Best Supporting Actor- Series, Limited Series, TV and Motion Picture
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR ‑ SERIES/ LIMITED SERIES/ TV MOVIE
BEN WHISHAW ‑‑ “A VERY ENGLISH SCANDAL”
BEN WHISHAW: Wow. Thank you so much, Hollywood Foreign Press. I had such a wonderful time making this. I’m so honored. Thank you so much.
I want to thank Stephen Frears. What a legend. Thank you. I want to thank the BBC for continuing to make idiosyncratic and powerful work and for employing me again and again. Thank you. I want to thank the amazing cast of this show, but I have to thank Hugh Grant above all for such an exquisite performance. It was amazing to watch you do that. And I really want to thank Russel T. Davis, who wrote the most moving and hilarious script. But there’s one person I really, really want to dedicate this award to, and it’s it the man who I had the privilege to portray in the show, Norman Scott, who took on the establishment with a courage and a defiance that I find completely inspiring. He’s a true queer hero, an icon. And, Norman, this is for you.
MR. WHISHAW: Hello.
Q. Congratulations. Were you challenged in ways that you didn’t expect in doing this role?
MR. WHISHAW: Well, you know, one of the things that was really hard is that I was playing a real person who suffered substantial trauma in what we were fictionalizing. And so that one of the dear things was honoring him and being sensitive to him and trying to capture him in all his complexity.
That was really the thing I was — had in the forefront of my mind.
Q. He did seem like such an innocent, at least in the beginning, of facing up to Hugh Grant, who was anything but innocent. Was the change in him as he got smarter and he figured out what he wanted to do, was that a part that was fun to play?
MR. WHISHAW: Yeah, I think — I mean, it is sort of a David and Goliath story in a way. It’s a small man up against a very powerful one. So, yeah, it was fun to play that switch when he became vindictive and — yeah.
Q. And in the same year as Mary Poppins.
MR. WHISHAW: Yeah.
Q. A different atmosphere and different mindset.
MR. WHISHAW: So different, but that’s the pleasure that I find, that’s what I enjoy most, is jumping from one very different thing to another very different thing. It gives me a lot of pleasure.
Q. Darren Criss recently said that he didn’t want to play a gay character because he didn’t want to take a queer part away from a queer actor.
Do you think that actors should only play parts that they represent, that is representative of their own experience and character? What are your thoughts?
MR. WHISHAW: No, I don’t think that should happen because I really believe that it’s — actors can embody and portray anything, and we shouldn’t be defined only by what we are.
I think there was a time when we didn’t know anything about actors. They were very mysterious, but now we know everything. So, no, I don’t think that.
On the other hand, I think there needs to be greater equality. I mean, I would like to see more gay actors playing straight roles. I’d like to see all sorts of things. You know, it should be an even playing field for everybody. That would be my ideal. I don’t know how far we are away from that, but that’s where we should be, I think.
Q. What was it like working with Hugh Grant?
MR. WHISHAW: I love Hugh. I’ve worked with him three times now. I played his wife once. And I played, obviously, Paddington opposite him and Clive Gibson. I just find him delightful and very, very funny. And I think he’s an absolutely exquisite actor, and I am pleased people are recognizing that.
Q. Mary Poppins 2?
MR. WHISHAW: Mary Poppins 3, I guess it would be, wouldn’t it? I think there needs to be another long break, right, before another Mary Poppins. She’s got to go and do what she’s doing up in the clouds there another 50 years before she returns.