Ken-Friends Interview

Kenがメンバーからのインタビューに答えてくれたものです。  -2004.12.16-

Q: On the subject of favorite films - Do you have a specific favorite, and is there a film or genre that you would consider a guilty pleasure?

KB: Favourite Films - a wonderful impossible question. But for the record I never tire of watching "Black Narcissus(邦題:黒水仙)", "Manhattan(邦題:マンハッタン)", "Dog Day Afternoon(邦題:狼たちの午後)", and in recent years I have enjoyed "House of Mirth" and "Age of Innocence(邦題:エイジ・オブ・イノセンス汚れなき情事)". Throw in "Raging Bull(邦題:レイジング・ブル)" and "Les Enfant De Paradise(邦題:天井桟敷の人々)" and you'd have a great weekend. Guilty pleasure genres - Thrillers, with plots so full of holes that you want to shout at the screen.

Q: Of all of the places you've traveled to, which is your favorite and which has left the biggest impression on you?

KB: Favourite Places. Venice as a city never disappoints. I enjoy all literature and film attached to it. Eerie and haunting, but best to leave after 3 magical days - a thrill to film in.Places that leave a different and lasting impression - Los Alamos, where the nuclear bomb was developed. A fascinating community at a moment in history of such awesome tension and change. The atmosphere today is still macabrely intoxicating.

Q: What other Shakespearean projects do you wish to do in the next year or two?

KB: As for some time I hope to shoot "As You Like It" - as always, it is a question of finance, casting and the right creative circumstances. I feel we are very close to finding the right combination, and I have a screenplay adaptation that people seem to like. Please keep everything crossed.

Q: Have you ever done community theatre, and if not would you consider it one day?

KB: Our production of "Coriolanus" in 1992 involved some 50 local residents who did a superb job of capturing some of the mob hysteria in that play. For the right project, involving a larger community to whom and for whom it may speak is a very exciting prospect.

Q: How did "Schneider's 2nd Stage" get its title?

KB: SCHNEIDER'S 2nd STAGE refers to a phase within the development of a schizophrenic personality. For details pursue the medical and psychiatric dictionaries.

Q: If you could remake any old movie which one would you choose, why, who would you cast, what would you change to make it uniquely yours?

KB: I have thought about re-making "Night of the Demon" - a 1957 movie starring Dana Andrews. It is itself on adaptation of the M.R. James story "Casting the Runes". I think I would change the title to "The Time Allowed" and make it contemporary with several more deaths!

Q: I enjoyed your short film "Listening" even more the second time I saw it. I wondered if you deliberately chose the music of a deaf composer, Beethoven, to provide one of the most poignant moments for your deaf protagonist?

KB: Beethoven and the piece of his music we played were chosen for "Listening" exactly because the composer produced it after he had become completely deaf.

Q: Which non-Shakespearean classic playwright/role would you most like to do on stage? I would love to know a comedy role and a dramatic role you would most like to perform.

KB: I always had a hankering to play Chekhov's "Ivanov", but am now too old. Several plans to do it over the years came to nothing.Another comic part I missed, is Jack Absolute in "The Rivals" and indeed Rover in "Wild Oats".Of the dramatic roles, I've already been very spoiled, but I hope one day that Lear and Macbeth might be on my dance card.

Q: Do you think that modernized Shakespeare productions like Romeo + Juliet really give young audiences a greater appreciation for Shakespeare?

KB: I think modernized productions breath enthusiasm and life through the plays, stop many people being intimidated by them and therefore allow theaudience to enjoy and understand as much or as little as they like. They encourage critical debate, arouse passions. They keep the work alive, contentious, and provocative.

Q: In your career you've taken various approaches to adapting Shakespeare to film - faithfulness to the setting of the play (HV), putting American actors in supporting roles (MAAN), creating a world as full as possible for the text (Hamlet), "translating" the text into modern songs (LLL). Which do you think was most successful, and which most fulfilling for you?

KB: With each Shakespeare film the attempt has been to challenge and develop the ways of presenting the plays in this medium, and tailor that conception, presentation, what you will, to the demands of that particular play, and the time itself. Of course one is hopefully developing as an artist and you arrive at the process, as the sociologists might say 'in the current state of knowledge' - whatever that might be.I don't and can't compare the films. The intent remains the same, to continue making them, to continue experimenting with the means by which the plays riches can be released to an even greater extent.

Q: If you could portray any character from literature, which would it be and why?

KB: Once again there was a chance at one stage to have played Samuel Pepys on screen. It didn't come to pass I find him an utterly fascinating man - funny, cruel, intelligent, vain, kind, insensitive and excruciatingly honest about himself. And he's not even fictional.

Q: If you could choose any other profession, other than acting/directing/screen-writing, what would it be and why?

KB: If not this profession, professional sport - just theatre of a different kind, and with many of the attendant mental and emotional challenges.

Q: How would you like fans to approach you? Do you mind autograph and/or picture requests?

KB: Fans almost always seem to have approached me in the same way - politely and with consideration - as I hope I do them. There is no etiquette other than the normal human ones of trying to be kind, both ways round. Any autograph/picture request is fine and if I have time - not always the case with a performance or appointment waiting - I will happily comply, and if not, I'll hopefully explain why.

Q: Do you choose the charities you support or do they choose you? Do you have a favorite? Or is one more needy than others at this point?

KB: The support of charities is affected by personal experience, one's wider interests, and the sense of where one can be most helpful and effective.All our needy. All deserve help. It's always impossible to do everything one would wish to - it's always important to try.

Q: I am very passionate about acting and I want to be successful, but I don't know if I'm any good. Where can I get some direction to a more successful acting career?
KB: If you're passionate about acting but you don't know if you're any good - practice.Join a drama group; find out where you can audition for plays. Experience the whole thing, being judged, rejection, performance - seek out the advice in such groups of those that you admire. Ask their opinion, be brave enough to properly consider it and weigh up whether it affects you in any profound way. Keep asking yourself whether you enjoy it. Watch as much acting as you can and start to develop your own sense of whether you're good enough. And be honest with the response. A lot of times the direction you seek to a more successful career in acting, professional or amateur, has to start with you.

Q: How do you like the "authentic" performances in Shakespeare's Globe? Have you ever considered performing there yourself?

KB: I am a huge admirer of Mark Rylance's work both as performer and Producer. I think he has done a superb job at the Globe and the 'authentic' performances are quite fascinating and an invaluable contribution to our understanding of Shakespeare. Mark has been kind enough to ask me to perform there, but other commitments have made it impossible under his tenure as artistic director.

Q: What music are you listening to currently? At home, in the car or, on location? Last concert you went to???

KB: I am currently listening to Mozart, Mozart, and Mozart. Oh and Tom Waits latest CD.

Q: You have portrayed some great historical figures on the big and small screen, Henry V, Reinhard Heydrich, Shackleton, and now President Roosevelt. Is there any historical figure that you haven't portrayed that you would love to play without any hesitation?

KB: Pepy's the historical figure, and the literary figure? - A dog called Ruslan, in a beautiful Russian novel called "Faithful Ruslan", read it and weep.

Q: Have any costumes complicated a performance for you or influenced the way you portrayed a character?

KB: The costume for WILD WILD WEST very much complicated the lower half of my body. Bolted into a box, with legs squashed underneath for 20 minutes at a time affects everything, voice, body and the capacity to visit the loo quickly.

Q: Are there any plans to put together all your short films on DVD?

KB: There are hopes to put all the short films on DVD, but as with all movies short and long, the paper chase of determining who owns the rights after a number of years have passed, is time consuming and often costly. We are working on it.

Q: How do you react when someone from your audience tells you how important your work was to them/how it changed their lives?

KB: I am astonished, humbled, usually overwhelmed, but mostly very deeply touched when someone tells me how important a piece of work has been to them. Their reaction is just as important to me. They complete our work. You complete our work and without that dialogue between us, we as artists are truly impoverished. In my own life, I always want to tell someone when their work has moved me, mostly because I have learned - often through the Ken-Friends - what an inspiring and wonderful thing it can be to be in receipt of generous appreciation.