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The Director
The Playwright
The  Actors
Stephen Rea, Francesca Annis, Daniel Craig

Stephen Rea


There are no rules over how you approach a role.
 
In this case there were some videotapes of old film of Niels Bohr, and I watched those. They were helpful and interesting in some way, but there are all sorts of things that Michael Frayn imagined for Bohr that aren't revealed in the tapes...in the end, the truth is I'm playing Niels Bohr as realized by the playwright.

Being perfectly honest, doing research for the part wouldn't mean anything to me.

When you're playing the part of a saxophone or a trumpet player, both of which I have done, it would be nice to be able to play like John Coltrane, but you can't. Your job is to do something else. And I'm not sure what it is, but I don't think I'd be acting Niels Bohr any better if I went and studied physics for five years.

What's interesting about Bohr is that he's very human and warm, and a sensitive man. So it's as much to get that, as it is to get the whole background of physics.
 

Stephen Rea
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Stephen Rea

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Francesca Annis


Michael Frayn [the playwright] has used Margrethe brilliantly...

People are very opinionated as to what they think went on between Bohr and Heisenberg, and Frayn has used Margrethe as the voice of these different people at different times in the play. It comes through her. She really confronts Heisenberg... asking questions, voicing cynical attitudes and ideas.

You can't just wonder off in your mind... you follow the argument all the time.

Margrethe was known for being extremely courteous and polite. So it enables you to be able to sit there smiling, and listening to someone while your internal thoughts are being heard by the audience saying, you know, my god, this guy is an idiot.

And sometimes while you're just sitting there, not saying anything, you have to concentrate all the time because the other actors are relying on you to be very intensely concentrating.

There was a lot to do everyday, I think we've had 15 days shooting time which is very short.

But you click into it... the director keeps you and the set very focused. It's quite intense, but you haven't got people splitting off like particles -- now I'm getting into science terminology -- splitting off like particles into different areas.
 

Francesca Annis
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Francesca Annis

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Daniel Craig


It's just deep, quite heavy conversation. It's very difficult to say whether we created realistic conversation, because we filmed this, and this was originally a theater piece. Theater language can be very conversational, but the tendency is to heighten it because it needs to be heard by an awful lot more people.

It's tricky to adapt something from the stage to the screen, but Michael Frayn's writing is so good that I think it transfers well.

Heisenberg's a mixed up kid.

He's a very bright, intelligent scientist and working maybe on an atomic bomb in Germany for the Nazis during the Second World War. But we don't know the full story, we'll never know his true intention... and that's what the debate between the two of them is about.
 

Daniel Craig
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Daniel Craig

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