From Fun Home to Waitress, from Next to Normal to Finding Neverland - it's always fun collating the various rumours flying around theatreland. After a very busy...
Mark Letheren Starred as 'Bernie Dodd' in The Country Girl at Apollo Theatre
Date of Birth?
6 Feb 1971
Place of birth?
Did you go to training school, if so which one?
Guildhall School Of Music and Drama
Briefly tell us how you became involved with The Country Girl?
Over three days I auditioned for the director Rufus Norris, then for Bill Kenwright and Rufus ,then finally read with Jenny for Bill and Rufus again. Having just moved out of London, one of the most expensive auditions I've had. But worth it!
Briefly tell us about the character of Bernie Dodd you play in The Country Girl
Bernie is a maverick theatre director in 1950's New York. He is given a chance to cast one of his childhood idols, the now washed up and alcoholic actor Frank Elgin, in the starring role of his new production. Bernie is a great manipulater, but finds himself caught in a triangle of lies and deceit between Frank and Frank's beautiful but controlling wife Georgie. He is damaged from an unsuccesful marriage and has a mistrust of women that is pushed to the limit when Georgie joins them in Boston. As the opening night on Broadway draws closer it is not just his production he is in danger of losing but also his heart.
Your first stage performance?
Was a servant in Sleeping Beauty at primary school, followed by Toad in Toad of Toad Hall at school. First professional performance was in a Bob Larby (The Good Life) comedy called Building Blocks ,where I played an italian builder called Gino, all i can remember is running up and down a ladder a lot.
Career highlight to date?
Other than The Country Girl, playing on Broadway in A Midsummer Nights Dream with the RSC was incredible, but did get in the way of sight seeing New York! Also Beautiful Thing by Jonathan Harvey at the bush theatre. The audience reaction was just extraordinary.
What roles would you most like to play?
I'd rather play a vampire than Hamlet, but anything that you can sink your teeth into!
What's the best advice you've ever received?
David Jason once said to me at a readthrough of an episode of Touch of Frost, "you're not playing it like that, are you? Thankfully he couldn't have been lovelier after we'd filmed it.
What has been your most embarrassing moment on stage?
Just recently on tour with the Country Girl, one of the door knobs had been changed and nobody told me that it now opened the other way. Consequentially, when it came to my entrance through that door in the final scene, my brain could not work out why the door wouldn't open and I was stuck for ages struggling to get in. I was eventually saved by Jenny opening the door from the other side. The audience liked that in Birminhgam, they did.
What is the most annoying part about your job?
Being paid ridiculous money or no money at all, the unpredictability, being away from home for long periods of time..moan moan moan, it's a bloomin amazing job to do and I'm damn lucky to be making a living out of it (just)!
If you had not become a performer, what might you have done instead?
Climbing up trees with a chainsaw has always appealed to me.
Who are your favourite actors/actresses
I thought the cast of This is England '86 were all pretty amazing. I really like actors who aren't afraid to transform themselves like Billy Bob Thornton.
What was the last book you read, and name some of your favourite authors?
Revolutionary Road by Richard Yates, he is an astonishing writer. Other books read recently and loved are Choke by Chuck Palahniuk, Let The Right One In by John Ajvide Lndqvist and Naming The Bones by Louise Welsh.
What was the last film you saw, and name some of your favourite movies?
Let The Right One In, extremly beautiful and disturbing. The lead actors are wonderful. Buffalo 66, The Big Blue, Baz Luhrmann's Romeo and Juilet/ Moulin Rouge, Dog Day Afternoon, The Party.
Favourite TV programs?
Grand Designs, I could watch it 12 hours a day, Family Guy, This Is England '86, Twin Peaks (still one of the best/bizarre things ever made)
Favourite holiday destinations?
West coast of Scotland is still one of the most awsome landscapes I've seen. Mexico is a lot of fun and am partial to the Carribean
Do you have any hobbies?
Bit of guitar, bit too much time in the gym. Wish smoking was a hobby and not a habit.
Do you have any superstitions?
Not really a superstition but always manage to go to the toilet at exactly the same time during a show-think i'd be spooked if I couldn't.
If you were stranded on a desert island, what three items would you take with you?
I'd have to make my girlfriend into an item and then I wouldn't need the other two.
What are your future plans?
Holiday, Chile or India beckons...