Michael Xavier

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Shirt by PAUL SMITH.

If you could watch the first ever performance of any play, which would you pick?
Macbeth in 1605. I love the play and would love to have seen the first audience reaction to it.

What’s the strangest thing you’ve ever seen going on in an audience while performing?
A lady tonight having the audacity to film me whilst I was half naked on a huge tablet device. Once I covered up, the filming stopped!

As a child, what do you remember wanting to be when you ‘grew up’?
At first I wanted to be an actor, then a policeman, then an astronaut, then an actor again.

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Shirt & blazer by PAUL SMITH.

If you had the option, which of these three Billy Wilder films would you want to adapt next (and what character would you play): Some Like It Hot, Sabrina, or Double Indemnity?
It’s got to be Some Like It Hot! One of the greatest comedies of all time and I’d love to play either part!

Does any song from your career stick out as the most difficult to learn/perform? 
Sunset Boulevard. It’s in 5/8 which means it’s hard to count, it’s got very similar words to the chorus (“Sunset Boulevard …blank… Boulevard”) and I’m currently having to climb out of a swimming pool, dry myself with a towel, put on a dressing gown, take off my wet trunks, pour myself a drink and put on a pair of shades all whilst singing the number. The second hardest is ‘The Pasta Song’ from Love Story (literally cooking a pasta dish whilst singing it with Emma Williams). Third hardest: ‘Hello Little Girl’ from Into The Woods. Singing it (Sondheim crunchy accompaniment) whilst doing pull ups!

If you had to pick one television show to watch for a week straight what would you pick?
Breaking Bad. Best TV series ever made!

Who do you think would have had a more entertaining Twitter account: Oscar Wilde or Truman Capote?
Oscar Wilde for sure. His sense of humour was just brilliant!!

What was your first non-acting job?
I had a Sunday paper round as a kid. Getting up in the freezing winter to cycle around Liverpool on my bike was both grounding and character-building. I can still feel the cold of my handlebars!

If you could know everything about a certain historical event what would you pick?
I’d love to have been there the first time someone discovered how to light a fire!

Would you rather be able to breath underwater or speak another language?
Breathe underwater of course! I could learn a language. Can’t learn how to be super-human!

Sunset Boulevard was remarked at the time to be a depiction of “Hollywood at its worst, told by Hollywood at its best”. Do you have any other favourite films about films/filmmakers or plays about plays?
Not sure it counts as it’s about a composer but I LOVE Amadeus (both the play and the film)!

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Jumper by PAUL SMITH.

What in hindsight is the most unnecessary or foolhardy thing you’ve ever done trying to research a role?
Trying to work out the family trees of the York’s and Lancaster’s for the Wars Of The Roses trilogy. Nigh on impossible to understand!

What would be the title of your autobiography?
Steaming, Diets and Silence – An Actor’s Monastic Lifestyle

Now that you’re about to wrap up Sunset Boulevard, what specific idea or preconception of the film and/or the characters was most challenged or altered the consequent to your run in the play?
I always thought Joe was a bit of a villain in the story but actually he’s just a victim of circumstance, just like Norma, Betty and somewhat Max.

Want more? Watch our behind-the-scenes film.

Michael Xavier can be seen in Sunset Boulevard at the Coliseum, London until May 7.

As told to Paul Vaughan for TPJ
Creative Director & Photographer: Jessie Craig
Stylist: Francesca Turner
Grooming: Leigh Keates using John Frieda & Carolyn Gallyer using YSL Beauty

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