Tuesday 25 July 2017

Mozart was my most intimidating role, says War & Peace actor Aneurin Barnard

He stars in new movie Interlude in Prague.

By Laura Harding

War & Peace star Aneurin Barnard has said his new role playing Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart has been more intimidating than any other historical figure he has taken on.

The Welsh actor has played numerous real-life people including photographer David Bailey, King Richard III and Cilla Black’s partner Bobby Willis, but he said performing as one of the greatest composers of all time in new movie Interlude In Prague was even more challenging.

He told the Press Association: “It’s a tricky thing to step into the shoes of someone who is so well known, like Mozart, especially were you are stepping into elements of his life that were truth and elements which weren’t.

“You are bastardising truth and extending it to create a new world, so I guess it’s trying to make him believable in this story and nodding my head to what happened in history, using things I knew that had happened to him and then trying to influence the story we tell with that.

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“It’s a very small part about playing this role, we then have to get into the musical mind of this man, the genius of this man, the backstory of what he went through as a child that affected him as a young man later on.

“I’ve had experiences before of stepping into characters that come from history but this one was a lot more nerve-wracking at the beginning because there is another element, it’s not just trying to recreate them as a human being but also looking as convincing as Mozart would on a harpsichord or conducting in front of an orchestra, so it’s also trying to pretend to be a genius musician, which is a tricky one.”

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Aneurin, who played Boris Drubetskoy in the BBC’s lavish adaptation of War & Peace, added that the hours of practice he took on were probably even harder on his neighbours than they were on him.

Speaking on the film’s set in the Czech capital, he said: “There are some little trickeries but there are elements where I do play and there have been a lot of pieces I’ve had to get underneath my brain, which has been very difficult and very wonderful at the same time.

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“I’ve always wanted to learn more on the piano but to learn a harpsichord is very different because the range is different, the harmony is different, the position of your hands is different.

“I have had a modern piano, which is like a period harpsichord, which has been in my hotel room and my apartment wherever we have been going, so god help my neighbours listening to me hammering out Mozart 24/7 for the past six weeks.”

Interlude In Prague is released in UK cinemas on May 25.

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