Tim Roth: “I’m not just being bad”

Reflections, emotions, balances. And the projection into the future, between projects and unknowns. He recently turned 60 Tim Roth, without regrets or desire to pull the oars in the boat. “The idea of ​​totally abandoning oneself and living life as it comes without deadlines and commitments, I believe, fascinates everyone. Sometimes I thought about it too. But we actors never retire – there just comes a time when no one wants to cast you anymore. When that happens I would like to be able to sit on the seashore all day without thinking about anything, ”says the English actor. Thoughts that bring him back to his character in “Sundown”, a film that marks a new collaboration with Mexican director Michel Franco, whom he had already met for the making of “Chronic”.

Neil Bennett is on vacation in a luxury resort in Acapulco with his family: Alice (Charlotte Gainsbourg) and the boys Colin (Samuel Bottomley) and Alexa (Albertine Kotting McMillan). The idyll is broken when Alice receives a call in which she learns that her mother has been taken to the hospital, and the vacation ends abruptly. At the airport, however, Neil says he forgot his passport at the resort and while his parents board, he goes back to retrieve it, promising to follow them on the next flight. In reality, the man rents a room in a dilapidated hotel and starts frequenting the beach in Acapulco, where he spends his days drinking beer and looking at the world around him.

Charlotte Gainsbourg, who plays with her in the film, confessed to me that she looks at herself with difficulty because, being shy, she sees all her flaws. But also that, paradoxically, it was precisely the cinema that saved her from this shyness. How did the approach to acting work for you?
“I’ve been an actor since I can remember my childhood. At school there is always a kid who is a clown: here, that was me. I used this ploy to escape the clutches of my comrades who repeatedly beat and mistreated me. They were real bullies ».

In his career he has played several “villains”, starting with Mr. Orange in “Le Iene”. What attracts you about these characters?
“At first I thought it was a lot of fun to go to the side of those who beat me, to enter their psychologies without anyone getting hurt. In my opinion, gangsters or violent characters stay longer in the memory of viewers, and so people end up identifying you with a certain type of role and don’t remember that you have done much else as well. It was actually other types of films and roles that attracted the attention of some directors to me. For example, Quentin Tarantino called me after appreciating me in “Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are dead” and in “Vincent & Theo”, where I played Vincent Van Gogh ».

What makes your long collaboration with Tarantino precious, with whom you starred in many unforgettable films: “Le Iene”, “Pulp Fiction”, “Four Rooms”, “The Hateful Eight”?
“His hallmark is the ability to write some of the most succulent dialogue an actor can hope to deliver. That is why I and the other colleagues who have had the privilege of working with Quentin look forward to his next film. It would be fantastic to be part of it, and every now and then we exchange our hopes in this regard in a common chat that we opened during the filming of “The Hateful Eight” ».

Tarantino has announced that the next film will be the film with which he will end his career. What if he were to one day follow him and stop acting instead of going to Acapulco where he would go?
“I would like to have a house in Paris or in the Roman countryside. I also love the Alba area ».

Right from the title, “Sundown” speaks of the sunset of existence. Have you ever thought about it?

«Yes, because I am now 60 years old and like everyone else I ask myself questions: what will my old age be like? How will I spend it? When will I stop working? Of course it scares me a bit, but then I see colleagues like Ian McKellen who at 82 has just given Hamlet to the theater and I think I still have a long way to go. In any case, my life is quite crazy, I travel the world from one set to another, and in fact for me the real vacation is when I return home to California, where my wife and children are. Luckily I live far from Hollywood and so I can truly disconnect from the world of cinema ».

I read that your son Hunter worked on “Sundown” as an assistant director. What was it like for his children to relate to a successful parent and try to follow in his footsteps?
“Honestly, it wasn’t easy. My son Jack is in London to pursue an acting career, Hunter is more interested in directing while Michael is a musician. They were certainly influenced by my career, because when they were little I always took them on sets with me. Of course it was not easy for them to work in the cinema, there is always the risk of confrontation with their father, and of having too high expectations of them, but it seems to me that they are doing quite well. Of course it gives me enormous pleasure. “

Do you feel like an artist?
“I would say no, I think being an actor is a job, but I think it’s a good job. And it’s fascinating. It is absolutely fascinating. How would you describe a job where in a year I first went to New Zealand and played an alcoholic father to a boy who discovers sexuality, then I went to the Marvel set to play a crazy movie and finally I finished a horror with Rebecca Hall who is it called “Resurrection”? You know, when I chose to be an actor I also did it so as not to have to put on a suit and tie and go to the office every day, and it is this freedom that you have on set that I love so much. I like doing the red carpet a little less well dressed, but it’s part of the game ».

Tim Roth: “I’m not just being bad”