A big ask: David Leon



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Brenda Blethyn's 'Vera' co-star tells Gabriel Tate about wristwatches and slapping John Malkovich

David Leon tests the Rolex Submariner in 'Vera' David Leon tests the Rolex Submariner in 'Vera'

Ever Google your name?

‘I have done in the past, but it scares me. I’m mostly freaked out by people who share my name. I don’t know many David Leons, but they do exist and they tend to be on death row or on the fringes of society. I’m dragging the Leon name into the mainstream.’

Most memorable audition?

‘When I was starting out I auditioned for a film with John Malkovich. There was a scene where my character slapped him in the face. I was really looking forward to it, but our seats were too far away from each other so I ended up just half-patting him on the knee. He didn’t really see the funny side, but I did get called back. But I got caught on the transport system and missed it – he didn’t even wait for me, for some reason…’

Who would you interview on your own chat show?

‘[Director] Jacques Audillard is a fascinating character. And, as a Geordie, I’d love to sit down with Bobby Robson. And I’d have a few questions for Mike Ashley as well!’

Piece of work you’re most proud of?

‘I’m proudest of the fact that I’ve chosen the work very carefully, which has sometimes meant I’ve been out of work for a period of time, but the parts have been really diverse. I’m really proud of a film I did with Rankin called “The Lives of the Saints”, and a play I did at the Donmar called “Polar Bears”. And my first job on “Alexander” – a real baptism of fire, but I made it.’

Most extravagant thing you’ve ever bought?

‘My watch for my thirtieth birthday. A Rolex Submariner that I’d had my eye on for years. I treated myself. I do wear it – I’m not someone who buys a pair of trainers to stick them in a box in the loft where I can go and visit them every so often. But I’m very, very careful with it.’

Which dramatic role do you covet?

‘No particular role. But I do tend to be drawn to darker subject matter. I love comedy, but I prefer making people cry to making them laugh…’

David Leon stars in ‘Vera’, Sundays, 8pm, ITV1

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