Jason Flemyng: My Life In Travel

'I was drinking an espresso next to a dead rat with maggots inside it'


First holiday memory?

Sitting beside a swimming pool with my dad in Spain. We've got a photo of it - we're both in the same pose and skinny as beanpoles, ginger and freckly.

Best holiday?

Tulum on the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico. I love diving and it's a brilliant place to do that. We once travelled up to the Gulf of Mexico and swam with whale sharks, which was pretty spectacular. I'm about to start filming in Baja California, which I'm really looking forward to because I love Mexico. My work is location dependent as well as script dependent. I would take a bad script in a great place rather than a good one in a bad place.

Favourite place in the British Isles?

Coldham Hall in Suffolk, which is where my friend Matthew Vaughn lives. It's a beautiful country house. When you close your eyes and think of a country retreat, that's the sort of place you imagine. Matt occasionally lends it to me, which is fantastic. When I first took my girlfriend there she thought I must be very well-connected.

What have you learnt from your travels?

Things that might infuriate other people usually make me smile. While filming in Bucharest, I was drinking an espresso next to a dead rat with maggots crawling around inside it, but things like that don't bother me.

Ideal travelling companion?

Jason Statham - who is my closest mate - and my girlfriend Ellie. She has a great sense of humour, which is really important in a travelling companion.

Beach bum, culture vulture or adrenalin junkie?

I travel a lot with work and, because I'm not a leading actor, I usually film for a couple of days and then get to go and explore for the rest of the time. However, the time I spend with my girlfriend is quite rare, so the travelling we do together tends to be easy, staying in gorgeous hotels. This summer we stayed in a hotel called Mas de la Fouque in the Camargue. It was beautiful, but mosquito hell.

Greatest travel luxury?

A tiny compact Tiffany alarm clock and my AmEx card. I also try and take $1,000 in cash - the dollar speaks loudly in times of trouble.

Holiday reading?

I'm reading The Count of Monte Cristo at the moment, which is a great yarn. I started reading it when I was in France; it's really nice to read something about the place you're in.

Where has seduced you?

India; it's wild and absolutely mad. I was up in Mussori on the edge of the Himalayas earlier this year making a film about a leopard-hunter, which was one of the most fantastic things I've ever done. A lot of the runners were Tibetan and they were amazing people. I've also filmed in Rajasthan and Kerala and loved it. When you're on the road it often looks like a war zone, with overturned vehicles in ditches and you wonder what has happened. But it's everyday life and that's why I love it.

Better to travel or arrive?

Definitely to travel. I'm very lucky that I can do something I love, which involves travelling to lots of different places. Even though I'm probably at Heathrow more than I am at my local petrol station I still get that buzz.

Worst travel experience?

I went to Borneo to see orang-utans. I naively went after watching the Julia Roberts documentary and thought I'd be able to cuddle them in the jungle. I went all the way to Sipadan and it pissed with rain for five days. We sat on a wooden platform looking into the jungle and all we could see was an orange blur in the distance. It was an amazing place to go but it was disappointing not to see them.

Worst hotel?

A hotel in Havana, but I can't remember the name. I put my book down on the bedside table and didn't pick it up for two days. When I went to read it again, it had mould in it. The room was so damp that the sheets felt wet.

Best hotel?

Chateau Marmont in Los Angeles. If you grew up poor, you would recognise the fittings from your childhood home - it's where rich people go to experience shabby chic. However, the bar is amazing - you're the only person in there that you don't recognise.

Best meal abroad?

I once went diving and swam with manta rays in Cuba. The guy whose boat we were on dived down and came up with two lobsters and his wife cooked them with rice. It was absolutely spectacular. Although it's not abroad, there's also a restaurant called Numero Uno in south London and I've eaten there hundreds of times. It's a family-run restaurant and it feels like you're in GoodFellas. The sea bass with balsamic vinegar is delicious.

Favourite walk / swim / ride / drive?

Swimming in Tooting Bec Lido and running in Richmond Park, both in south London.

First thing you do when you arrive somewhere new?

Put up a picture of my girlfriend on the mirror.

Dream trip?

Sky was planning a new series based on Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman's bike trip, and Jason [Statham] and I were going to go to the Galapagos Islands for it. We were going to free-fall from a plane and then travel to Venezuela and snowboard on a glacier. However, we couldn't go in the end because of work commitments. We will do it soon, though, but I would rather it was self-funded than for a TV programme.

Favourite city?

It changes; it's London when I'm away. I'm also happy in Los Angeles. I used to genuinely hate it, then I pretended to hate it, and now I like it, probably because I have lots of friends there.

Where next?

To Baja California to make a film with Laurence Fishburne.

Jason Flemyng stars in 'The Man-Eating Leopard of Rudraprayag' on Friday 2 December at 9pm on BBC2

The Independent travel offers: Discover a world of inspiring destinations

Voices
The Sumatran tiger, endemic to the Indonesian island of Sumatra, is an endangered species
voicesJonathon Porritt: The wild tiger population is thought to have dropped by 97 per cent since 1900
News
news
Arts and Entertainment
Story line: Susanoo slays the Yamata no Orochi serpent in the Japanese version of a myth dating back 40,000 years
arts + entsApplying the theory of evolution to the world's many mythologies
Life and Style
Popular plonk: Lambrusco is selling strong
Food + drinkNaff Seventies corner-shop staple is this year's Aperol Spritz
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
Gardai wait for the naked man, who had gone for a skinny dip in Belfast Lough
newsTwo skinny dippers threatened with inclusion on sex offenders’ register as naturists criminalised
News
Shake down: Michelle and Barack Obama bump knuckles before an election night rally in Minnesota in 2008, the 'Washington Post' called it 'the fist bump heard round the world'
newsThe pound, a.k.a. the dap, greatly improves hygiene
Arts and Entertainment
La Roux
music
Arts and Entertainment
Graham Fellows as John Shuttleworth
comedySean O'Grady joins Graham Fellows down his local Spar
News
people
News
Ross Burden pictured in 2002
people
News
Elisabeth Murdoch: The 44-year-old said she felt a responsibility to 'stand up and be counted’'
media... says Rupert Murdoch
Arts and Entertainment
tv
Extras
indybest
Travel
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    C++ Software Engineer - Hounslow, West London - C++ - to £60K +

    £40000 - £60000 per annum + Pension, Healthcare : Deerfoot IT Resources Limite...

    VB.NET and C# developer (VB.NET,C#,ASP.NET)

    £30000 - £45000 per annum + Bonus+Benefits+Package: Harrington Starr: VB.NET a...

    Visitor Experience volunteer

    Unpaid voluntary role: Old Royal Naval College: To assist the Visitor Experien...

    Telesales Manager. Paddington, London

    £45-£55k OTE £75k : Charter Selection: Major London International Fashion and ...

    Day In a Page

    A new Russian revolution: Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc

    A new Russian revolution

    Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc
    Eugene de Kock: Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

    Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

    The debate rages in South Africa over whether Eugene de Kock should ever be released from jail
    Standing my ground: If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?

    Standing my ground

    If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?
    Commonwealth Games 2014: Dai Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

    Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

    Welsh hurdler was World, European and Commonwealth champion, but then the injuries crept in
    Israel-Gaza conflict: Secret report helps Israelis to hide facts

    Patrick Cockburn: Secret report helps Israel to hide facts

    The slickness of Israel's spokesmen is rooted in directions set down by pollster Frank Luntz
    The man who dared to go on holiday

    The man who dared to go on holiday

    New York's mayor has taken a vacation - in a nation that has still to enforce paid leave, it caused quite a stir, reports Rupert Cornwell
    Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business, from Sarah Millican to Marcus Brigstocke

    Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business

    For all those wanting to know how stand-ups keep standing, here are some of the best moments
    The Guest List 2014: Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks

    The Guest List 2014

    Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks
    Jokes on Hollywood: 'With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on'

    Jokes on Hollywood

    With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on
    It's the best of British art... but not all is on display

    It's the best of British art... but not all is on display

    Voted for by the British public, the artworks on Art Everywhere posters may be the only place where they can be seen
    Critic claims 'I was the inspiration for Blanche DuBois'

    Critic claims 'I was the inspiration for Blanche DuBois'

    Blanche Marvin reveals how Tennessee Williams used her name and an off-the-cuff remark to create an iconic character
    Sometimes it's hard to be a literary novelist

    Sometimes it's hard to be a literary novelist

    Websites offering your ebooks for nothing is only the latest disrespect the modern writer is subjected to, says DJ Taylor
    Edinburgh Fringe 2014: The comedy highlights, from Bridget Christie to Jack Dee

    Edinburgh Fringe 2014

    The comedy highlights, from Bridget Christie to Jack Dee
    Dame Jenny Abramsky: 'We have to rethink. If not, museums and parks will close'

    Dame Jenny Abramsky: 'We have to rethink. If not, museums and parks will close'

    The woman stepping down as chair of the Heritage Lottery Fund is worried