"Yes," he whispered, looking round the room as if for help, "I did." Shakespeare in Love is a bit of improvisation on a what-if idea: what if Shakespeare had writer's block during the writing of a comedy called "Romeo and Ethel, the Pirate's Daughter"?What if he suddenly falls in love with an unattainable woman?I met him in the over-furnished lounge of a west London hotel.My first impression was that he's smaller than you might imagine - compact and lithe in the way male ballet dancers can be.And this time, it's goodbye to lovelorn swains: "I play an Irish lawyer who tries to save his best friend's business from the taxman.
My character is an all-American kid who changes identity and comes back to wreak revenge and to get the girl.
The second is that he's incredibly shy and ill at ease.
Dressed in a black vest-top, black combats and blue New Balance trainers, he sidled into the room sideways as if he was the waiter, or would rather be.
He was also eager to please and very nice, lacking that patina of self-assurance - that conviction that I'm-the-star-of-the-production-I-like-to-call-my-life - most actors have.
I positioned my tape recorder near him and asked him if it would put him off.