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Five life lessons we can learn from ‘Dunkirk’ star Mark Rylance

Isabelle Aron

‘Dunkirk’ star Mark Rylance has clocked up a Bafta for ‘Wolf Hall’, an Oscar for ‘Bridge of Spies’ and a knighthood for his services to theatre. We caught up with the overachieving actor, theatre director and playwright for next week’s Time Out. Here are five pieces of life advice we picked up from the man who’s been dubbed the greatest actor of his generation.

1. Don’t follow the crowd

‘I’ve always been drawn more to outsiders, to people and ideas that are outside an accepted group behaviour. The artists who inspired me were all risk-takers.’

2. Be ambitious (and a bit competitive)

‘I was ambitious in a big way, to be like Vincent van Gogh, someone who made or said something really beautiful or truthful, or saw something that other people didn’t see. And I was competitive enough that when I saw other actors doing really good work, I wanted to know how they did it – so I could do something like it.’

3. Always tell the truth

‘Miners can get dust in their lungs, miners’ dust. The miners’ dust of being an actor is that you can lie convincingly. You can convince yourself that things are true that are not true. It ain’t good. It’s like being a black belt in karate and not being able to control your temper.’

4. Quitting isn't always a bad thing

‘I made a terrible film called “Blitz” in London. It was horrible, so I quit. I guess nature abhors a vacuum. There was a space there, which then drew “Wolf Hall” and “Bridge of Spies”.’

5. But most importantly, respect your elders

‘I wouldn’t swindle an old lady.’

Read the full interview in next week’s issue of Time Out London.

In other news, is Mark Rylance going to star in a tenth-anniversary revival of ‘Jerusalem’?

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