I don’t particularly want to die, but I really don’t want to be young. I wasn’t good at being young.” Bill Nighy’s quips, reflecting his British wit and dry humor, made for one amusing recent morning. What made the actor’s bon mots even more delightful was that he kept a straight face as he dished them.

Bill, for decades one of the finest British stage and film actors, broke through, especially in the American film scene, with his roles in such movies as “Love Actually,” the “Pirates of the Caribbean” installments and “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel.”


The 64-year-old thespian costars in director Matthew Warchus and writer Stephen Beresford’s “Pride,” so far one of the best-reviewed British films this year and a hit, as well. The movie depicts the true story of the gay and lesbian community’s support for the miners’ strike in Wales in 1984. Excerpts of our interview with Bill:


What surprised you about the story of “Pride”?

What’s shocking is that 30 years ago, a national newspaper in Great Britain could describe the gay community as the slime of society, and it was perfectly acceptable and nobody batted an eyelid. It makes me proud that in the 30 years since then, such progress has been made in my country.

Now, I can stand in a London Town Hall and see two of my (male) friends get married, hold hands in a public place and declare themselves to one another.

Were you familiar with the gay support of the striking mineworkers?

I had never heard the story until I read the script. So, to treat those men and women with respect and dignity was deeply refreshing. If my grandchildren ask me which developments in my lifetime I am most proud of to be around for, the emancipation of gay men and women would be one of them.

You looked like an expert in making sandwiches in one scene.


No sandwiches were hurt during the making of this movie—all of them got eaten. It was a low-budget movie, and the crew was desperate, frankly. We didn’t even get through a lot of sandwiches because we only shot the scene twice.

What kind of research did you do for this role?

Before the shooting began, I went to Wales, where these events took place. I went into pubs with my iPhone. I would say to different men, “Would you come into the car park and speak into my phone?”—which was a funky request. I ended up with about eight or nine Welsh voices on my phone.

My concern was, I was going to be working with a lot of Welsh people. I was going to be working in Wales. It was important that my accent be as good as I could get.

You’ve played a vampire, a German soldier, a rocker and many other roles. In which suit are you most comfortable?

The one I am wearing right now is brand-new. I actually paid for this suit, because my daughter got married on Sunday.

Do you consider yourself a dandy?

No, I never felt like a dandy. I buy a suit because it has a better shape than I am.

How do you stay fit?

I do a little bit of exercise. I do a bit of lifting heavy things, but nothing cosmetic. Don’t panic—I fool around with a very nice man who trains me. That is a luxury.

I have a Snickers bar abuse problem. I am on Day Two of no sugar, but who knows how long that’s going to last.

One of the greatest things that ever happened to me was that I gave up smoking. If I ever get reincarnated, never put me near a cigarette. I smoked for England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales. I smoked passionately, like a slave, a fool.

After you turned 50, you suddenly became a Hollywood star, as well. How was that shift in your career?

There was definitely a shift in my career and, therefore, in my life. One of the beautiful things was that I stopped having to audition for things. If you ask any actor which part of their job they would like to be removed, it’s auditioning.

Richard Curtis (director) putting me in “Love Actually” changed the way I go to work. It made a lot of things possible, because I became visible in North America. Therefore, I became more useful and “cast-able.”

How have you changed since you were a young man and would you like to be young again?

I don’t particularly want to die, but I really don’t want to be young. I wasn’t good at being young.  I overreacted to everything. I was always anxious about something, so I much prefer this (being mature). There are some things I’d like to change—when I shave in the morning (and look in the mirror), it’s always a shock. But, I am much better at this than when I was 23.

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TAGS: Bill Nighy, Love Actually, movie, pride

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