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My Life in Movies: Eddie Marsan

The 'Entebbe' actor and Mike Leigh collaborator on his happiest London memories

Written by
David Hughes

What was the first film you saw in London?
‘I was raised in Bethnal Green, and my first London film memory was my dad taking me to see “Robin Hood” in the West End. When I went in it was light, and when I came out it was dark. It was amazing.’

What’s your favourite cinema?
‘I like the Curzon Soho. I go in there for a bagel.’

What’s been your favourite West End premiere?
‘Probably “The World’s End”, because we were all mates and we’d all been young actors together. Paddy Considine, Martin Freeman, Nick Frost.’ 

Eddie Marsan’s first trip to the cinema took in Disney’s ‘Robin Hood’

What do you look for in a movie that’s set in London?
‘My first rule is to do something different than I’ve done before. I’ve just done “Feedback”, a film set in London by a Spanish director about a London radio host whose studio is hijacked by terrorists. I trust that perspective more than some posh bloke who reads GQ and wants to make a gangster movie.’

What was your first London filming location?
‘I used to dance a lot when I was younger and I was in a club in Hackney and someone asked me to be an extra in a film called “Empire State”, which I’ve still never seen. Then I was in an episode of “The Comic Strip Presents…” with Alexei Sayle. That was in a chip shop somewhere in south London.’

Marsan as in Shimon Peres ‘Entebbe’

What’s been the most memorable spot you’ve filmed at?
‘I shot a scene in “Sherlock Holmes” with Mark Strong and Robert Downey Jr in an amazing crypt off Bishopsgate. That movie was fun. I liked going around the graveyards in “Still Life”. Between takes I would go and look at all the different gravestones, and there was one in south London that’s got George Cornell, who was shot by Ronnie Kray and his gravestone says “Taken by the angels”. It’s a nice way of putting it!’ 

‘Entebbe’ is out on Fri May 11.

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