I worked for a while as a teaching assistant while I was struggling. I really enjoyed it, working with kids with special needs, autism. It takes a hell of a lot of concentration, and you've got to focus on the child properly for seven hours a day.
I grew up in a farming family. I hated cleaning out the chickens but loved hatching them and feeding the new born sheep. The smell of hot milk still has a special resonance for me. Harvest was back-breaking work, though... Where do you think Jesus got his biceps from?
I tell people that if I'm ignoring them, chances are I may not have heard them. I depend on hearing aids, but I've not found it a problem. I'm visually very aware!
I didn't do plays at school, because I didn't have the confidence. At 14, I was at boarding school in Devon and I suffered from dyslexia quite badly, but they had a very good department there which specialised in it.
Ultimately, the idea of acting is to understand the people you're playing, and then where they're coming from is not so mystifying. You've got to detox a bit after, though.
I grew up on a farm, so there were rifles around. Every March around springtime, there's a big hunt that goes on, and you go out and hunt down all the pheasants. I actually never shot the pheasants; I'm not a big fan of killing animals myself.
I don't know whether I much enjoyed education. I was not academically gifted.
I found school quite tough, but Saturday night was movie night, and I started to empathise with the characters on screen. I started to get more involved with what these people were experiencing. Film inspired me to do better.
We've got nine generations of farmers in my family, in Warwickshire. And I do feel connected to being a farmer's son. There was a time when I didn't, when I rebelled against it, but there's certainly that sort of work ethic within me.
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