Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Little Britain's Matt Lucas on fame, body image and relationships

“I’m lucky because many people in my industry struggle with alcohol or drugs. I struggle with my aunt’s delicious chocolate cake.”

via Times Online, by Robert Crampton

Bald at 6, a father in prison... Matt Lucas’s childhood could read as a misery memoir. Yet it wasn’t quite like that. Here he talks frankly about family, fame, body image and relationships, and how, with comedy as his weapon, he’s emerged a thoroughly grounded man who couldn’t be more unlike the gallery of grotesques he’s so famous for creating.

The comedian Bob Mortimer once described Matt Lucas as “the angriest man I have ever met”. Lucas was 18 when Mortimer said it and he’s 35 now; the quote has been hanging around his neck for a long time, so maybe it’s time to take it off. “Teenagers can take themselves very seriously; you spend too much time on your own, you start to mythologise yourself. You wear your perceived nonconformity on your sleeve.”

Lucas didn’t seem angry when I met him. Not at all. He gets upset and depressed from time to time, he says, like many people. But in our interview he was amusing, polite, most of all thoughtful. He seemed like a man who has put in a lot of work on himself, and the work has paid off. The tears of a clown may well have flowed 15 or 10 years ago; I’m not sure they do any longer.

We meet in a photography studio in North London. He is here to publicise his new BBC series, Kröd Mändoon and the Flaming Sword of Fire, a “Blackadder meets Red Dwarf kind of thing” in which he plays an “Alan Rickman-esque Sheriff of Nottingham psychotic baddie. I got the script and it really made me laugh. I auditioned for it and got the role. It was a giggle.”

He’s been followed to the studio by paparazzi, “but it would be churlish to aspire to be on television for many years and then to be on television and moan”. The media have, in any case, “cottoned on to the fact that a picture of me as Vicky Pollard is a lot more interesting than a picture of me walking my dog [Milo, two, chocolate Labrador]. Also, for the majority of the time that I’ve been famous, I’ve been in a relationship, and to be in a monogamous gay relationship is not as interesting as being, say, straight and single.”

Like his Little Britain partner, David Walliams, for instance? “Like David or Russell Brand or all those people. And they would be considered sexier and more attractive than me. I don’t crave more attention than I get. I will always, like the vast majority of people, look at a photo of myself and wince or cringe. I’ll always have that, but I think it’s quite natural.”

Read the whole thing.

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