Martin Freeman: You Ask The Questions

Have you worked in an office? And who would you hitch-hike through space with?
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The Independent Online

Martin Freeman, 33, best known as the hapless Tim in The Office, is starring as Arthur Dent in the film version of Douglas Adams' novel, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. After studying at the Youth Action Theatre in Teddington and later at the Central School of Speech and Drama, he previously worked at the National Theatre and had walk-on roles in Casualty, The Bill and This Life. He has since appeared as Lord Shaftesbury in the BBC drama Charles II, and in the film Love Actually. He lives in London.

Martin Freeman, 33, best known as the hapless Tim in The Office, is starring as Arthur Dent in the film version of Douglas Adams' novel, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. After studying at the Youth Action Theatre in Teddington and later at the Central School of Speech and Drama, he previously worked at the National Theatre and had walk-on roles in Casualty, The Bill and This Life. He has since appeared as Lord Shaftesbury in the BBC drama Charles II, and in the film Love Actually. He lives in London.

Why was setting Gareth's stapler in some jelly so funny?
LEILA RODGERS, CARLISLE

I think the real gems of The Office are not the moments that have become famous: the stapler in the jelly, the Comic Relief dance. I find a lot of the looks, coughs and stumbles funnier.

What is the most ridiculous predicament you have found yourself in while filming Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy?
BILL OWEN, TONBRIDGE

Being in a freezing cold wet quarry in Wales, wearing pyjamas and slippers, running across silt, slate and rock. We were supposed to be on the Vogon planet. All of us were freezing. We filmed the scenes in May last year, but we were so high up in the hills that fog would suddenly descend between us mid-sentence.

Does going on The Letterman Show make you A-list?
BARRY GOWER, BY E-MAIL

I'm going to be on the show at the end of the month. It makes me A-list in my house, but I'm sure there'll be a lot of people in the audience thinking, "Who is that?" We may have won two Golden Globes for The Office, but there were still a lot of people at that awards ceremony saying, "How do you pronounce Gervais?"

Do you have a Hamlet in you?
JULIA SMITH, BY E-MAIL

Every single person has a Hamlet in them; it's just a question of whether it's any good. I think my Hamlet would be okay, but you would've probably seen better. If you're a serious actor, you are supposed to aspire to the role, but I don't.

Have you ever worked in an office? If not, how much research did you do for your role as Tim?
PIPPA LOUDON, BIRMINGHAM

I have worked in various offices as a temp, but I mainly worked in kitchens when I was trying to make ends meet. It's a cliché, but I'm just not a nine-to- five guy. I knew I wanted to be an actor by the time I was 17. So I didn't do any research for my role in The Office; I was already very well qualified from my time at school. Sitting behind a desk, being bored and being in love with a girl - that was my school days.

I'm considering of embarking on an office romance. What do you reckon?
THEO HOUGHTON, BY E-MAIL

I have experience of work romances. If the coast is clear, if neither of you have luggage, then go for it. We could all die tomorrow. And why die having not told someone how you feel? I know there's a time and a place, but as long as you're not hurting any one else, what are you waiting for? Stop wasting my time asking me about it.

Who would you most like to have lunch with?
KAT WHITE, BY E-MAIL

Stevie Wonder. He is one of the greatest living humans. I wouldn't want to ask him anything. I'd just want to bask in his loveliness.

I hear you almost became a squash professional. Do you ever regret choosing acting instead?
BARBARA ELLIOT, LONDON

Until I was 14, I thought I was going to be a squash professional. I was in the national squad for a while and had been in the county squad for many years. I was super fit as a child, running two miles a day when I was nine. I had the ability to be a professional, but I don't think I had the right mental attitude for it. I don't know that I could have become world champion, which is what I really wanted to be. I don't have a killer instinct. When I was playing, I'd always be thinking, "God, I'm going to beat him and he's going to feel terrible."

Will you be moving to Hollywood anytime soon?
NEIL WELLS, LONDON

No, I won't be. I'm English. I love London. I feel like a square around Soho so God knows what I would feel like in Hollywood.

Which of your previous co-stars would you most like to hitchhike through the galaxies with?
BEN MICHAEL, BY E-MAIL

Bill Nighy. I know that sounds a little bit gay, but he's an absolute joy. I love him as an actor. I love him as a man. And I love him as an ex-mod.

What did you do in your twenties?
CATHERINE LITTLE, BOGNOR REGIS

I was at drama school and then I started my career as an actor. I'm glad to say that it wasn't a struggle at all. I left drama school early to work at The National Theatre for a year. There was never a time when I wasliving off baked beans. I have always tried to live off baked beans no matter what my financial situation is.

I greatly enjoyed your portrayal of a porn star in Love Actually. Would you consider working in that sector if mainstream work dried up?
KIRSTY BAILEY, BANBURY

He was not a porn star. I was supposed to be a body double in a sex scene in a posh art house movie like Eyes Wide Shut. Pretty much no one seems to have got that. And no, I don't want to be a porn star, thank you very much.

Will you vote for Tony Blair?
GARY COHEN, BY E-MAIL

I don't know that I am going to vote this time and I would've found that unthinkable even three years ago. In 2001, I voted Socialist Labour. I certainly couldn't vote for Tony Blair. The most important issue for me is how much money I make on my next movie. Seriously, what turns me off is seeing Labour become the Tories' greatest success story. No life-long Labour supporter enjoys that.

Why do the British like their science fiction tongue-in-cheek?
HANNAH PRINCE, BY E-MAIL

We like everything a little more tongue in cheek and sometimes I think that isn't a strength. There is a reason why soul music comes out of America and shoe-gazing indie pop comes out of Britain. Sometimes, you just have to go for it and say, "Damn it woman, I love you".

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy opens on the 29 April and Martin Freeman also appears in the BBC2 comedy, The Robinsons, beginning 2 May.

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