Arts Q&A: Actor Stuart Graham on Queen, Gorillaz and writer David Mitchell
1. When did you think about a career in acting and what were your first steps into it? At school. I think we ask a lot of young teenagers in this country about making significant life choices. When faced with that question myself I thought: “Well, if you’re asking me to choose something I want to do for the rest of my life, I better pick something I love.” At that time, I loved acting. Happily, I still do.
2. Best gigs you’ve been to? Queen, The Works Tour at the RDS, Dublin, 1984; Gorillaz in Lucca, Italy, 2018 and U2/Red Hot Chilli Peppers and Coldplay at Slane, 2001.
3. Fantasy wedding/birthday party band? Historically, Queen. I don’t mean to be disrespectful to either Brian May or Roger Taylor but for me the band died with Freddie Mercury. Currently, probably The Rolling Stones, Arctic Monkeys, Gorillaz or Foo Fighters… can it be a weekend-long party?
4. The record you’d take to a desert island? Queen's Greatest Hits.
5. And the book? The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet by David Mitchell.
6. Top three films? Firstly, Butch Cassidy And The Sundance Kid because of Newman and Redford. Secondly, Hunger. I may be biased, because I was in it, but I think Steve McQueen’s film is a masterpiece. There’s about another 50 films I enjoy, but couldn't single them out.
7. Worst film you’ve seen? I know how much work goes into making a film, even a bad film, and I don’t find it easy to dismiss that work. That being said, I watched The Meg last week and it was pure dung.
8. Favourite authors? David Mitchell, John Irving, Carl Hiassen, Colin Bateman and Stuart Neville.
9. Sport you most enjoy and top team? I’ve been a Manchester United fan since I was a small child. Not easy at the minute, but after the Ferguson years it would be churlish to moan. I’m also a fanatical golfer.
10. Ideal holiday destination? The Amalfi Coast.
11. Pet hate? Currently top of the list are people who watch TV on their devices in public spaces without headphones. Music doesn’t really bother me, but having to listen to Masterchef on the train home makes me want to go full Victor Meldrew.
12. What’s your favourite:
Dinner? Dessert? Drink?
I’ll answer all three by telling you that the best meal I’ve ever had was in the Chateau Eza in southern France. Eight courses, every single one of which was absolutely sublime.
13. Who is your best friend and how do you know each other? The Irish actor and artist Úna Kavanagh. We met doing a theatre workshop in Serbia seven years ago and she’s been my best friend ever since.
14. Is there a God? Personally, I’m an atheist. However, I would never seek to try and undermine someone else’s belief in whichever god they worship. There is no doubt that religion can help people with their everyday lives. My issue with religion, any religion, is when it is used to fuel intolerance or hatred towards anything outside the bounds of its own belief system.
:: Stuart Graham stars in Jimmy Ellis: Home Again which will be shown at this year’s Belfast Titanic Maritime Festival on May 25 and 26 at Titanic Belfast’s Andrews Gallery. See tickets.titanicbelfast.com/eventtimes/jimmyellis