Daily Mail Weekend Magazine

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2 January 2010


Who needs
With a new show, a new clothing range and a
new figure, Arlene Phillips is out for revenge

how I feel about...



People sometimes ask me why I get cast
in so many period roles – The Last King Of
Scotland, Atonement and my latest film,
The Last Station, which takes place in
19th-century Russia, have all taken place
at various times in the past. It may sound
strange, but I think it’s because I’m pale
and thin. If you look at most of the big
Hollywood actors, it’s getting harder and
harder to find someone who has pale skin:
they are tanned, they have perfect teeth
and gorgeous buff bodies. Me, I look like a
malnourished urchin, and there aren’t too
many of us around.
I’m healthy, but I’ve never been a big
guy, which is unusual for a Scottish actor,
because, if you look at Sean Connery,
Gerard Butler or Ewan McGregor, you’ll see
that they’re big men, and I’m just a little,
skinny, weak guy, and always have been.
The only time I’ve ever really put on
muscle was for a film called Wanted,
which I made a couple of years ago, about
a clinically depressed guy who suddenly
realises he has supernatural abilities,
so you had to see him getting a bit bigger
for that. I did a lot of training for that
film, going to the gym, eating healthy
food and so on. But the moment I stopped
training, the muscles just disappeared
– it took me months to gain them, and
about two weeks to lose them, which was
very disheartening.
My appearance in so many period films
has nothing to do with an interest in the
clothes of times past. My relationship
with fashion is shaky and sketch at best
– I manage, at the behest of my friends
and advisors, to get a shirt and jacket on
when I go to fancy events such as film
festivals and premieres, but, if I was left
to my own devices, I think I’d end up
looking pretty shoddy. I do have some
very old clothes that I should probably
throw away… but then again, perhaps
it’s because I’m so uninterested in
modern fashion that I’m happy to wear
old-fashioned clothes.
The funny thing is that
I didn’t really get noticed
in the profession by
playing historic figures
– in fact, I didn’t even
get noticed by playing
anyone human. My
first big part was
playing Mr Tumnus, a
pointy-eared faun, in
The Lion, The Witch
And The Wardrobe.
I loved making the film
for professional
reasons, but I’d never
have predicted that
it would have helped
my career to play
someone with furry
2 January 2010
With a new show, a new clothing range and a
new figure, Arlene Phillips is out for revenge
Who needs
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