Arts interviews

Interview: David Dawson

By Julia Weiner, October 10, 2008

British art's grand old man never gives interviews, but here his assistant reveals how he works, and what he thinks of Tracey Emin and Damien Hirst.

Lucian Freud is regularly described as the world's greatest living painter. Now that a new exhibition has just opened in London focusing on his early works, public interest is again high. Yet Freud, as ever, is reluctant to engage with the media.


Interview: Harry Shearer

By Simon Round, October 10, 2008

He's the satirist who helped create spoof rock group Spinal Tap and who provides voices in The Simpsons. Now he's expressing his contempt for George Bush... in song.

Sometimes in showbusiness, an opportunity presents itself which is too good to turn down - a project whose potential is so obvious that everyone instinctively knows that it will succeed spectacularly.


Interview: Denis Norden

By Gerald Jacobs, October 3, 2008

Denis Norden is best known as the host of a TV out-takes show. But he made his name as one of the best scriptwriters of his generation.

Shortly after the Second World War, Denis Norden was employed by the Hyman Zahl Variety Agency. In his new book, Clips from a Life, Norden recalls the legendary wartime exploits of one of Zahl's artists, a comedian called Harry, who gave many performances in dangerous circumstances at Dover when it was under attack from German guns and aircraft.


Interview: Idina Menzel

By Paul Lester, September 26, 2008

Acting, singing, comedy - Idina Menzel can do it all, and that includes severe self-doubt. It has a lot to do with her parents.

Idina Menzel is one of the biggest names in musical theatre, having appeared in Rent on Broadway and Wicked in the West End, as well as a film actress, starring most recently in Disney fantasy, Enchanted. She is also a recording artist, her latest, mostly self-penned album, I Stand, being produced by Glen Ballard, the man who helped Alanis Morissette sell 16 million copies of Jagged Little Pill.


Interview: Elie Wiesel

By Miriam Shaviv, September 26, 2008

Acclaimed Holocaust writer Elie Wiesel has found fame with a new generation of readers after Oprah Winfrey endorsed his book, Night.

Several years ago, Elie Wiesel's publisher suggested that he have Night, the account of life in the concentration camps which originally made his name, retranslated from the original Yiddish.


Interview: Howard Jacobson

By Gerald Jacobs, September 4, 2008

Howard Jacobson explains the issues he has with rabbis, Philip Roth and Woody Allen - and why that makes him feel more haimishe than ever.

Howard Jacobson quite reasonably describes himself as "entirely and completely Jewish". Put him in a room together with a rabbi, and you will get Jewish electricity - an especially intense connection.


Interview: Ruby Wax

By Simon Round, September 4, 2008

Ruby Wax is the queen of rapid-fire comedy. But, as she tells Simon Round, humour hasn't healed the legacy of depression left by her Shoah-survivor parents - and so she trained as a psychotherapist


You do not need to research Ruby Wax particularly deeply to know she had a problem childhood. Over the years, her comedy has been peppered with lines about the strange upbringing by her eccentric and neurotic parents.


Adam Godley: Mr shy and mighty

By John Nathan, August 28, 2008

Adam Godley is one of Britain's finest actors. He is also one of Britain's quietest, with an extreme reluctance to talk about himself.

In a windowless South London room, those involved in the world premiere West End stage version of the multi Oscar-winning movie Rain Man are taking a break. First to the kettle is producer Nica Burns, who looks remarkably calm considering that her production has changed directors. David Grindley had to drop out for family reasons, so Terry Johnson has dropped in.


How Helen Hunt did God

By Nick Johnstone, August 28, 2008

Hollywood star Helen Hunt has received acclaim for directing and acting in Then She Found Me, the story of an observant woman who has a crisis of faith after facing betrayal.


Hannah Frank: The artist who finally won recognition at 100

August 22, 2008

In the 1920s, artist Hannah Frank signed her drawings Al Aaraaf, a name she took from a poem by Edgar Allan Poe. A footnote to the poem explains that Al Aaraaf was a mysterious star that suddenly appeared in the heavens, grew brighter and brighter for a few days, and then suddenly disappeared, never to be seen again. This was how Frank saw herself: as someone who would shine brightly for a short time and then disappear.