My Secret Life: Joe Wright, film director, 39

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The Independent Online

My parents are... puppeteers. They ran a puppet theatre in Islington called The Little Angel Theatre, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. My mum is still a puppeteer, my father passed away in 1991.

The household I grew up in... It was quite a crazy house: the theatre, the workshop and the house were all connected. It was this strange, magical kingdom of fairytales and puppets, and my Saturday job was to operate a puppet or two.

When I was a child I wanted to... be a magician. I used to busk in Covent Garden doing magic tricks when I was about 12, and then Ken Livingstone took over the GLC and no one under the age of 16 was allowed to busk, which robbed me of my audience. Then I took up a Super 8 camera and started making short films.

If I could change one thing about myself...My self-obsession.

You wouldn't know it but I'm very good at... I like cooking. My favourite day would be spent going to Borough Market and then spending all day cooking and then having friends over in the evening.

You may not know it but I'm no good at... driving. I've never taken a driving test, and I can't drive a car – much to [star of Hanna] Eric Bana's horror; he's a proper, manly racing-car driver.

At night I dream of... Last night I dreamt that I lost an eyebrow. I dream of peace of mind.

I wish I'd never worn... foundation. When I was a kid I had terrible acne, and I thought I could hide it with foundation. Now I realise it was blatantly obvious I was walking round with a full face of dodgy make-up.

My favourite item of clothing... I have a pair of electric-blue suede Dries Van Noten slippers that I really love.

It's not fashionable but I like... early Neil Diamond.

My house is... It was built in 1726 and is an old French Huguenot house. It's all made of wood and it's got lots of stairs which are difficult for carrying a baby up and down. It's got a synagogue in the back yard which I've converted into a studio and it's the most beautiful house in London, I think.

A book that changed me... Milan Kundera's The Book of Laughter and Forgetting. I'm dyslexic and I was a very bad reader when I was young. I started reading it when I was about 15 for some reason and was so enthralled by the honesty of it that it made me continue reading, and I kind of taught myself to read so I could read it. Movie heaven... Blue Velvet.

My secret crush is... Who can I say without offending my wife? David Bowie, but I'm not very secret about that.

My greatest regret... I don't have many, I try not to regret anything. Probably my greatest regret is losing contact with friends and loved ones.

My real-life villains... Bigots the world over.

The last time I cried... At the birth of my son.

My five-year plan... To be a good husband and a good father.

My life in six words... Blessed with hope, fear, and love.

A life in brief

Joe Wright was born in 1972. After leaving school, he received a BBC scholarship to make a short film. In 2003, he won a Bafta for Best Drama Serial for Charles II: The Power and the Passion, and a newcomer Bafta for his film version of Pride and Prejudice. His 2007 adaptation of Ian McEwan's novel Atonement was a hit worldwide and his latest film, Hanna, is released on DVD this week. He lives in Tower Hamlets, London, with his wife Anoushka and son Zubin