Which are you most looking forward to seeing on the big screen?
I was shown some of the concept art a while back, and there’s all sorts of stuff I can’t wait to see. Apart from the huge things, like the cities and the Shield wall, I’m looking forward to seeing what the airship Jenny Haniver looks like - it becomes the nearest thing the main characters have to a home once their adventures begin, so I spent a lot of time aboard it in my imagination.
Have you seen Robert in films/TV before?
I must confess I hadn’t - I’m a bit out of touch with the movies these days. But I think he’ll be great as Tom.
The main character, Tom Natsworthy, a young orphaned boy, is somewhat naïve to the effects of conquering another city and what that means to its inhabitants. He soon gets a first-hand look at what it’s like on the other side of that equation. Even so, his perspective is slow to change. How do you see Tom’s transformation coming to fruition in the span of a movie?
I can’t be sure that the movie Tom will take exactly the same journey as the book Tom. In the book he’s a bit useless - he’s scared all the time, and whenever he tries to help he just makes things worse. I’m not sure that would work in a big action movie, he’ll need to be a bit more heroic! But he definitely starts off as a good Londoner, believing everything he’s been told about the city, and his adventures will open his eyes to a few truths about the world...
Will Tom’s age be advanced for the film to match Robert’s or will Robert will be made to look younger, closer to Tom’s?
You mustn’t take anything I say about the movie as gospel truth, because I’m not directly involved with it, but I think movie-Tom will be older than book-Tom. That’s fine by me, because when I first wrote Mortal Engines Tom was in his early twenties, and I only made him a teenager when I realised I could publish it as a children’s book. It actually makes very little difference to the character, because London is a rather old-fashioned society where young men have to do as they’re told and respect their elders and betters.
Could you sum up Tom Natsworthy in three words ?
Decent. Honest. Impulsive.
There are several noteworthy characters in the book with unique personalities. Other than the main character, is there one character you’re particularly anticipating coming to the big screen?
Hester is my favourite character in the book. Tom daydreams about having adventures with a beautiful girl, but he ends up getting paired with Hester, who's violent, ruthless, angry, filthy, and hideously scarred. I was trying to make her as unlike the usual movie heroine as I could, so I’ll be very interested to see how she turns out on the screen!
Did you ever imagine a dream cast and are you pleased with the casting choices?
I sometimes toyed with a fantasy cast while I was writing, but that was so long ago that most of the actors I had in mind have grown too old or even died by now! But I think one of the things that Peter Jackson and his team are really good at is casting - the Lord of the Rings movies are full of actors who I’d never have thought of putting in those roles, but who turn out to be just right - so I’m confident they’ll find the right people. I’m very pleased with all the actors who’ve been announced so far, and looking forward to learning who else will be involved.
When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
I’ve always written, ever since I first learned how! Stories, comics, plays, sketches, movies… It was only in my late twenties that I decided to try and get something published, which is when I started writing Mortal Engines.
How long did it take you to write your book?
Mortal Engines took years. From the first inklings of the idea to actual publication must have been ten years at least. But I was working as an illustrator and doing lots of other things at the same time, so writing was very much a hobby - it wasn’t ten solid years!
Pantser or plotter?
I never plan things out in advance, because I get bored if I know what’s going to happen. I usually just know what sort of world I want to write about, and what the tone of the book will be, and I start writing and see what happens. And I go off down all sorts of blind alleys, and generate loads of scenes and characters who I end up not being able to use, but it all feeds in somehow, and a story starts to develop. Then I start to edit and edit and edit until it looks like a book.
How did you come up with names for your characters? And the cities?
I sort of collect interesting sounding words and save them up until I need a name for a character. ‘Natsworthy’ is a place on Dartmoor, just up the road from where I now live. Some of the other Mortal Engines characters have bird names, like Shrike, and Crome is named after a 19th Century artist. I took a walk through Brighton cemetery while I was writing the early drafts and came back with a lot of good names I’d read on gravestones - Pewsey, Gench, Beecroft (Beecroft got cut out!). As for the cities, most of the big ones are named after real cities. I thought it was very important that the Mortal Engines world should be this world in the future, it needed that little connection to reality. If they were made up cities on another planet it wouldn’t interest me at all, even though they could look just the same and the same story could unfold. So we have London and Anchorage and places. But there are lots of smaller traction towns as well, and those sometimes have made-up names.
Which of your characters was the most fun to write?
Hester, for sure. Also Chudleigh Pomeroy, who’s Tom’s boss, a rather pompous old historian. And the cyborg bounty hunter Shrike was fun, but I glanced at the book again recently and realised I'd made him speak ENTIRELY IN CAPITALS ALL THE WAY THROUGH - what was I thinking? It looks awful. I’d kind of like to change that in future editions, but I guess that would be cheating!
If you were abandoned on a desert island, which character from your book would you want to be trapped with?
Ha ha, none of them! I guess Tom, he’s a pretty dependable sort. Or Anna Fang, who would certainly find a way to escape. Valentine would a find a way to escape too, but he wouldn’t necessarily take me with him.
If you were writing a book about yourself, what would the title be?
I wouldn’t write such a book! I have a great title for a book about my illustrator friend Sarah McIntyre; we create books together for a slightly younger crowd than Mortal Engines, and she’s famous for her hats and brightly patterned frocks. We were at the Emirates Literature Festival in Dubai last week and everyone was amazed by her and asking her to pose for photos. We decided her autobiography should be called International Show-Off.
What's an aspect of being a writer that you didn't know about going in?
When I was writing Mortal Engines I was just worried about whether I could find a publisher for it - it seemed likely that no one would want it and I was just wasting my time. Then it got published, and I had all sorts of new worries - would I be able to think of another one, for instance. And looking back, I realise I knew almost nothing about the business side of being a writer: how to publicise myself, etc. I could probably have managed that far better.
If you could be a character in your book, which would it be?
I wouldn’t want to be anyone in Mortal Engines, that’s a very dangerous world! Lately I’ve been writing a series called Railhead which is sort of the opposite of Mortal Engines - the future again, but a much more hopeful, high-tech, progressive future; I’d like to live in that one please.
Any advice for new writers?
Read a lot, and make sure you read outside the genre you’re writing in. If you only read fantasy you won’t be able to write very interesting fantasy. Go off and read historical novels and science books and literary fiction and poetry and classics and everything else you can find: then you’ll have something more interesting to bring to the party. And write a lot. And re-write a lot; I never understood that when I was young, but so much of writing is about editing. It’s a lot like moviemaking in that way!
What was your first reaction when you knew that your book would be produced by Peter Jackson?
A massive YAY! It was unbelievable, really. And then nothing happened for years and years, so I had to assume that it wasn’t going ahead, and I sort of forgot about it and got busy doing other things. Then about a year ago I heard the movie was finally going into production, and people in New Zealand were going to be busy building all these things I’d dreamed up twenty years ago. It still feels quite unreal. I won’t fully believe it until I can see it at the cinema, and perhaps not even then.
Thanks so much to Kelly, Montse, Clara, Barb & Sarah, who all contributed questions xxx
Now that the epic 'The Wars of the Roses' is coming to an end in Kingston, The Sheehab would like to say a few thank-yous.
First, to the whole cast who did such an incredible job in all three plays and who took the audience with them on their epic journey (often for nine hours, and to the point of emotional exhaustion, and that's just the audience!). A never-to-be-forgotten experience. Special mentions to Rufus Hound, Imogen Daines, Joely Richardson, Alex Waldmann, Kare Conradi and Alex Hanson, although this list could easily include the whole cast.
(An unforgettable, surreal experience indeed, after which I can even say "I shushed Henry VI"! @Sheehangroupie)
Grateful thanks to the lovely Owen Oakeshott who was so helpful to us and to whom nothing was too much trouble. We LOVED all the blogs! Actor, writer, autograph hunter - is there nothing that man can't do well! In fact he gained the gratitude of Erinn to such an extent that on her second visit Rob was not the only one showered with 'giftys'! The Owen Oakeshott Appreciation Society is surely only a matter of time!
(I do refer to Erinn as "Owen's groupie" now! @Sheehangroupie)
To Michael Xavier who we couldn't believe had never done Shakespeare before. Superb performance as the Duke of Clarence, and whatever roles he plays in the future, 'Sexy Suffolk' is the part he will forever be known for at The 'Hab'! Also courier and GPS extraordinaire. Anyone for a 'Sexy Suffolk' Fan Club?!
(That is true, Erinn & Co. followed him like a GPS to find their way to the theatre, which gave us time to bond before trilogy day! He didn't even run away when a weird lady - might have been me - asked him to deliver gifts to her medieval imaginary husband! And as we all agreed he has a remarkable, sexy voice, the Hab officially adopted him! @Sheehangroupie)
And last, but by no means least, to Robert Sheehan whose performances as Richard III, if we're being honest,took us to Kingston in the first place. (The clue's in the name, Shee-Hab!). He was showered with so many 'dubious' gifts that he had to thank us twice! Above all else (and there's plenty else!) a brilliant actor. His Richard III (or 'Misshapen Dick' as Erinn persists in calling him) has been added high on our 'all-time favourites' list of Rob-performances (and God knows we've had a few to choose from.) Great 'actoring' Rob. Hope to see you back on stage soon!
(We will be eternally grateful to Sir Trevor Nunn for his brilliant, brilliant idea to serve to us our favorite actor on this magnificent silver platter! @Sheehangroupie)
We've all had a blast, we're all nearly bankrupt,travelling from far and wide and at ungodly hours to watch The Wars of The Roses,often more than once. Would we do it all again? You betcha!
(Oh I would fly back to England and go bankrupt again any day, my only regret was watching the trilogy only twice! @Sheehangroupie)
So thanks to all involved it's been emotional, and not just on stage!!!
Love from The Sheehab Xxx
You know how sometimes you look forward to something for so long that when it finally happens you're sure it'll be an anti-climax? That's how I felt about seeing Richard III, especially after so many good reviews and so many personal recommendations! There was no need to worry, it was an amazing three hours of theatre. Rob was mesmerising as Richard and I'm pretty sure it wasn't just me who was an emotional wreck by the time he died (not really a spoiler!) My other half said to me afterwards that he could understand why women/girls found Rob so attractive as he has such charisma!! Anyway, front row stalls, brilliant view and I personally think one of, or possibly the, best performances of Rob's career so far. Richard was a brilliant mixture of evil and humour, and there is no doubt hours of thought and rehearsal went into the performance. I kind of thought the performance summed up what we know of Rob’s character- serious about his work but with a wicked sense of humour! The huge ovation at the end was well-deserved.
I could carry on about Richard III for ages but I guess those who are able to see it already have and those that can't live too far away. Check out the trailer Rob recently posted if you want a flavour, I actually flinched when he was spat on!
Q and A
After the performance chairs were set out on the stage for the main actors plus the assistant director. The assistant apologised for the delay and said the actors would join us as soon as they could, once changed out of their costumes. Joely Richardson, Michael Xavier, Kare Conradi, Alex Waldmann and Imogen Daines soon joined us. 'We're just waiting for Robbie now,' (surprise, surprise!) and the questions started without him. Eventually he strode onto the stage complete with man-bun, black boots and tight jeans (!!!!) apologising for the delay and muttering about a 'wardrobe malfunction' - nobody dared ask!!
Some of the questions were quite serious, and amongst others, Rob was asked if it was difficult not to copy Laurence Olivier's interpretation of the role. He said he had only seen snippets of that performance, had watched Kevin Spacey in the role but felt it was important to bring his own 'take' on the part. The assistant director pointed out that Rob was the right age to play the role, because many actors 'play younger' for the part, and Rob corrected her when she gave Richard's age when he died as 35,- ' he was actually 32' he said proudly.
One of the girls in the audience asked Rob if the calipers he wore for the part were heavy and hurt and he said they were very lightweight but had hurt and then two of his 'butch friends' bent them into shape for him so they were not too bad! He did say that his hip and back hurt from contorting his body, (Michael Xavier said everyone got to hear about it when Rob was in pain!) He told us he regular went to a 'camp Austrian osteopath' to sort his hip and back out. 'All Richard The Thirds use him, he's very good'!!!!! Anyone not familiar with Rob's sense of humour before was now enjoying it, judging by the laughs!
The cast were asked how they managed to get through nine hours of Shakespeare without fading away. Imogen Daines said they survived on masses of chocolate, and Rob said that they particularly loved Maltesers and 'all donations would be gratefully received!'
Talking again about the trilogy performances, (nine hours worth as Erinn and others can testify), Joely Richardson said that you would normally have nine weeks to rehearse for one play, but they had nine weeks to rehearse all three, so three weeks per play, a VERY short time. Several examples were given of the cast calling characters by their wrong names, and they all had times when they had to really concentrate as to which play they were performing. Rob said he was about to go on stage one day (in dress rehearsals) and one of the behind-the-scenes people asked if he had forgotten anything- he looked down - no calipers!
One of the audience members said he thought it was amazing how much Richard/Rob's character changed from the Edward IV play to the Richard III one. Alex Waldmann (a great actor in his own right) said he thought Rob's acting was superb, and the assistant director said Rob had the skill to bring about the change in character and how well she thought he played the part.
Kare Conradi was asked if any of the other cast members could speak Norwegian and Michael Xavier and Rob said unfortunately they were both a bit lazy when it came to foreign languages, and the Norwegians put them to shame. However Kare had taught Rob how to say 'What are you wearing?' in Norwegian! Rob then said the phrase in Norwegian (or we assume he did, by that stage he had the audience eating out of his hand so he could have been speaking Swahili and noone would have cared!) Apparently he learnt it to freak out a Norwegian friend of his - again we didn't ask why which is probably just as well! (or is it just my warped mind?)
Joely Richardson said that the cast often felt that the audience should be applauded as much as the cast, especially if they saw all three plays. There was therefore a nice touch when the Q and A finished when the audience applauded and the cast applauded back. So I have now been applauded by Robert Sheehan himself, as have (by proxy) all other Sheesters who have seen the play(s).
There are probably bits of this Q and A I've missed as I wasn't taking notes, and the man-bun on top of the three-hour play were frankly mentally exhausting! The main Rob parts are there though. He was serious and funny in equal parts, rather like in the play!.
Three main regrets
1) I didn't take a photo of the q and a because no-one else did, but frankly who can't imagine Rob in tight jeans and man-bun being both serious and funny!
2) I was in the middle of a row so couldn't get out quick enough to get an autograph. By the time I got out of my row Rob was exiting stage left, arm round Imogen, no doubt planning which pub to go to. Still, already have an autograph, so can't complain!
3) Finding out via a fellow guest that all the cast were in a pub three doors up from where we spent the evening!
Still, mustn't complain, although I now know what Erinn means by a 'massive fan-girl comedown', if only I'd been able to see all three! If you can only see one of them do go if you can-he’s seriously brilliant!
I've always been told that "...your first celebrity crush spoiled you so much he ruined it for all your future celebrity crushes!", so I thought it was just me having too much high expectations and I was planning to skip this second chapter of my report entirely.
But then, when the sun was rising upon the Thames in front of us on Sunday morning, sheester Erinn, Jenny and Sarah said goodbye to me and vehemently agreed that, no matter how harsh, Chapter II needs to be written: "Go ahead! Write all about this!" - they encouraged me in a rebellious tone – "Yeah Sheehangroupie, have no mercy!". They left, reassured that I was soon going to publically reveal their sad inner feelings and speak their minds in a way that they would never dare to. In fact, less than 12 hours later, they were already tweeting to him, in a remarkably less rebellious tone: "Aaaww poor baby, you were so tired, weren't you?! Thank you for your time! Please rest, sweetie! I LOVE YOU!" (I can never stay mad at him! E x)
All right, all right, I'll do this... I have been his groupie for a long time, he knows by now that I am one grumpy bitch and yes, I may have written "Let's call it even" to him a tad too soon and oh boy, he's not going to like Chapter II... I'm not particularly worried though: even if I put it black and white that I hate him, who is ever going to believe me?!
Because groupies cannot just work to finance their favorite hobby, we have rules: I only travel for my celebrity crushes if they perform live for at least one hour, and the distance is proportional to the length of the performance. I will come to the USA for your solo tour, I will not even travel to Milan if you're playing for half a hour in a music fest with ten other bands. Even I cannot find words to say how grateful I am that, to entertain us, Rob decided to embark in this physically, mentally and vocally exhausting project, and on THIS side of the Atlantic Ocean! So don't get me wrong: going to London and watch the trilogy twice was money well spent! So well spent that I have to split this report into two chapters because my new, beloved imaginary husband Richard must not pay for our fangirl's "resentment" towards the actor who plays him.
But nope. This time we do not have much material, stories, photos and videos to make you dream, but I'll still try to make you feel like you were there too, during that grand total of 35 seconds that I had the privilege to spend with Our Majesty...(Or Our Misshapen Dick, as I like to call him ;) E x)
So, let's start from the beginning."I am going to be there for 4 days." - I told sheester Judy weeks before going to London – "There is no chance in hell that he will not piss me off! I'll better avoid him, I cannot let him ruin my Richard III sexual-fantasy, my Richard III sexual-fantasy is way too expensive!". "Right! Get your priorities straight!", she encouraged me. Too bad, I was clearly not destined to start off on the right foot...
Erinn and the other founding members of the Sheehab, Irish sheesters Rachel and Sue, had just asked me and Judy to become Head Sheesters, because running The Sheehab can be a rather time-consuming job if you're also trying to have a life and it requires trusthworthy, highly qualified personnel. Judy and I, both slightly reluctant to make such a big commitment but still both willing to promote Rob's talent, took a few days to discuss the matter and decided that we were going to wait a couple more days and then declare ourselves unworthy of such noble title but honored to accept the role of co-administrators, skipping the coronation and just keeping our News Agent and Italian Correspondent current, less binding positions. (And I'm so bloody grateful they agreed - aren't they doing a fab job? E x)
In the meantime, Head Sheester Erinn went to Richard III preview with sheester Sarah and sheester Jenny...
...and they spent some good 20 minutes with Rob, who had twitter-invited them for drinks at the bar after the show (it was actually a tweet aimed at the general public, but I chose to take it as an invite lol! E x) and twitter-thanked them with tonguey kisses the next day: (Still waiting for an actual tonguey kiss from him, but I live in hope haha! E x)
I was 100% sure he had no fucking clue when and what our anniversary exactly was. FYI, by "anniversary" I mean the first time I travelled for him, stalked him outside the Old Vic theatre where he recognized me and came to me and I promised to be his groupie for a long time – I wasn't talking shit, was I?!
So, I had not planned to watch Henry VI on October 7th, our anniversary, but I arrived to the Rose Theatre in time to stalk him after the show. I waited at the bar for the show to end and few minutes later he stormed out of the backstage, walked through the bar and out of the theatre without even taking a look around. I decided to pretend he did not know I was there, I swallowed down my lesbian pride and followed him outside. Alex Waldmann, who was walking with him to the station, saw me and frowned, so I gestured him to shush while I walked after Rob tickling his face from behind with a red rose. Rob walked on pretending not to notice, so I did it again. This time he cried out a surprised little scream like aaahhh, which sounded so fake that for a moment I felt ashamed to say that he is my favourite actor because he can act! Finally he caved in, stopped and turned around, thank you very much.
"Happy anniversary!" I said, handing out the rose to him.
He recognized me, a tad too fast for his surprise to be believable, hey'ed me and asked me how I was, pointing out that we had not seen each other since when he was in Rome...
"Yeah, we have not seen each other in 632 days..." - I said - "Not that I'm counting, you SMUG!". He laughed, probably honestly a little surprised to find me so chatty, as I've always resorted to written words and done my best not to talk to him in the past. In fact, this time too I immediately handed him a letter envelope. Inside it, just an anniversary card...
I've always kept my distance unless he makes physical contact first, so his giant green bulbs popped out of his eye-sockets for a moment, more worried than surprised this time. Then he said something about how nice of me to come see the plays and I commented that "Yeah, you see? I'm being nice with you for a change...".
"I have a train to catch..." he told me, looking at Henry VI walking away without him.
"Don't worry, I have three whole days to stalk you."
"I have not seen the play tonight" – I explained - "I'm starting tomorrow and the next day, then trilogy day with Erinn on Saturday."
"I am busy tomorrow night but I'll be around here tomorrow." - he said and - "I'm not much in the first play though..." he informed me, almost apologetically.
"I know, DUH! What kind of incompetent groupie do you think I am?!" I thought, but said goodbye to him instead and let him go.
As I later tried to explain to sheester Sarah who always tries to see the glass half full, my glass permanently lays shattered on the floor so, obviously, when my celebrity crush tells me "I am busy tomorrow night but see you around...", to me that automatically means "Leave me alone!". In fact, the next day I watched the first two plays sneaking in and out of the theatre like a burglar, as fast as I could as soon as they started and ended and, ironically enough, I left with another tall green-eyed curly hot guy I met there. Because when I'm on groupie-mode is the only time I'm not officially gay, I must say I tend to forget how fucking easy it is to be straight.
Anyway, I got drunk and didn't sleep much that night, so I was planning to sleep it off that Friday until Richard III play in the evening. But then, when the sun started to go down, my sense of guilt started to rise up. Thanks to past experiences and mindful of how some celebrity crushes' egoes work at times, I started thinking if I don't stalk him at all, he might think I am not enjoying his shows, that I don't love him anymore, he'll go bitch about me with the press accusing me to cheat on him with Siouxie and the Banshees...
So I got up, wrote my hundredth thank-you note for him, bought another rose hissing through my teeth how fucking stupid this was and went in front of the theatre, which was three steps away from my hotel anyway. In The Wars of The Roses, red roses represent the House of Lancaster, while white roses are for the House of York, so my first rose was red because it was for Robert, for our anniversary. This time I picked a white rose instead, because this thank-you note was explicitly for my new imaginary husband Richard, not for Robert.
I had no intention to wait for him for long. Most of the cast was backstage already, as he probably was too, while the rest of the actors who share the dressing-room with him passed me by one by one, running to the stage door, including Michael Xavier. I stopped him and asked him to give my rose and my letter to Robbie. He graciously agreed, so I left and came back later for my first round of Richard III. I don't know if Rob saw it, I didn't ask him, I never do as it doesn't really matter once I've done my part.
After the play, I easily spotted three girls who just looked like they were waiting for Rob in the hallway between the exit and the bar, just like I was. "I assume we are here for the same curly reason...?". So I met yet another one of his many Italian fans. She's recently moved to London and I vaguely remembered her from two years ago, cursing the whole country of Russia and all the Russians in it because she wanted to come up to Rome from South Italy to meet Rob at Anita B premiere but she couldn't, due to a Russian-language exam she had that day.
Rob soon came out of the backstage and spent quite some time at the bar. From where we were standing, I couldn't see who he was with, nor I wanted to go bother him, so I just waited with the girls, asking Marie to say my name over and over again because it sounds so damn sexy in her German accent. Finally he left, and heading towards the exit he stopped for us and came to me first, as I was the only one he already knew.
"You have another Italian groupie and you didn't tell me?!!" I nagged, introducing Rossana to him.
"Yay! Italian groupies!" he said hugging us both. The third girl asked to take pictures, he said "Sure!" and he was ready to strike a pose with one Italian groupie on each side when I promptly slipped away from under his arm 'cause I'm a privacy-freak. I watched the girls taking pictures with him instead...
...and then he hugged me again and thanked me again for coming tonight to see the play.
"You nearly fucking killed me, man!" I told him, still weak on my knees for his post-nightmare weeping scene.
"Good! That was the intention!" he commented, walking away.
"Ah well, how nice, thank you! See you tomorrow..."
"See you tomorrow!".
To be at the theatre in time, the next day sheester Erinn, Sarah and Jenny woke up a little earlier than usual for a Saturday... (I was on the 6.45am train! E x)
...but they made it in time and then we finally met before watching the three plays together.
Sheester Sarah immediately asked me why I had never really talked to her on twitter, so I explained that I consider her my rival since The Mortal Instrument event at the Apple Store three years ago: "You wrote poetry for him and you gave it to him. That's my thing, I cannot tolerate that!". So we agreed to sword-fight later during the breaks between the plays but then we didn't because we were too busy talking about misshapen dicks and our nasty Sheexual fantasies. Of course I haven't missed a chance (I never do) to remind to Head Sheester Erinn that she has not yet fashioned those Sheehab gadgets we asked for 3 years ago, the sheehanators. “I actually almost did, this time” - she apologized - “but then I thought this might have been labelled as going too far...” (You don't want to know what these are - just know that I am, in fact, a giant pervert! E x) “Well, I'm sad but all right, next time... Don't make them misshapen though...” I said, while wise sheester Sarah behind me was suggesting that I should “ ...not underestimate that sometimes misshapen can be even better...”.
After the plays, we went to the bar. Erinn went speaking to her new favorite actor Owen Oakeshott (It's true - I'm gonna start the Owen Oakeshott Fanclub next! E x) because they had "business to do", while the other five of us established our nest on the table closest to the main ways out of the bar that Rob could have possibly found, piling on it all the gifts they had brought for him. And then we waited. Apparently there was some sort of press event upstairs, so we waited a long, long time. For those fans who wish they were there with us and want to know how that feels like...:
Me, optimistic as always: "I told you, you shouldn't have come with me! He's avoiding me, that bastard!"
Erinn, stolid: "He's coming, let's just wait."
Me, bitterly: "Ah, I'm not going any-fucking-where! I'm absolutely sure I will never ever see him again and he knows I'm leaving tomorrow so if you're wrong, I'm gonna write the shittiest review the world has ever seen!"
Jenny, wisely: "What if the bar closes and they kick us out?"
Sarah, tragically: "I'm going to chain myself to the table!"
Erinn, starting to vape her nauseatingly-sweet apple & cinnamon e-cig (I like it! E x): "He's coming, let's just wait. He knows we are here, he'd never be so rude!" (Because he's a good Irish boy & his Mammy raised him right ;) E x)
Rossana, worried: "Are we sure he's still here? What if he escaped from the stage door in the back?"
Me, heavily swearing in Italian: "Good point!"
Sarah, suddenly panicking: "Come on Sheehangroupie, let's go have a smoke and take a look!"
Erinn, stolid yes but vaping like an old train: "He's coming, let's just wait. He knows we are here, he's not going to be so rude..." (See above lol! E x)
Few minutes later...
Me, getting back into the bar: "I don't think he escaped from the stage door."
Sarah, following me back in: "There's still a chance though that he's gone down a drain pipe to avoid us... It can get slippery if he's wearing his skinny jeans, I hope he didn't fall off..."
Erinn, still trying to sound stolid and to reload her e-cig with shaky hands: "He'll come, he'll come, let's just wait... He knows we are here, I don't think he'd be so rude..."
Me: "Fucking hell, I can't take this! I feel sick, I think I'm gonna vomit."
One hour later...
Me: "Fucking hell, I can't take this! I feel sick, I think I'm gonna vomit."
Erinn, dramatically less stolid, in a thick cloud of vapour: "He's coming, I guess... Let's just wait a little longer... He knows we are here... He's not that rude... I guess..."
Me: "Rossà, isn't it getting too late for you?"
Rossana: "Well yeah but... the kids I'm baby-sitting broke down a heater and flooded the house this morning. If they've done that again since I left them to come here, they're probably drowned by now so that's okay, I can wait for Robbie a little longer..." (Hahahahahahaha!!!!!! A girl with her priorities right! E x)
Me, nervously dismembering her hairdo and braiding her hair back again: "Fucking hell, I can't take this! I feel sick, I think I'm gonna vomit."
Sarah, making the table shake under her shaky hands: "Relax! Look at me, I'm perfectly calm!"
Me, holding down the trembling glasses: "You do not look particularly calm, dear..."
In the meantime, a few members of the cast came downstairs every now and then and were nice enough to talk to us. Then finally, Rob came down. Super-fast round of hugs and thanks, but not even enough time to show him the gifties because we were abruptly interrupted and forced out of the closing bar. (I was actually really cross about this - we were spoken to incredibly rudely by the member of staff at the Rose, which was wholly unjustified! E x)
We all went out behind him, thinking he was planning to dedicate a few more seconds to us once outside. Much to our surprise, he just crossed the street and walked away with other people. I could have born the thought to end it there and bitch about it later but he had not even taken Erinn and Sarah's gifts so they followed him (like the psycho's we clearly are! E x) and he stopped again on the sidewalk. He took their bag of gifts, inside which I suddenly decided to throw a couple more things I had written. In the meantime, Erinn asked him why he had unfollowed the Sheehab. "Ehm... It's ... Wel... Mp... I mean... Ehm... You know..." after about a minute and a half of stuttering nonsense, he managed to explain that he's not a twitter person and that he gets bored easily. "I had already told you that 2 weeks ago in a much more credible, intelligible manner, Erinn", I commented when he left.
"Okay, I feel like I'm going to cry now..." said Erinn, looking at him go. (You see? Psycho! E x)
"Me too..." we all agreed in unison. That's "the fangirl comedown", as Erinn calls it, and I have seen this happening so many times before: you know this is your last show (in this case the "last day of shows", something I myself have never experienced before!) and you know you may never see him again, or at least not for a very, very long time and that's a piercing, unique brand of irrational despair that not many fangirls can handle. (The Feels will kill you every single time! E x) But I swore to myself: "Ah! No fucking way! I barely ever cry for anything, I'm not gonna cry for this!" We said goodbye to Marie and Rossana as they're too young to be allowed into pubs and then we realized we weren't allowed into pubs either because it was too late. So we decided to go to my room. We stopped on our way, Sarah and Erinn went into a shop to buy drinks and food. When they came out three minutes later, they found me sat on the sidewalk weeping on Jenny's lap. Erinn had the decency to wait to be in my room first, while Sarah used her mental-hospital-nurse skills (incredibly appropriate, given our situation) to swallow down the tears and not go to her fangirling "dark place", as she calls it.
Truth is, no matter how nice your celebrity crush can be with you, you know you'll never be as important to him as he is to you and he very rarely can compensate for your efforts so you will, inevitably, feel stupid as fuck: "Here, mommy made dinner... Have some old bread-crust and sink water. Enjoy..." says Erinn to her kids to save money for plays and hotel (I feel a visit from Social Services coming on!! I joke, of course - both children are extremely well cared for & well-nourished. I do have a fair few overdue bills now though lol! E x), while I land into Gatwick mumbling to myself "He's costing me a fucking grand! I should have got myself an iPad Pro instead! It has four speakers! He's only got one larynx! Yet here I am, with my iPhone 3!".
"I hate him! He's a life-ruiner!" cried Erinn on my bed, although that wasn't the heat of the moment, she always calls him that. (It's true - he is a life-ruiner! He cripples me with feels on a daily basis! But at the same time, he's too bloody wonderful to not love! E x)
"No we don't hate him, we wish! We hate ourselves!" I barked back at her.
"I KNOW! Fangirling at our age is unhealthy!! Why the fuck do we do this everytime?! What's wrong with us?!"
"No no no, NO, don't go there!" panicked Sarah "I do NOT allow to ask myself that question!".
So, in conclusion, and not to disrespect (far be it from me!) that ungrateful asshole of my favourite actor, whom I love dearly, I must admit that the best fangirling part of this entire operation had not much to do with him: it was the night we spent on my bed, like in the good ol' groupie-days, sharing complaints, laughters, sobs and fangirl-stories. (This is true - mashing crisps & chocolate into our faces, crying, laughing & swearing a fuckload like the classy, classy ladies that we are! And it's my favourite thing about being a part of The Sheehab - the camaraderie, the friendships & the fun we all have together; I wouldn't trade it for the world <3 E x)
But all kidding aside, we are not teenagers anymore, we have not been teenagers in a long time actually, (Speak for yourself lol! I know, I'm not kidding anyone!! E x) so we are well aware that he is working his ass off, that he had been trapped inside that theatre for fifteen hours straight, that each of us would kill whoever tries to approach us after a day like that and that he had to fly away early the morning after for an important family event.
On the other hand, we are not teenagers anymore, we have not been teenagers in a long time, so when we are sad, we bitch and nag like adult women: fiercely and relentlessly! As for me personally, I blame this all on his mother and his girlfriend. If at least one of them was still in London, like I did in Rome with his mum I would have much rather stalked them, avoided him completely, enjoyed Richard and made it back to Rome with a bigger smile on my face! Much bigger if I had managed to actually steal his hot girlfriend, as I too like my women petite.
Well, next time...
It may look illogical to some people that The Sheehab, an Irish actor's British-based fanclub, would leave the herculean task to review a Shakespeare trilogy at the Rose Theatre in London to their Italian Correspondent - but we've always been a notoriously dysfunctional fanclub, so newbies please don't be surprised.
Head Sheester Erinn gave me my first hint that this was going to happen when, a couple of days after Richard III first preview on September 25th, which she attended with sheester Sarah and sheester Jenny, I asked her if she was done writing her review yet and her response was:
Well, you know... I have the kids, and I just tripped over my dog twice this morning...". (True story!! E x)
"You're gonna leave all the Shakespearean complicated crap to me, aren't ya?"
"No no, don't worry, I'll get to it...". (HA! It's taken we a week just to post this & I didn't even have to write it!! E x)
She still had not found the time when I had my second, final clue that, in general, the British don't know that much more about Shakespeare than I do, as soon as I sat in the theatre to watch my first play, Henry VI, the matinee on Wednesday October 8th, and looked at the regal coffin dominating the centre of the empty stage.
"Whose coffin are we looking at?", asked me the old, elegant British gentleman sitting next to me.
"Ehm... I believe that's Henry V's, Sir.".
"Huh. It makes sense, you're probably right... Have you seen the other two plays already?"
"Not yet, but I'm about to. Twice."
"Well, yes. Since I flew here just for this, and here is a thousand miles away from home..."
"Where are you from?!" - he asked, examining my slutty clothes.
"Wow! You must be a big Shakespeare fan then!"
"No Sir, I'm just a groupie, this is what groupies do.".
"The guy with the curls on the poster?"
"Yeah, that one.".
I already knew watching the trilogy twice was going to be the best possible choice for me when I read Sir Trevor Nunn saying that "Every single time you perform a play, it's just one more chance to get it right.". That reminded me of when I saw Rob playing the lead role in Playboy of the Western World four years ago at the Old Vic. Because it was just one short play (short compared to The Wars of The Roses!), I watched that play three times, which gave me a chance to notice all the little things that can go right or wrong during a live performance: a prop falling in the wrong place, Rob quickly adjusting a rope around his waist that wasn't fitting right, or just how different the ditty he sang while polishing his girl's boots sounded in each show, especially in the matinee when he was trying to save his voice for the evening performance. It was hard to spot anything like that in The Wars of The Roses, all I could notice was Robert laughing differently through one of his monologues from one night to the other and a tent getting stuck to the stage balcony (but that was just for a second, then Superman masked as Owen Oakeshott in a Sir Richard Ratcliff costume flew in and saved the world...).
I do envy Rob's fans who can bear to watch this only once or even just miss it entirely. Clearly they've never followed their favorite band on tour or they'll know that having your celebrity crush performing live in the same continent, in the same country, in the same town, in the same venue for several nights in a row is a luxury, a time&money-saving treat I would never have the guts to deny myself. From my distorted point of view, this was actually "smart economy" on my part!
"I think Shakespeare invented most things in the entertainment business, I think he was writing film scripts hundreds of years ahead the invention of film. And very obviously, he invented the long running series, as in this chronicle.”, said Sir Trevor Nunn in a recent interview. ”And therefore he invented the box set. The real excitement these days is to get your box set and dedicate a whole day when you can watch it beginning to end.” he says, and I totally agree. Sadly, this is not really a box set that I can store on my DVD shelf to re-watch it later and that's another reason why I would have regretted watching it only once.
Because basically until the last minute I wasn't sure if I was going to be able to take days off where I work during our busiest month of the year, I had long before booked pit cushions (they're very cheap) for the most likely days, and only booked real seats later on. My initial plan was to watch Henry VI and Edward IV on the 8th with pit cushions, then again pit cushion the next day for Richard III and then trilogy day on Saturday with real seats. But then, at the last minute, I didn't want to spend six hours on the floor and I knew Rob is not often on stage in Henry VI so I changed that first pit cushion for a real seat in the pit area, which means first rows yes, but not as "first row" as seating on the floor at the foot of the stage. Jesus Christ, I hadn't been oh-so-very-much-first-row since when I used to fix my make-up on my favorite musician's mirrored guitar! I'm really, really happy I did not change those other pit cushions and watched Edward IV and Richard III literally knelt at Robert's feet!
Now, I know there are some sheesters around the world who, if only they had it, would not hesitate to invest an embarrassingly large amount of money and then starve for months to go see Rob in The Wars Of The Roses, and I know they expect me to let them see it through my eyes like I did with Anita B and The Road Within premiere in Rome. I will try to sum it up for you, so you can understand which kind of roles Rob played and in which context he played them but mind you, this time it won't be so easy. This is a monumental nine-hours trilogy that squeezes four Shakespeare's history plays (Henry VI part I, II and III, plus Richard III) into three plays. They start off with the death of King Henry V in 1422 and end with the death of King Richard III (aka Robbie, here and after known as "Our Richard", or most likely "Our Misshapen Dick", if Erinn gets to edit this review)(He'll always be our Misshapen Dick from now on! E x) in 1485. That's over 60 years of dynastic wars for the throne of England and it's rather complicated because all the different characters are related and pass on the same names (Henry, Edward, Richard...) and the same titles (Duke of York, Duke of Gloucester, King of England...) from one generation to the next. Robbie's Richard, for instance, is just "Richard" the son of Richard Plantagenet Duke of York at first, then he's dubbed Richard of Gloucester, then crowned King Richard III. Here's a brilliant example, this is old Queen Margaret talking to Our Richard's mother, Duchess of York:
I had an Edward, till a Richard kill'd him;
I had a Henry, till a Richard kill'd him:
Thou hadst an Edward, till a Richard kill'd him;
Thou hadst a Richard, till a Richard killed him;"
I was in fact very surprised when our news-agent sheester Judy first brought to my attention the controversy on Trevor Nunn's "white-washing" choice to have an entire cast of white people to portray a bunch of British and French medieval nobles: "WHAT?! Not even a black Dauphin of France or an Asian King Henry of England?!" - I replied - "Oh well then Judy, if it's not confusing enough, I'm not going!". Now, I'm no expert, I'm just a fangirl but, keeping in consideration how complicated the plot is and that almost all the actors play from two to four or more roles through the tour-de-force of this trilogy, at the risk of sounding racist, allow me to express my modest, unprofessional opinion as briefly as I can and then I'll just move on: oh fucking please, give him a break!
That said and before I go into the Sheehan-core of this, let me highlight a few things that impressed me about The Wars Of The Roses. Really just a few because this has already taken four days out of my life and I still have a lot of stuff to cover.
As sheester Sarah and I both agreed that we would have loved to live in the Middle Ages just to dress like that, let me start with the costumes. Oh the costumes! Just as I expected, from the rags of the poor to the Cardinal gown, I loved every single one of them! Not only the sight of my favorite actor in black velvet clothes, sexy boots and metallic accessories was a joy for my eyes compared to his usual headache-inducing multi-coloured patterns but, being a Goth, I of course already own Duke of Exeter's exact same outfit, I couldn't stop drooling over Lady Grey's long red dress and I absolutely have to get myself a chainmail mini-skirt, which would look smashing with my boots!
What I did not expect, fervent atheist that I am, who truly despises King Henry VI when she reads it on paper and just wants to punch him in the face as much as Queen Margaret does, was that Alex Waldmann made him so natural, believable and funny that, much to my surprise, I ended up liking that helpless, spineless bigot!
Speaking of Queen Margaret, I think I'm in love: Joely Richardson literally grows old through the plays. She starts off as a beautiful young princess, becomes a vengeful warrior queen who forces Richard of York (Misshapen Dick's dad) to wipe away his tears with a rag drenched in the blood of his youngest son Rutland (one of my favorite scenes!), and she ends the trilogy as a disgraced bitter and resentful old hag... her transformation is really creepy!
As much as I had never pictured Richard III looking or sounding anything like Robert, his father Richard of York was one of those lucky cases in which the actor, Alexander Hanson if I remember correctly, nicely matched my mind picture, especially when he gets really mad. And even though all actors spit a lot while they recite on stage, I think my Greatest Spitter Award goes to him: I thought I had to wash my hair during my stay but after three plays in the pit, by Friday night he had just splashed away my problem. He's actually really charming though, he came over to talk to us sheesters Saturday night and we asked him what we were all wondering: how can they remember so many lines?! He fairly pointed out that they had no choice, that in contemporary plays, if you forget a line, you can make up a new, similar one on the spot, whereas you cannot do that with Shakespeare poetry! He confirmed it's insane to have to remember all that stuff, that you just repeat the lines in your head over and over and you end up having nightmares about it.
"Are you actually dreaming in iambic pentameters?", I asked.
"Yes, yes I am!"
"Wow, I don't think that's healthy!"
"No, it is not!".
Oh and Michael Xavier is a fucking volcano. If it wasn't because of Our Richard, I think his flirty Suffolk in the first play might actually be my favorite guy in the whole trilogy! Plus he's got quite an interesting, powerful voice and you know me, I have a weakness for some male voices... That's why, of all the actors who passed me by, I thought it was appropriate to choose him as my mail man when I needed a gift to be delivered backstage to Rob.
Least but not last, I was honestly afraid to get bored with too much sword fighting but they were all one-to-one fast, engaging, splendidly choreographed fights and the group-fights ended up being some of my favorite bits! The slow motion effect to render the chaos of the battle was visually stunning, you feel like you've witnessed the entire battle in the span of three seconds! And if that isn't enough, you sit on the floor or on the corridors of pits and stalls and you will actually be in the battlefield, because they use the off-stage space an awful lot, actors are running around you all the time. Someone, in fact, commented that at some point she could have reached a hand out and grab on something but let's just leave it at that... (That MAY have been me..... ;) E x)
Our Misshapen Dick
In the first play, Henry VI, Rob is one of the French guys who follows King Charles of France and Joan of Arc, who were both sensational in each exhausting lead roles they played. Although Rob was on stage more than I thought in Henry VI, at least as long as France is involved, his Alençon is cute, funny, lanky, always with a drink in his hand... As painful for a fan as it may be, I think you can survive and forgive yourself for missing out on this character: just take a wild leap of the imagination and think of a medieval Rob dressed in chainmail and talking in verse and you pretty much got it... I myself had initially promised sheester Judy that I was going to be reasonable and watch Henry VI only once but then one thing led to another, sheester Erinn, Sarah and Jenny joined me for trilogy day that Saturday so in the end I watched that twice too because, well... it's just too cool to see actors play multiple roles in the same project, that really shows off their eclecticism. Some of them played so many roles I lost count and I could barely recognize them from one scene to the next: for instance, the only time I was sure I was looking at Rufus Hound is when I saw him outside on his motorbike!
What pains me to think you won't ever see and hear, and I wish I could tear out my eyes and ears to share it with you, is all that happens in the last two plays, girls. I don't even know where to start!
To put it in Rob's words:
"The thing about our Richard is there's a broader arc, in the sense that when you first meet him he's a little youngster who's quite in awe of his dad - he's just one of the middle brothers - you get clues as to where he's going but not that many."
You first meet Richard when he's rolling on the stage floor playing “catch the crown” with his brothers (Edward, George and the little Rutland), fighting over a paper toy-crown. A chilling preview of what's to come... But he's still a nice, loyal guy and of all his brothers, he soon shows to be the one who cares more about his father's right to be King of England and, in spite of his deformed body, proves himself an excellent warrior fighting at his side.
“From Richard’s point of view” - said Rob (not to me, in an interview!) - “you see a huge transformation from how he begins – not as Darth Vader – but as a young man who is in awe of his dad and goes to the embodiment of evil. It’s an incredibly huge span dramatically, timewise and everything else. That’s why it is rewarding. That’s why it is like a box set. The challenge has not been the Darth Vader stuff – Trevor’s going to kill me for saying Darth Vader – it has not been the gleeful, evil mischievous stuff. It has been more when Richard was younger and warmer and part of the family. That is actually trickier.”
When his father Richard of York is slain by Queen Margaret & Co. he, more so than his brothers George and Edward, explodes in fury: "Richard, I bear thy name; I'll venge thy death!" And here ends the part that Rob said he found more challenging to play and begins what I call the pornographic part for me. I never made it a mystery that I love the sickest villains, I've always had. I was the little girl ruling for Snowhite's evil Queen and Cruella and I grew up into that fan who first approached Rob by begging him to play Mephistopheles in Goethe's Faust, Dionysus in Euripides' Bacchae and Satan in Milton's Paradise Lost. Of all the roles Rob played so far, Richard III is no doubt the most evil one of all. When sheester Judy first announced me, back in June, that "It's Shakespeare time!", my immediate thought was "He's medieval, evil and he's live... the chances that I will not fall in love with his Richard are practically zero."
Right before heading to the theatre to see my first round of Richard III on Friday night, I remember reading a tweet by a woman who, just like me, had seen him playing Richard in Edward IV the night before and, just like me, was flipping out: "Oh my! Oh my! Robert Sheehan in The Wars Of The Roses playing Richard III was brilliant last night!! Cannot wait for the 3rd part at Rose Theatre! I am now in love with an evil, corrupt, sadistic and manipulative murderer! Is this wrong?!” I hear ya sister, I thought, and yes, it is probably wrong but this is not entirely our fault.
“Shakespeare's fundamental questions...” - I had read Sir Nunn explaining about these Shakespeare's plays - “...are why do we ignore the men of peace, we think of them as weak, or compliant, or to be mocked, as it happened in every century, and why are we intoxicated by the men of violence?” and to that I say: “Well I'm sorry but evil is sexy, and if you don't want me to lust over an evil, corrupt, sadistic and manipulative murderer, you may want to cast somebody else for the part!”.
Once his father is dead, all the resentment of a deformed boy transforms him into a young man whose only obsession is to become King of England. So many are the obstacles between him and that throne (Henry VI, his and Margaret's son, Richard's own brothers and all their heirs...), that seems nearly impossible he'll ever get to sit on it.
Likely for me, Richard does not have very high moral standards... Enemies, allies, relatives, friends, women and children, long in advance he plans carefully to eliminate all those obstacles, by either killing them personally or having them killed by others, but always in that cunning, mocking way that he very much enjoys and that will make him look innocent in the eyes of those still alive. He's not even ashamed to enjoy those little pleasures; with sadistic irony, he seems to arrange his horrendous murders so that they pleasantly fit in with his daily breaks: he wants to see Hasting's chopped-off head before lunch time, same as I do with The Walking Dead and he wants to hear all the details of his baby nephews' murder after dinner, like I do with Hannibal!
He's hilarious, machiavellian, ingenious and with his black humor he, more or less secretly, disrespects everything and everyone, even God. It was just delightful for me to watch him, a medieval man (I mean, there weren't many Bill Maher and Richard Dawkins back then...), dismiss the mandatory gesture to cross himself when going out of the church as he realized there was absolutely no point in doing that when there was no one else around to see it. There's also a whole scene where, rosary-beads cross around his neck and the Holy Bible in his hands, he pretends to be the pious, god-fearing Richard who declines the throne when the throne is offered to him, because he is too busy with all the prayers... Imagine a scene like the last episode of Misfits season 1, when Nathan pretends to be one of the good guys, set it in the Middle Ages and you'll get the idea.
Scene after scene, he gets worse and worse. In one in particular, he's all in a good mood and kind and friendly, asks for strawberries and exits just to re-enter soon after, barking at the other Lords like a mad man with a menacing twisted face!
Murder after murder, he slowly manages to clean his way to the throne and, speaking of ruling for the good guys, both times I heard that fanfare and finally saw him walking the boards in full King Richard III costume I went: "AAW, my love! Bravo!! I'm so proud of you! You managed to kill them all and now I can see you sit on that throne in your regal fury coat!" - and I squealed to everyone around me - "Aaw look! Look how pretty my Venus in Furs is with that crown on his head!!".
“Really? Even with the hump and the limp...?” asked me the funny old woman sat next to me on my second round...
Of the many things that might have worried me about his performance as Richard, the physical and mental energy to run up and down the stage all contorted for six hours, dragging a deformed calipered leg, a huge hump on his back and one useless arm in a sling while marvellously fighting with his one good arm and reciting poetry all at the same time, well... was not one of them. After what he did in The Road Within, I don't think anything like that will ever worry me again. But I remember when the trilogy was announced, I shared with sheester Judy my lack of faith in his ability to look as unattractive as Richard had always been in my head without the help of any CGI. When I re-read the plays in September, this time picturing him as Richard, I thought that was going to be weird to see everybody around him despising his looks, hating his personality, spitting at him, insulting him and calling him names such as "Misshapen Dick" (a pun for Richard's nickname "Dicky" and his deformed body that delighted Head Sheester Erinn beyond believe...). (I snorted so loudly in the theatre, I'm pretty sure the cast heard me! E x)
As he's not exactly equipped to be ugly, it was also weird to hear him going on and on in his monologues about his own ugliness:
But I, that am not shaped for sportive tricks,
Nor made to court an amorous looking-glass;
I, that am rudely stamp'd, and want love's majesty
To strut before a wanton ambling nymph;
I, that am curtail'd of this fair proportion,
Cheated of feature by dissembling nature,
Deformed, unfinish'd, sent before my time
Into this breathing world, scarce half made up,
And that so lamely and unfashionable
That dogs bark at me as I halt by them;
Why, I, in this weak piping time of peace,
Have no delight to pass away the time,
Unless to spy my shadow in the sun
And descant on mine own deformity:
And therefore, since I cannot prove a lover,
To entertain these fair well-spoken days,
I am determined to prove a villain!
Fortunately, Robbie is capable of making up for his natural lack of ugliness by contorting his face in every possible way, as you've seen him do many times before, albeit not live right in front of you for hours. I took a note of this four lines while reading the plays because I think they give you the idea how perfect he is to play Richard, in spite of the fact that he was more disturbingly gorgeous than ever:
Why, I can smile, and murder whiles I smile,
And cry 'Content' to that which grieves my heart,
And wet my cheeks with artificial tears,
And frame my face to all occasions.
Now let me get to what I know some of you are longing to hear, the real reason why he's my most expensive hobby and the reason why, to see The Wars Of The Roses, I would have crawled to London on my bare knees if I had to.
A sexy voice is not something easy to describe with words and frankly, his voice in a theatre is different than in any other place you've ever heard it before. In a theatre play, you're there with him in person, and you can enjoy his voice for a prolonged amount of time without actually having to interact with the overwhelming presence of your celebrity crush. It's live, it's all around you, you can feel every tiny little change in it. And in this project you really get to hear all its possible nuances, from reedy monologues to screeching whines to warrior's screams, all in a rhythmic, poetic patrician's Elizabethan accent!!! His vocal strength didn't fail once and this was basically a 12-hour orgasm. And I never doubted that this was going to be the result, in fact before even going to London, I kept on thinking of that lady in the USA who was arrested last year during Fifty shades of Grey for "questionable behaviour" in a movie theatre and I was saying to myself “I bet that's never happened with Shakespeare! At least not yet...”. Thanks to my past experience at the Old Vic, this time I was actually thinking this through, planning possible excuses for whoever may sit next to me such as: “Sorry Sir, it's just my phone vibrating...”. Anyway, I'm proud to report that, once again, I miraculously managed to stop myself from bringing any inappropriate tool with me into the theatre, I just stoically let him spew an endless amount of iambic pentameters at me, with my hands innocently displayed in full sight. (PMSL!!!!! E x)
But as you can imagine, after a whole day of Sheehan (or three days in a row in my case), by Saturday evening we were starting to show the first signs of a Sheehan-overdose. Half way through the last play, when sheester Sarah was already on her feet for her slightly-premature 45-minutes standing ovation, Erinn's legs were starting to twitch, kicking the people sat on the floor in front of her and I was panicking for the imminent stroke I knew I was about to risk, like the one I had risked exactly 24 hours earlier.
Erinn was at the box office when I first met her that Saturday morning, she didn't see me coming but she didn't even need to turn around to know that it was me violently smacking her on the head from behind, as promised. (She's got quite a smack on her - it bloody hurt lol! E x) She had seen Richard III two weeks before me, she knew she should have told me there's that much weeping-Sheehan in it that it might have quite possibly killed me! All sheesters know I cannot handle that, even he knows and he's always abused of his crying face, think in how many movies/episodes he has not cried... Not many!
But having read the plays beforehand I thought that, all in all, I was going to be safe this time... When half way through the second play a messenger announces Richard of York's death to his sons, his brothers George and Edward fall on their knees and cry desperately, while Richard says that “To weep is to make less the depth of grief / tears are for babies, blows and revenge for me!” and doesn't shed a tear. Phew, first two plays gone with no weeping! I started to fear that this was not going to end well for me at the beginning of the third play, when Our Richard, in spite of her hate for he had killed her father and her husband, talks Lady Anne into marry him just by using a lot of sweet-bullshit and tears. I have never seen any other Richard III but I didn't remember reading any suggestion of actual tears in the play and that vaguely reminded me of that time when, to be forgiven, he kissed The Sheehab's ass on Head Sheester Rachel's dad videocamera.
So Friday night I arrived at the last half of my first Richard III totally unprepared: Shakespeare tells us that when Our Richard wakes up in the middle of the night after a terrifying nightmare, he's so frightened he doesn't even speak in metrical poetry anymore but he doesn't say it anywhere that he starts sobbing like a little girl, loudly and uncontrollably, for several minutes! It was perfect because that way it seemed his pentameters are all crumbled because of the sobs but still... imagine my shock the first time I had to witness that. And I was practically sitting on the stage, so fucking close I could have collected the tears falling off his face if I had reached out my hands. I honestly thought I wasn't gonna make it through that and that's why I was terrified to have to see that again Saturday night.
By the last scene, after 18 hours of his sexy voice crying out pentameters, when he started yelling at the top of his lungs “A Horse! My Kingdom for a Horse! A Horse! My Kingdom for a Horse! A Horse! My Kingdom for a Horse!”, I was crying to myself “Oh my God please someone give him a fucking horse or kill him, I cannot take this anymore!”.
"Do you reckon I could get away with wearing those?" Robbie contemplates while looking down at my fluorescent pink Doc Martins. "Of course" I reply eagerly. The boy could pull off a plastic bin bag.
Striding in to the cinema, film festival tickets gripped in hand, fangirl radar on. The youngest journalist who had no idea what she was doing or where she was going. We're at the Jameson international film festival and half an hour in and we've come across something like this..
So here's the Q'S:
R: What advice would you give to upcoming female directors, writers and actresses in the industry?
Don't take no for an answer. Don't even hear the word no. I don't; if somebody says it i go well how can i turn this into a yes. People are looking for your point of view and your voice and they will pay for that. Also don't ever delete it. I've heard stories where people did what other people wanted and ruined it. We were all given a very specific point of view on how we see the world so stay true to that".
R: What was the atmosphere like on set? Any inside stories?
We had so much fun. Our gag reel is 12 minutes long they're normally three. Because the subject matter was so sensitive and delicate we had to let go when i yelled cut. There's a lot of things with Robbie being very very silly,and very funny. An interesting thing is in all of the driving scenes that you'll see in the film I'm actually hidden inside the car, most of the time behind the driver's seat, crouched down watching the monitor because we didn't have money for the trailer rig and stuff so a couple of times i was laying behind them on the seat, I mean it was just crazy. I'm hidden, so it's like a find Gren sort of thing".
R: When you first saw Robbie act as Vincent did you immediately know he was the right person for the job?
I knew when he walked in the room even before he was Vincent.I knew his previous work from Love/Hate and Misfits. He was exactly what i was looking for. He had the height, he had the lankiness, because i wanted Vincent to have a poetry to his ticks and that would only happen if someone was tall and lanky. He had the hair, the eyes, the lips i could go on and on... but in the end the talent".
Then came Robbie...
I had been stood waiting and listening in to all the other interviews and my nerves were increasingly growing. Robbie was like an hyper active kitten: hands flailing, tilting side to side, his eyes alive with joy. He always has a story to tell.
He was incredible as per usual! OHMYGOD. Watch our brief encounter here >>> https://youtu.be/Iff5-6JrFaE
After that it was onto the film which was equally incredible. One of my fave films now alongside Killing Bono.
I feel like it's the type of film i could easily watch with my friends and my grandparents. It had the perfect mixture of comedy and tragedy and let's just say the ending will leave you wanting more. Acting wise, one of Robbie's best performances yet.
A slightly filtered, almost black and white picture. You can't see in the photo but there was actually a barrier in between Rob and I that snapped mid pic. Our love has no boundaries.
When it was over they're was a surprise Q&A (a surprise to me anyway) with Rob and Gren. I have to say i can't remember much of what was said because i was still in shock. Here's some pics....
Then i ended up meeting Bren and Rob in the popcorn area of the cinema, why does this keep happening?? God bless you Brendan.
All in all I'm still trying to process what happened, if you're reading this Gren or any of the sheehans, thank you so much for taking your time out and talking to me and The hab!
Also how cute is the pic below!!!
Until next time folks,
Super excited to see this trailer - finally!! This movie looks seriously, amazing. If you're in the US, then you can catch it in theatres from April 17th. If you're in Ireland, check out the screening at the Dublin Film Festival - tickets here! Let us know what you think in the comments, or over on Twitter @TheSheehab!
THE ROAD WITHIN
As you know Robbie has been very busy for the past year filming here, there and everywhere. So I have decided to do a little post on everything you need to know about just some of his upcoming works:
First premiered on Wednesday, June 18th, at the 2014 Los Angeles Film Festival. Starring, of course Robert Sheehan, Dev Patel (Skins, Slumdog millionaire) Zoe Kravitz (Divergent), Robert Patrick and Kyra Sedgwick, the comedy-drama revolves around Robbie who plays Vincent -a young man with Tourette's syndrome- who encounters great change after his mother dies and he is sent off to an "unconventional clinic." After escaping from the clinic with two newfound friends, he embarks on a road trip with his Mother's ashes. This intriguing new flick is directed and written by Gren Wells and we just can't wait to see it. Just recently, director Gren Wells tweeted that the trailer for TRW would be coming soon and we are more than ready! Robbie was so committed to the film that he spent two weeks living with Jaxon -a friend of Gren Wells- who suffered from Tourette's, to really get to experience the ticks full on. The film has been getting rave reviews, especially for Rob's performance!
Anita B take place after world war two, where a young survivor of Auschwitz finds herself in a new life and in a passionate relationship with Rob's Character, Eli. The film premiered earlier this year, January 16th and we have a review of a fan event written up thanks to our Italian correspondent @SheehanGroupie ! I have been fortunate enough to have gotten the DVD from a friend from Italy and have since watched it. Such a beautiful film! As there were no subtitles and I don't know any Italian, I couldn't really understand what was happening but knew enough about the film to enjoy it. Robert and Eline Powell who acts alongside him as the main Character Anita, both gave stunning performances and we await news on a European release date for DVD.
We are super excited for this unusual flick, Jet Trash! Based on the book Go! by Simon Lewis -who we have previously interviewed for the website- Robbie plays Lee, a wild character hiding out on a beach in southern India with his friend Sol. Robbie actually did hide out in Southern India for around three months while filming this movie and Rob is also helping to produce it! Hopefully we will get more news soon about trailers and release dates.
Part two of this article -Rob's upcoming Flicks- will be continued soon :)
Thanks for reading, Sheester on!
Our Twitter has been on fire over the last couple of days following the appearance of some paparazzi shots of Robert with Jet Trash co-star Sofia Boutella. It's raised many questions (yet again!) about his personal life & whether it's right to share paparazzi pictures of Robert on the website or on Twitter. Unsurprisingly, it's proved to be a dividing topic.
Personally, I think that Robert (or any other person in the public eye for that matter!) has the right to a private life & that we, as fans, should respect that. If the paparazzi take photographs at events then we will happily post these shots, but it's not cool to harass people on a night out with their friends & it's for this reason that we won't be sharing these kinds of pictures. As for the details of his personal life, if Robert wanted us to know he'd tell us, so I say let's all stop stressing out about who he may, or may not be seeing & concentrate on all the fantastic upcoming projects headed our way!
One of our Sheesters (@izi_vas) has written a fantastic blog post on the subject of the privacy rights of the celebrity & I think it's worth a read. It raises some interesting points, which I for one agree with. You can find it here!
As ever, let us know what you think in the comments, or tweet us @TheSheehab!!
So no doubt you have all heard about Robert's latest project "Jet Trash" currently being filmed in Goa,India (the lucky git) but what is "Jet Trash" ? where did the idea come from and who came up with it? Most of you will know the answers to these questions but for those who don't read on...
"Jet Trash" is based on an amazing book called "Go" by author Simon Lewis ( savvy Sheesters among you will know Simon also wrote "Dip" for the "Coming Up" season on Channel 4 also starring Robert Sheehan) it was published in 1998 , Its a story about 3 backpackers Lee ( Robert Sheehan) Sol (Osy Ikhile) and Vix (Sofia Boutella) who's lives interwine as they try to escape from their problems back home and believe me they have problems!!
Robert,Sofia,Jasper and Osy on the set of Jet Trash
Their travels take them to far flung exotic places where they have the time of their lives or find themselves running for their lives.
That said this book will still make you want to pack a bag and head to the nearest airport!
I read this book in 2 days , I was hooked, every chapter has an "OMG" moment so you can forget just reading a bit before bed or on your lunch!
Go by Simon Lewis
As you can probably tell we are just a bit crazy about this book and can not wait to see it on screen so imagine our excitment when the man himself, Simon Lewis agreed to answer a few questions for us about "Go" and the big screen version" Jet Trash" we can't thank him enough and he is a legend to us forever!
Sheester's, Meet the lovely Mr. Simon Lewis
March 2nd 2014: Not wanting to push my luck and drive Simon mad with pages of questions and trust me I could have grilled him all day I sent Simon our questions with a smile from ear to ear.
The Sheehab: Who's idea was it to make "Go" into a movie?
Simon: The director, Charlie Belleville, read the book, and said he wanted to make it as a film. Robert got behind it early on, before there was a script, and then was very active in trying to get it made. He was a big part of making it happen.
The Sheehab: "Jet Trash" is based on the Indian section of the story but the characters come from and travel to different locations in "Go" does this mean certain parts of the story will be left out and if so was it difficult to decide what parts to write into the script?
Simon : The story is too episodic for a film, so we concentrated on boiling it down, finding the most representative episode and expanding it. I hope that I am not revealing too much in saying that we are doing some of the UK stuff too, as flashbacks. And bringing in characters and storylines from sections that had to be left out. And we are trying hard to stay true to the spirit of the book.
The Sheehab: Are the characters in "Go" based on people you met on your travels ? Is there real life Lee,Vix and Sol out there?
Simon : When I left college I went travelling. I spent six months in India, then ran out of money and had to go to Hong Kong to work, then after that decided to come home overland, through China and Russia. All of which took about a year. And yes, I met lots of people who gave me inspiration for my characters - smugglers, refugees, people who couldn't go home because they were on the run or were escaping terrible family situations or the like... they were kind of the edge of the backpacker circuit but with adventurous, sometimes scary lives.
Lee is based on a couple of dodgy characters I met who were always up to something - smuggling, putting on illegal parties, running from the police; with a bit of my mates in there too. Sol was more like me, I guess, interested in documenting things. And I knew some glamorous but tough girls like Vix, who did things like hostess work in Hong Kong or dated gangsters - girls I think I had a crush on.
The Sheehab: As fans of Robert Sheehan and after reading "Go" we think he is perfect to play Lee, did you have him in mind to play the character?
Simon: I am so looking forward to seeing him in the role. He was a great fit, and everyone knew it. He has the charm and force of character, and he plays that roguish/hippyish part really well. He even has the body of someone who's been living on a beach, don't you think? Lean and tan. In real life he likes travelling a lot and I think if he wasn't a famous actor he'd be living that kind of free wheeling life.
But originally I imagined someone much uglier hehe.
The Sheehab ; 3 of your books are in production at the minute was this something you always hoped would happen when you were writing them?
Simon; Well it's one book and other two are original scripts I wrote. I write lots and just hope things get picked up. The interest in one project started off interest in the others maybe. I've written things that haven't been picked up; I just got lucky this time.
The Sheehab: Robert Sheehan is starring/producing in "Jet Trash" and Ian Somerhalder in "The Anomaly" these actors have pretty big fan bases which will no doubt attract alot of attention, are you ready for how big these movies could possibly be?
Simon; And there's Kaya Scodelario is in Tiger House, she has a lot of fans, and is an amazing actress. I have been really lucky with the talented people who've been cast in my films and I have to thank some great casting agents.
being ready? As a writer you kind of choose how involved you want to get in the showbiz side, you don't have to do all that if you don't want to and it's not like anyone ever recognises you anyway. So I don't think anything will be any different for me. I'll stick with what I like, sitting in cafes in Brixton writing on a laptop.
The Sheehab: What scenes from "Go" are you most looking forward to seeing in "Jet Trash" on the big screen?
Simon; The producers would tick me off if I gave away any spoilers, but I guess you can see from the photos online that there is going to be some lush locations and a really mad party.
We still can't thank Simon enough for taking time out to answer our questions , this has just made us even more excited to see the movie. Jet Trash isnt all thats coming our way from Simon, fans of Ian Somerhalder (The Vampire Diaries) can look forward to seeing him in "The Anomaly" and also Kaya Scodelario (Skins) in "Tiger House" both written by Simon.
Now, you obviously want to get your hands on a copy of "Go" before the movie right? well never fear as always we have all the info and links you need to get your copy, *Whispers* also keep and eye on @TheSheehab for Jet Trash shaped Competitions coming soon!
For more info on the legend that is Simon Lewis, pop over to his website where you will see his blog,books and a fantastic archive of his work including "Dip" the movie he wrote for Channel 4's "Coming Up" series starring Robert Sheehan.
Follow Simon on Twitter
For more info on the movie Jet Trash and to basically be green with envy looking at the pictures from the shoot:
Follow Jet Trash on Twitter
Tiger House and The anomaly are both on Twitter too so follow!!
Kaya Scodelario in Tiger House
Ian Somerhalder in The Anomaly
Simons novels "Go" ,"Border Run" and "Bad Traffic" and his travel books for Rough Guide are also available on :
After you read "Go" you may need to get a few copies of them too, I know Iwill!.
Until next time Sheesters Stay Classy!