George Takei: “Arnold Schwarzenegger made me so angry, I came out – at 68”

George Takei has always been a great admirer of the British. “I’m the son of my father,” the man known throughout the galaxy as Star Trek’s Mr Sulu tells Weekend. “He was a great Anglophile. And I was born three weeks before the coronation of George VI. Hence my name.” One thing the 85-year-old doesn’tContinue reading “George Takei: “Arnold Schwarzenegger made me so angry, I came out – at 68””

Mark Gatiss: “My career is partly a long revenge against P.E…”

Mark Gatiss is a busy man. No surprises there, of course: over the past two decades, the writer, actor, director and all-round pop-cultural polymath has racked up a CV longer than his beloved Doctor Who’s stripy scarf. When he’s not reinventing literary icons like Sherlock Holmes and Dracula, reuniting with his old pals from TheContinue reading “Mark Gatiss: “My career is partly a long revenge against P.E…””

Kate Hudson: “I was a real ‘pull up your bootstraps’ kind of girl. Sometimes, maybe I just needed a hug.”

For most actors, press junkets fall somewhere between a grudging contractual obligation and an outright irritation. Kate Hudson is not one of those actors. “It just feels so good to be back talking to people,” beams the 43-year-old, apparently sincerely, when Weekend meets her at a London hotel. “I’ve been doing this for two decades,”Continue reading “Kate Hudson: “I was a real ‘pull up your bootstraps’ kind of girl. Sometimes, maybe I just needed a hug.””

David Baddiel: “There are versions of me out there that aren’t me.”

David Baddiel is talking to Weekend on the day his son Ezra turns 18. (Don’t worry, he’s at school – we haven’t gatecrashed his birthday party or anything.) With his daughter Dolly now 21, it means that one of Britain’s bestselling children’s authors – among many other things – is no longer a father toContinue reading “David Baddiel: “There are versions of me out there that aren’t me.””

Sir Ian McKellen: “I think about death every day of my of life.”

Ian McKellen gave his first performance as Hamlet on Christmas Day, 1948. He was nine years old – so still some way off becoming a knight of the realm and a national treasure – and the venue was a toy Victorian theatre he’d received that morning. “You cut out all the parts and glued themContinue reading “Sir Ian McKellen: “I think about death every day of my of life.””

Jarvis Cocker: ‘It’s dangerous to believe fame is an improvement on reality’

In 1981, a teenage Jarvis Cocker was pictured in the Sheffield Star holding a plastic tortoise. The photoshoot, in Jarvis’s mum’s living room, was to celebrate his band Pulp being invited down to London to record a session for John Peel’s legendary Radio One show. But it was only when he came across the photograph again fourContinue reading “Jarvis Cocker: ‘It’s dangerous to believe fame is an improvement on reality’”

Sally Wainwright: “Being thought of as formidable worries me a bit.”

Growing up in West Yorkshire, all Sally Wainwright wanted to do was leave. “I couldn’t wait to get away,” admits the award-winning screenwriter of a county that, today, is as central to her work as Wessex was to Hardy, or Middle Earth to Tolkien. “I wanted to go and live in London, because I thoughtContinue reading “Sally Wainwright: “Being thought of as formidable worries me a bit.””

Johnny Marr: “I’m from a generation of musicians who don’t all want to be Gary Barlow…”

When Johnny Marr decided to call his next album Fever Dreams, he had no idea how prophetic it would prove to be. “I had the title before lockdown, before Covid,” he tells Weekend. “Then, as I was writing it during the pandemic, it all just made total sense. It’s not just that my sleep patterns became erratic,Continue reading “Johnny Marr: “I’m from a generation of musicians who don’t all want to be Gary Barlow…””

Steven Knight: ‘With Peaky Blinders, I wanted to do to my own history what the Americans did to theirs.’

Bogotá is an awfully long way from Birmingham, so it spoke volumes about Peaky Blinders’ extraordinary cultural reach when Cillian Murphy’s Midlands mobster, Tommy Shelby, appeared on the cover of Rolling Stone’s Colombian edition recently (knocking Billie Eilish down to second billing). “It’s been astonishing,” says showrunner Steven Knight of watching his creation become a global TVContinue reading “Steven Knight: ‘With Peaky Blinders, I wanted to do to my own history what the Americans did to theirs.’”

Kenneth Branagh: “In 20 seconds, my life was turned upside down.”

Kenneth Branagh can pinpoint the end of his childhood innocence to a single moment in time. “I was heading back in for my tea, having been called by the bush telegraph of my mum yelling on the front step, and that cry being carried, relay-style, by half a dozen other mums until I got theContinue reading “Kenneth Branagh: “In 20 seconds, my life was turned upside down.””