Clive Owen: An actor who puts art above money

You never know where you’ll see Clive Owen next.

He might be best known for portraying tough guys not afraid to get their hands dirty in films such as “Children of Men,” “Sin City” and “I’ll Sleep When I’m Dead.” But the ruggedly handsome actor has also played the sensitive father in movies such as “The Boys Are Back” and his latest, in limited release now, “Trust.” He’s been leading man in more traditional thrillers “The International” and “Duplicity.” He can suit up in period costume, as he proved in “King Arthur” and “Elizabeth: The Golden Age.” And he got an Oscar nomination for playing the foul-mouthed dermatologist Larry in the gripping emotional drama “Closer.”

He might have been typecast from the get-go. He first came to Hollywood’s attention, after a successful run on British television, with Mike Hodges’ film “Croupier,” in which he played the title character, an aspiring novelist whose job at a casino introduces him to the underworld. It didn’t take long for him to become — in the public’s mind, at least — the leading candidate for the new James Bond.Perhaps it’s for the best that Daniel Craig became the first blond Bond, and Owen escaped being thought of only as the smooth rogue. “Sometimes in the movie game, they’re a bit narrow in that way. If something has been successful, they want to repeat the success,” he says with a laugh. “It’s something I’ve really consciously avoided.”

He says he comes by his love of variety partly through the three years he spent training in theater, tackling a wide range of the repertoire, at the legendary Royal Academy of Dramatic Art. It’s why he abandoned the successful Brit TV series “Chancer” at the height of its success. “I was getting worried. I was getting offered a lot of parts that were that kind of thing, mainstream TV,” he explains. “I just felt that wasn’t the direction I wanted to go in.”

Theater is also how he discovered his vocation. “I did one school play and I knew that was the thing I wanted to do,” he says simply. “It was weird.”

He could make more money signing on only to big-budget Hollywood blockbusters. But Owen doesn’t even live in California. “No, I love London. My family’s very settled there, the kids are very settled at school,” he says. “I learned a long time ago I’m not one of those actors who can do something and not believe in it. I’m not cut out for it. I’ve got to put myself in there. I make a very good living, I don’t need more than I’ve got.” He concludes, “I’ve considered success getting the opportunity to work with really good people, and to me, that’s where the real fun is.” He reads scripts and responds to what he likes.

Right now, he’s in San Francisco shooting an HBO film about Ernest Hemingway and his third wife, war correspondent Martha Gellhorn, who’s being played by Nicole Kidman. Owen took four months off to do nothing but read the novelist’s work and prepare for the role.

How does it feel for such a focused actor concerned most with making art to have become one of the film world’s most coveted sex symbols? “If I answered that question, I’d worry about myself. I’m an actor. The rest of it is not to be taken too seriously,” he says, without a knowing chuckle or a trace of false modesty.

Source: Washington Examiner

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

five × four =