The actor on an embarrassing wetsuit incident, an evangelical Sunday school and spontaneous combustion

Born in Haverfordwest, Wales, Rhys Ifans, 52, was Bafta-nominated for the 1999 film Notting Hill. In 2005, he won a Bafta for playing Peter Cook in Not Only But Always. His other films include Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows and Mr Nice. He stars in On Bear Ridge at Cardiffs Sherman theatre until 5 October, then at Londons Royal Court from 24 October.

When were you happiest?
I look at my nephew, who is five years old and in a perpetual state of bliss; I imagine thats what I was like when I was five. Thats not to say I am unhappy now; I was on top of the world walking through a park to work this morning.

What is your greatest fear?
Being buried alive would be a nuisance.

Which living person do you most admire, and why?
Anyone who is risking their life to cross a body of water with their family to escape war.

What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?
I have a tendency to be too comfortable with my own company and, before I know it, Ive gone for weeks without speaking to or seeing anyone.

What is the trait you most deplore in others?

What was your most embarrassing moment?
I recently bought my first wetsuit to swim in cold seas. I tried it on one night and quickly realised I couldnt get out of it. I tried everything to get it off hooking it on to door knobs, sliding along the floor. This went on for hours. I thought, Oh my God, I am going to be found dead in a wetsuit what will people think? Eventually, having nearly dislocated a shoulder, I managed to release myself from my wetsuit hell.

What makes you unhappy?
Daytime television, but it might have improved since I decided Id never watch it again.

If you could bring something extinct back to life, what would you choose?
An apex predator to move us humans down the food chain and let us learn about the balance of the world. I think we need to feel hunted.

What would your superpower be?
Spontaneous combustion.

Who would play you in the film of your life?
Rod Hulls Emu.

What is the worst thing anyones said to you?
When I was six or seven, an evangelical Sunday school teacher told me, Dont smile, I dont like your smile. I remember feeling devastated and that fuelled my atheism.

To whom would you most like to say sorry, and why?
To anyone Ive unintentionally hurt or upset.

What does love feel like?

What was the best kiss of your life?
It was long, slow, hot and forbidden.

Which living person do you most despise, and why?
There are some days when I really despise myself.

What has been your biggest disappointment?
That things didnt get better.

What song would you like played at your funeral?
The Importance Of Being Idle by Oasis. Im in the video, which is basically my own funeral, so itd be nice and macabre.

Tell us a joke
I dont know any jokes.

Tell us a secret
I know loads of jokes.



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