The 5-minute Interview: Greta Scacchi, Actress

'The internet presents my arty and sophisticated films as porn'

The 48-year-old Italian-born actress's work includes the role of Mrs Weston in 'Emma' and an Emmy-winning performance as a tsarina in 'Rasputin'. She is currently starring in Terence Rattigan's 'The Deep Blue Sea'at the Vaudeville Theatre

If I weren't talking to you right now I'd be...

Reading. I'm into autobiographies, so I am alternating between Joan Bakewell and Kathleen Turner.

A phrase I use far too often is...

"Sorry I'm late." I distort the speed that the minute hand goes round the clock. It's terribly rude and I know I do it, but it's like a sickness.

I wish people would take more notice of...

Other people's feelings and the community. We've got a disintegration of community feeling. I believe in yin and yang. The wars and stabbings and murders – it's all part of the same thing. We need to empower the good.

The most surprising thing that happened to me was...

When I got a call from LA telling me I had won an Emmy for Rasputin. All the cast gelled brilliantly, but Rasputin was a dismal shoot. We'd been on strike over appalling conditions for Russian extras and we were counting the days until it was finished.

A common misperception of me is...

That I was a porn star. In the Nineties, I did some work in an arty and sophisticated way. The internet presents it in a different context. It is humiliating for my 16-year-old daughter Leila, who is at a sensitive age.

I am not a politician but...

I would claim back the railways and the telephone and try to instil a sense of public service, which we used to have in this country. Britain was an enviable society because it believed in social welfare. That has all been dismantled with Thatcher pulling the wool over our eyes, making us believe services should be running at a profit.

I'm good at...

Making pancakes.

I'm very bad at...

Tossing pancakes. They have landed on the lampshade a couple of times.

In moments of weakness I...

I'm a confirmed non-smoker but every time I have a few scripted cigarettes, I'm straight on to the menthols.

You know me as an actress but in a truer life I'd have been...

A marvellous multilingual tourist guide. The Valley of the Kings and Petra would be my home.

The best age to be is...

I can only say in that corny way: now.

In a nutshell, my philosophy is this...

I believe in karma. I believe in "do unto others as you would have them do to unto you". I think heaven and hell are on earth.

Rhia Chohan

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