Interviews - Robert Boulton
What Shakespeare role (which you haven't played) would you love to do?
Lady Macbeth. I've had a gender-switched production of "Macbeth" running around my head for a couple of years.
Did you have any experience with Timon of Athens before this project?
For my sins, no; I thought Timon was the meerkat from "The Lion King".
How do you feel about your role? Do you like your character? Was it easy to relate to your character's motives and intentions?
I feel like a man unable to understand the motivations of those throwing out orders above me yet slavishly beholden to their status - but that's enough about the relationship between actor and director. I don't particularly like my character but I don't think that's a bad thing. Titus doesn't have a whole lot of backbone but that's because he exists in a society where the boundaries of class are far more rigid than we are familiar with today. What helped was giving him a life that he cares about outside of the money that he's made to collect - to make him above the financial squabbles of the rich master that he serves.
You're very experienced in film acting. How difficult is translating such a theatrical medium as Shakespeare in the controlled environment of film?
I've also worked a lot in theatre and I think I'm still more at home on stage, so grasping the language comes easily enough. The difficulty comes with controlling your more overtly theatrical instincts. Working with Max helped as he's very specific with which gestures and inflections he wants in scenes - probably stemming form his musicality. He allows you to work with the theatrical language but teaches you to condense your intentions and energy down to work on screen.
You work as a photographer with your own company, as well as an actor. How visually inspired do you get on film sets? Do you obsess about what the camera shot looks like, even when just acting?
I don't get more inspired on set than other places, I think inspiration comes from people more than it does places. I used to constantly obsess, I was the worst, but I hope I'm getting better. There's a book by Edward de Bono called "Six Thinking Hats" which is about using different modes of thinking to solve problems whilst working on projects. I just try to realize that that hat isn't mine to wear, other people wear it a hell of a lot better than me.
You are also a carpenter. What piece of set or prop would you want to make yourself?
A wooden horse for Declan.
Have you ever filmed abroad before?
Only commercial work. I did a commercial for a chain of electrical stores in Milan and some commercials for Opel/Vauxhall in Madrid.
What is it like being directed by Maximianno Cobra?
Like being seduced by a musical, mysterious and Mediterranean Boris Karloff.
You are a director yourself, is it challenging having been on the other end of the spectrum, to following someone else's vision?
It's lovely. I love not having to think so much about the overall vision of the project. At the end of the day it's ridiculous and mad, the things that we sometimes get to do in this world, so I try and learn from and enjoy every experience as much as I can. Film making is about collaboration at it's core. Right now my theatre company is producing our play "Snowflakes" and we're asking people to jump on board with our artistic vision and with "Misanthropos" I did the same with Max. That's the job; I'd be a hypocrite to not jump on board.
Lastly, what will happen to your character after? Do you feel there is hope for your character/for the world, by the end of the film?
Titus, Caphis and Hortensius form a band called "The Debt Collectors", touring Greece with anti-establishment, fiscally responsible, Punk Rock.