We all know that Denis O’Hare (Russell Edgington) has an impressive resume of television, film and Broadway. While he was in town for the one-man performance of “An Illiad” he sat down with the Boston Globe and talked about his reading habits. So which type of work is best for a reading life (TV, Broadway or movies)?
“None really. Actually with plays you have an opportunity to read, especially if you are offstage a lot. When I did “Racing Demon” by David Hare I worked with Paul Giamatti, who had stacks of books in his dressing room. I was offstage a lot so I would go read in his room. He was reading a four-part series on the Byzantine Empire by Alexander A Vasiliev. I read two of those during the run of the play.”
So does he feel like he gets enough time to read for pleasure instead of work?
“I never do because I read so much for work. For instance, I’m writing a play about the Bible. I probably read parts of 50 books in recent months on subjects like St. Paul or the Alexandrian Jews. I’ve taken to reading standing up. Otherwise I can nod off reading these long inquisitions into portions.”
What was the last book that he read?
“I went on a Buddha jag. I read “Confession of a Buddhist Atheist” by Stephen Batchelor and Karen Armstrong’s biography of Buddha, which is a great book. The last novel I read was “Saturday” by Ian McEwan, and a couple of years ago I read “A House for Mr. Biswas” by V.S. Naipaul. It’s an unbelievably good book. I also read a lot of science fiction.”
So what is the subject that draws him in the most?
“History. I’ll get on a jag. For instance, two years ago when everyone seemed to have rediscovered the Constitution, I thought I didn’t know enough about it. I read five books on the Constitution. My favorite was “Plain, Honest Men” by Richard Beeman. I went on a science jag in the same way. I kept getting in arguments about evolution and being bested. So I read Charles Darwin’s “On the Origin of the Species,” a fantastic book that is not that difficult.”
So with him doing all of this reading does he do reading for research on a role he will be playing?
“Tons. I played a Russian revolutionary in a play years ago. I indulged my Dostoyevsky habit. I also read some obscure Russian tracts called “What Is to Be Done?” by Nikolai Chernyshevsky.”
Did he do any sort of reading for this part in “True Blood”?
“I did very little reading about vampires. To me, it’s not what make this guy interesting. I decided he was a Celt, probably a slave. I read about the history of the Celts, who were, ironically, sun worshippers.”
You can read the rest of the interview here. What are your thoughts about what he reads? Tell us below.
Source: The Boston Globe – “Denis O’Hare”
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