Sir Mark Rylance ‘gave up’ acting after shooting a ‘horrible film’

Sir Mark Rylance said he spent his whole career being told “you’re not a real actor” unless you starred in film, TV and theatre.

The Oscar-winning actor “gave up” movies in 2010 after he appeared in a “horrible film” called Blitz, he told the Big Issue.

He said: “I so hated it that I got rid of all my agents.

“I had spent my whole career as an actor being told that unless you are a TV and film actor as well as a theatre actor, you’re not real actor.

“When the Kabuki actors or the Zulu actors from South Africa that came with Umabatha to The Globe (in 1997), I didn’t think any of them needed to be film or TV actors be real actors.

“They were brilliant. As good as Marlon Brando.

“So, I thought, f*** this and stopped promoting myself in film.

The Phantom of the Open world premiere – BFI London Film Festival 2021
Christian Lees, Jake Davies, Simon Farnaby, Mark Rylance, Craig Roberts and Jonah Lees arrive for the world premiere of The Phantom of the Open (Ian West/PA)

“Of course, nature hates a vacuum and suddenly Spielberg was brought along to a play I was doing and that whole thing happened.”

Sir Mark added that he does not think “there’s anything superior to being a film actor or being a stage actor”.

The actor, playwright and theatre director, 62, most recently plays Maurice Flitcroft – the man dubbed “the world’s worst golfer” – in his new film The Phantom Of The Open.

On Thursday, Sir Mark appeared at the celebrity screening of the film at Ham Yard Hotel in London, alongside director Craig Roberts, whose previous works as a filmmaker include Just Jim and Eternal Beauty.

Celebrity screening of Phantom of the Open – London
Craig Roberts and Mark Rylance (Ian West/PA)

Talking about Flitcroft, who entered himself into The Open in the mid-1970s despite never having played golf properly in his life, he said: “You may not be able to do everything you want in the world, but you don’t have to buy other people’s definition of you.

“You have the right to define yourself.”

Sir Mark is set to return to the stage, alongside Pirates Of The Caribbean actor Mackenzie Crook, in Jerusalem at London’s West End.

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