What George Clooney, Lupita Nyong’o, Elton John and Eddie the Eagle taught us in 2016

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George Clooney called Donald Trump a fascist, Lupita Nyongo took on Hollywood racism, Elton John discussed money and Eddie the Eagle acknowledged he skied like an ostrich what we learned in a year of Guardian interviews


Patti Smith is as hard as nails

You can choose your own fate. Are you going to let it all fall apart? Or are you going to go about own it?

Keith Richards reckons the Rolling Stones Altamont gig, where a human was killed by a Hells Angels security guard, wasnt all bad

I suppose given that there were about half a million people there, Id say that 499,000 had a good time. Which is not bad on the average, you know? And one man succumbed, but a newborn was born, so the same number came out as went in. If that hadnt happened, it would have been considered a Woodstock on the coast. All it takes is one sucker with a knife.

Thandie Newton is furious about abuse and exploitation

Im always angry. I wake up angry. There is a lot to be angry about. Fury, she says calmly, is a positive energy.

Nicola Adams enjoys her run

I guess when Im smiling, waving to the crowd, looking really happy, an opponent is going to look at me and think wow, is she even nervous? But genuinely, Im merely enjoying myself.

Woody Allen hasnt overcome trauma

I dont believe in the Nietzschean notion that what doesnt destroy you stimulates you stronger. You ensure these soldiers come back with PTSD; theyve been to war and seen death and experienced these existential crises one after the other. There are traumas in life that weaken us for the future. And thats whats happened to me. The various slings and arrows of life have not strengthened me. I suppose Im weaker. I think there are things I couldnt take now that I would have been able to take when I was younger.

Jeremy Ironsthinks abortion is a tremendous mental attack

I believe females should be allowed to make the decision, but I also think the church is right to say its a sin. Because sin is actions that harm us. Lying damages us. Abortion harms a woman its a tremendous mental assault, and physical, sometimes. But we seem to get that muddled. In a way, thank God the Catholic church does say we wont allow it, because otherwise nobodys saying that its a sin.

Vanessa Redgrave wanted to die after having a heart attack

Trying to live was getting too tiring. I was with my daughter, and I said, Im sorry, I just think Im going to have to give up, knowing shed be unhappy, of course. And she was wonderful. How did Joely( another successful performer) promote her to hold living? By telling me I could. Her saying I could give up released me.

Lauren Laverne shudders at the memory of being a teenage pop star

I look back now and I feel terrified about all the things that I did. But also more forgiving towards myself because I was so young. Everyones an idiot when theyre 16.

The Heseltines have shot lots of gray squirrels on their Northamptonshire estate

Three hundred and fifty. Perfectly awful things.

Shah Rukh Khan, Robbie Williams, Clare Short, Samuel L Jackson and Marilyn. Composite: Linda Nylind, Getty, Sarah Lee,


Making mix videotapes taught Lin-Manuel Miranda how to compose a Broadway smash-up

I feel luck to have grown up in the epoch when we built mix cassettes. I think it affected how I write ratings. Because when youre making a mix videotape for your friends, its 90 minutes of music, in the order in which you curate it, so youre generating the ebb and flow. That prepared me to write ratings more than anything else. You want to surprise them, tell them how you feel about them, you want to express the wealth of your savour. How is that different from writing a Broadway score?

Elton John doesnt play the piano at home

I play 107 demonstrates a year, why am I going to go home and play the fucking piano? Ive got one at Woodside[ his Windsor estate] and one at my house in Atlanta, and I never touch them. Rufus Wainwright plays every morning when he gets up I have to play an hour every day so everyones different, but, God, I couldnt think of anything worse. I have leisure, and I have work. And I do enough work. When I get home, the last thing I want to do is play the piano.

Boy George misses the wizard behind the curtain

When I was 19, there was still the mystery of rocknroll; there was still the wizard behind the curtain. Kids now, they know how to build records, they know where to get their clothes. We had to dream about it: is this possible? Now, its like: Yeah, you can be famous, you get on this display, you do that, you do this, but I think the thing is, I dont think it necessarily means that much. Im glad I had that exciting first part of my career in a decade when you could make a cultural difference of kinds, you know?

Phil Collins didnt get his message across on his 1993 album Both Sides

It was like coming out of a lavatory with toilet paper on your foot and trying to walk elegantly while trying to get it off. I think thats one of the reasons I did retire, frankly. It seemed that the only way I could stop this was to stop and start again. I stopped. Im yet to start again.

Eddie the Eagle knew the sky was the limit

Id like to say I flew like an eagle, but I was probably closer to the ostrich. Did he ever say to the makers[ of cinema Eddie the Eagle ], youre doing me down? I thought the skiers skiing down that slope in the film are not very good, whereas in actual fact Im a hell of a lot better. But that didnt matter to me because I know Im a good skier, and people who know me know that.

Shah Rukh Khan tells girls induced him a superstar

I lost my father, then my mother, early on, he tells. But the women in my life the actresses have helped me vastly. Everything I am is because of them. They are doing all that work and, mostly, I take away the credit for the cinema. Im Shah Rukh Khan. None of them has become Shah Rukh Khan and I hope they do. Im not trying to be pompous about myself. Madhuri Dixit has held my hand in those dancing scenes and Im not leading her, shes resulting me. Juhi Chawla taught me how to do comic timing, Kajol taught me how to sobbing. They ran their asses off and then, at the end of the movie, its Shah Rukh Khan: the hotshot. And I know it. I cant deny it. And I can never ever forget I am[ there] because of women. All my chivalry, goodness, gentlemanliness merely stems from the fact that its my way of saying thank you. They are fabulous in the films. In every film.


Robbie Williams gave up smoking but get hooked on Minstrels

Thats the thing with having an addictive personality. One fire runs out and another pops up. And that fire became working out and eating Minstrels. I transferred the smoking to working out three hours a day, and then feeing Minstrels for 3 hour every night. Thats not an exaggeration. And then I stopped the working out and just carried on with the Minstrels and I ballooned to the point where the Daily Mail suggested I was akin to Elvis before he died. It was horrible, terrible. I had to go on stage, too: Yeah, I know, I look like Elvis before he died. Sorry, everybody, as Im pointing at you suggestively, pretending that you think Im sexy.

So I went on this pretty hardcore diet. You woke up and had a simmered egg, then nothing for five hours, then had vegetable broth, then steamed veg, then nothing until the next day. After five days of that, first off, I was really fucking emotional, because youve got nothing, your body starve. And the second thing is, you just required something to suppress your appetite, so this started again. I tried to hide it from my spouse for five weeks. At night Id hide my mouthwash and hand sanitiser in a safe place, then wake up an hour before she got up, climbing out of the window, take my top off, so as not to smell of anything, then smoking, hand sanitiser and mouthwash, top back on, shoes off so as not to aftermath her up, climbing back in the window.

Even when Samuel L Jackson was out it, he always made his marks

I had a very good theatre reputation. Awarded, I was a fucking drug addict and I was out of my intellect a lot of the time, but I had a good reputation. Showed up on time, knew my lines, make my marks. I simply wasnt making a lot of money, but I was very satisfied artistically. I was doing Pulitzer prize-winning plays. I was working with people who induced me better, who challenged me. So I was doing things the right way, it was just that one thing that was in the way my craving. And once that was out of the route, it was boom! The door blew wide open.

Marilyn expended 20 years taking fissure and heroin while watching the Alien movies on loop-the-loop

He retreated to his mothers house in Hertfordshire and stayed there for 20 years, without going out, unless it was to the hospital or a dealer, or a doctor. But in general I merely sat in a room for 20 years. I didnt want linked with people. The phone would ring and I merely wouldnt picking it up. The curtains were always draw, I didnt know whether it was night or day.

What did he do all day? You know the Alien movies? I had the box defined of that. I had my laptop and my drug paraphernalia was all set up around me. And Id watch the first Alien film, then the second, then the third, fourth, fifth. And when it got to the end of the fifth one, Id set the first one back on again. So that was it. Over and over again. It was, like, my life has run out of control, but I can control this, this tiny little bubble of behaviour: that was my security, sitting in front of this computer screen with what Im watching, and I know all the dialogue and I know whats happens now. I could control how I felt. Oh, Im bit tired, let me have some fissure. Oh, Im a bit depressed, lets have some heroin. I need to go to sleep, Ill take a downer. I just wanted to die, but I couldnt do that, I suppose because I was brought up a Catholic, with that notion that if you kill yourself you go to purgatory. I kept reasoning, Well, itll be simply my fucking luck, Ill kill myself and wake up in precisely the situation Im trying to get away from and itll be for infinity. At least I know this is going to end at some point.

Boy George, Leslie Jones, Gary Lineker, Lupita Nyongo, Suggs and Steve McQueen. Composite: EPA, REX, Getty, Rob Greig,


Native Americans were like a religion for Adam Ant in the 1980 s

It was all the things Id grown up with that I felt were heroics and sexy and had a warrior bravado to them. Id been reading about and analyzing pirates and the Native Americans for a few years the Native American thing was as close to a religion as I had. Putting the Apache war stripe across my nose was a declaration of arms against the music industry, which I felt had dismissed me and treated me very unfairly. I wanted to look like a buccaneer: when they raided somewhere, they would take all the stuff they could carry or wear and not take anything else. And then I got the Hussar jacket, the one worn by the 11 th Hussars in the charge of the Light Brigade. They were the most ridiculed regiment in the British army because they were thought to be too well garmented. People called them the Cherrybums, because their uniforms were so tight, and all the young ladies came out to look at them when they were on parade. They were despised by the rest of the army, but they did this heroic, disastrous thing.

Boy George explained the art of glamour and survival

Life is kind of like clinging to a rock, isnt it? Were all clinging to a boulder, and some people have got a better grip than others. Some people appear bedraggled and other people look like Jerry Hall garmented as a mermaid on that Roxy Music album cover.


Zac Goldsmith ranted about Sadiq Khan

Whos criticised me? Honestly, whos criticised me? He has. No one else has. Love it or dislike it, the Labour party is more radical now than any time in my lifetime. He is radical and divisive because of his approach to politics. He is a basically partisan figure in politics. These are words that I use and will continue to use to describe Sadiq Khan. And it is obvious to anybody who is not unfair or was intended to misinterpret, the terms I was utilizing were in a political context. He looks at me, and his hands are shaking.

Labour deputy leader Tom Watson is not friendly with Jeremy Corbyn

At PMQs I always try to get myself into a Buddha-like state. I try not to have any facial expression at all. Because if I laugh at a Jeremy joke, two hours later on social media its either interpreted as me laughing at Jeremy, or laughing at an opponent gag. Or, if I scowl at something someone says, people are accusing me of scowling at Jeremy. So I try to keep a straight face, which everyone always interprets as me looking really sad and miserable. Thats actually absolutely no truth to the rumors. Im generally just trying to remain expressionless.

Watson remains in contact with Corbyn, though it voices instead semi-detached. We still send the odd text to one another. Its usually about household stuff, you know. My papas ill, and he[ Corbyn] is always asking about my dad. My fathers a big advocate of Jeremy. Its a sort of chat really.

Clare Short was underwhelmed by the Chilcot report

I dont believe anyones even going to read it. Except perhaps historians. Do you know, its longer than all the Harry Potter books put together?

I thought, she says of the extracts she read, it was terrible. It was deeply underwhelming, and not well informed. It had lost the plot on what it was meant to do. The person who had written it well, I dont believe this is John Chilcot, because he is a very bright guy.


Leslie Jones knew it was important to be in Ghostbusters

Back in the working day, when I was coming up, the last page of Jet magazine was a guide to all the times black people were going to be on Tv, because we were hardly on TV and we needed to see and support our people when we were. So my thing is, my parents and grandparents would have been, Woah! She is in a Big Movie! A superhero in a BLOCKbuster. Why wouldnt you be dancing in the street?

Steve McQueen said the Oscars whitewash was like apartheid

Hopefully, when people look back at this in 20 years, itll be like seeing that David Bowie clip in 1983. He is referring to a clip that has been widely circulated online since Bowies demise, in which the singer politely assails his interviewer about MTVs under-representation of black artists. Im hoping in 12 months or so we can look back and say this was a watershed moment, and thank God we put that right.

It is not just actors and directors either. Its like Johannesburg in 1976, if you go behind the scenes. I constructed two British movies[ Hunger and Shame] and I never met one person of colour in any below-the-line situations. Not one. No black , no Asian , no one. Like, hello? Whats going on here? Very odd.

When it came to working in the US, inducing 12 Years a Slave, McQueen was adamant that he wouldnt let the same thing happen again, particularly not on a film about slavery. I expressly said in a meeting, Look, I cant make this movie in a situation where I dont ensure any black faces other than my own behind the camera. We need to employ certain people. I made that very clear and it was attended to. Two African American assistant directors were duly hired.

Lupita Nyongo is going to keep calling out the film industry

For the third time in as many years, she appeared on the front of the US edition of Vogue, which operated the coverline: I want to create opportunities for people of color. Its not the sexiest route to sell a style glossy, but Nyongo is unapologetic.

Films inspire people to feel differently. A lot more can be done. We can be more empathetic when we realise how much more alike we are than how different we are.

Does she feel a burden, as a black performer, to keep talking about the issues?

But you watch, I dont like to fight the reality. The reason it is so acute is due in part to the stage we are at. When we are talking about inclusion in entertainment, its because amusement isnt inclusive and, until such a period as that becomes the norm, then this work must continue to be done.


Nicola Adams says boxing is like chess

Boxing is 50/50, mental and physical. You can be the strongest, fastest, most technical boxer out there, but if youre not there mentally, you wont win. You see boxers who appear unbelievable in the gym, and then they get into the ring and they fall to pieces. The mental aspect is about how to stay in control, to get your adversary to stimulate mistakes and then to capitalise on them. Its a little bit like chess, truly. She has played chess since she was 10.

Gary Lineker compared football and sexuality

The one thing about scoring a objective is you never know if its going to happen again. Whereas with sexuality, theres always the opportunity that something

Chris Eubank Jr and Sr explained the psychology of boxing

Jr: Patently, in the buildup to some opposes, theres animosity and testosterone and banter but at the end of the day, we all understand that this is a business, just two men who are trying to further their careers and provide for their families. There shouldnt be any true malice towards your opponent.

I learned very early on once I started boxing as a kid that if you go into the ring emotionally charged you stimulate missteps. I have fought fighters in the past who I dont like as people, but you have to block out any type of dislike or abhor.

Sr: The feeling between two fighters is profound. You smell a mans blood, it smells like rust. You get into a clench, you feel his strength, you feel his desperation, he feels yours. Youre sharing this.


Sarah Perry had a churchy childhood

I would go to school and people would be talking about television, which was meaningless to me, and bands. I can recollect person talking about Take That, and I was like: Take what? Her church, the Ebenezer Strict and Particular Baptist Chapel, was a 19 th-century building in Chelmsford with thick, mottled-glass windows, like the bottom of a brew bottle, inappropriately. And on a Sunday morning, when Sunday trading opened, I would watch people strolling past the windows on the way into town. That glass might have been a gap of 100 years as far I was concerned, because I was in chapel with my head encompassed, in a long skirt, with my King James Bible, and at the front of the church a little old organ being pedalled away, and a man with a beard and correct fire-and-brimstone rhetoric. And people simply trolleying along into township. I think that will never leave me, that be thought that something that may only be a pane of glass but might as well be an abyss separates me from everything else.

Vanessa Redgrave thinks there is no conflict between science and religion

I know its a strange question to ask a Marxist, but do you have faith? She smiles, virtually beatifically. Yes, certainly I do. And the reason I do is because I dont consider science and religion two fixed opposites. Human beings have felt the need to explain things that they couldnt explain, and acknowledge the existence of things they cant explain but wishes to. She is talking so slowly, so deliberately, she could be defining a dictation test.

So religion and Marxism is another contradiction she is happy to embrace? Yes, because if youre not happy to embrace contradictions youre not going to get very far in understanding anything.


Ben Whishaw detected it a relief to come out publicly

And that just made it worse. Because then people assume youve got some genuinely juicy, nasty thing that youre keeping from them. After an intrusive journalist uncovered his civil partnership with composer Mark Bradshaw, he was forced to speak more openly, and he found this something of a relief. Because now people arent that interested, because currently being nothing being concealed, he says.

He tries not to think about how others might consider him or perceive his sexuality. If you dont let it be a weight upon you, it wont manifest as one in your life, he tells. I just try to give it little space in my brain. Its not interesting to me.

George Takei was in the closet on Star Trek

You live under the fear of being outed all the time. I played the game. I took a female friend to premieres and parties, and then Id take her home and go to a gay bar. It was a double life. Interestingly, I recognised some faces in those bars and wed tell Hi, but we didnt mention it the day after.

Christine McVie tells Fleetwood Mac are umbilically tied together

I still think theres a certain need for each other in our band. In a strange style. Were umbilically tied together, somehow. Without one of us, were incomplete.

George Clooney, Macaulay Culkin, Lady Leshurr, Jay McInerney, Mark Ruffalo and Dustin Hoffman. Composite: Getty, Linda Nylind, Laura Barisonzi, WireImage


Woody Allen spends $ 100 a week on lottery tickets

Ive talked this over with my spouse. We would still go on living in the same home, I would go on working, I dont want a barge, I dont want a plane.

So why do it? He seems stumped. The odds are bigger than astronomical. Youd have a better opportunity of shuffling a deck of cards and naming them all in row. Ive never got more than two numbers. Id probably shoot myself if I got five and missed by one. That are truly has become a murderer but I dont have that problem.

Eddie the Eagle was rolling in cash in his heyday

In 1988, I earned something like 700,000. Yeah! I was earning 10 grand an hour opening shopping mall. Yeah! The most I earned in one day was 65 grand. I opened the Alton Towers fun ride in the morning, did a commercial in the afternoon and an appearance at a nightclub in the evening. Sixty-five grand in one day!

Suggs from Madness says London is no good for would-be starrings

Nowadays, you cant even find somewhere to rehearse unless your mummy and daddy can pay for you. All the arts are just fucking old Etonians and that is a big problem. And its boring. Where are the urchins? We certainly wouldnt be sitting here now.

Elton John doesnt spoil his children, Zachary and Elijah

They get 3 pocket money, but 1 is for charity, 1 is for saving and 1 is for spending, they get three coins and set them in separate jars. And they have to work for it help in the kitchen, help in the garden. Theyve got to learn the value of doing something and earning something for themselves. They live a very local life in Old Windsor, they go round their mates houses, its not a showbiz life as such. Theyre not stuck behind the gates of a mansion. Saturdays when Im home, we go to Pizza Hut with them, we go to Waterstones, we go to the cinema. Ive never been a recluse, Ive never hidden away. Im on the school run.

Lady Leshurr turned down her first big break because it entailed starting a beef with Nicky Minaj

Atlantic Records in the US offered her a bargain. They flew me out and we had a conversation, but their idea was that they were going to pit me against Nicki Minaj. It was like: Shes the biggest female MC and you need to take her down, and I wasnt feeling that at all. That whole stereotype of female rappers and their advocates having to compete with one another it seems to be a crime to be a fan of two female rappers that are successful. So I turned it down. The amount of money they were offering me was amazing. Ive always turned to music to get my mum out of the house, out of that situation, so to see that type of money thrown at me … Im not going to lie, I screamed on the plane home, because I supposed Id made a mistake and my mum needed the money. It might have been my only opportunity. But I know by now I would probably have been fallen and my career would have been ruined.


George Clooney thinks hes a fascist

I fulfilled Donald once. I was sitting in a kiosk and we talked for a while. Then he did Larry King, and he told I was very short. And I was like: I was sitting down the whole hour, Donald! Hes simply an opportunist. Now hes a fascist; a xenophobic fascist

Lets put things into view. You know, the truth of the matter is, in election season, things go crazy, and the loudest voices are the furthest and most extreme. So you hear a massively stupid idea, like were going to ban Muslims from the country. Now, were not ever going to do that. He shrugs. It tells in the Statue of Liberty, bring us your huddled masses. Its not whats going to happen.

Elton John wouldnt let his music be played at election rallies

I dont truly want my music to be involved in got anything to do with an American election campaign. Im British. Ive satisfied Donald Trump, he was very nice to me, its nothing personal, his political positions are his own, mine are very different, Im not a Republican in a million years. Why not ask Ted fucking Nugent? Or one of those fucking country stars? Theyll do it for you.

Macaulay Culkin is superstitious about even telling his name

I have tilteds, but Im the definition of a disenfranchised voter I believe the system is ugly. This whole Trump thing is amazing.( Trump cameos in Home Alone 2, proving our hero the way to the Plaza Hotel lobby, although we cant talking here it .) Culkin doesnt want to be drawn further. Discussing politics is the quickest way to alienate people, so I dont wanna go into it. And Trump has enough column inches? Exactly! Hes like the Candyman, we have to stop telling his name.

Mark Wahlberg has played golf with him

Hes an OK golfer. Ive gotten to know him a little bit since, on various occasions. Ive never gratified Hillary Clinton.

It turns out that Wahlberg and Trump met almost a decade ago at one of those weird celebrity golf events that always seem to be happening in California or Florida. What did they talk about? He was very Donald Trump-like, talking about the things that he does, things that he has, business interests, properties, stuff like that. But he wasnt ever entail or rude. I dont think he asked me too many personal questions, or about what I do.

Dustin Hoffman thinks hes a conman

Its not that hes there, its that he has a following thats more disturbing, tells Hoffman. He fell in at this moment when the majority of the Republican electorate feel, as they say, betrayed by their own party. Hes not that original weve seen people throughout our lifetime that are Donald Trumps. He does have a charisma, but so does the guy selling you a watch on the corner and telling you that its a Rolex.

Tim Roth detests him

I hate everything that he stands for. He should never be forgotten or forgiven for anything he said on the road to the White House. There should be no concession to him. No Lets give him a chance. None of it, he tells. Grab them by the pussy, right? Appear at where we are now and who is in charge of this country and, by extension, a good chunk of the world person with misogynistic tendencies.

If you neglect the working class for so fucking long they will rebel against you. There was a dire need to stop a rise of fascism in America and we didnt take it seriously enough.

Mark Ruffalo says hes a blip

I feel bad for the Republicans. Its an untenable situation for them in a lot of ways. The people who are clear-headed and truly do hold conservative values are on the outs. Whats driving the party at the moment is nothing other than dread and xenophobia, and a kind of paranoia that is not sustainable. You cant govern with it. Trump, he tells, is an interesting blip in a country that is undergoing kind of a correction. Money has debased the political system, which has lost its credibility on both sides of the aisle. To Ruffalo,[ Tump] is playing into all the ugliest aspects of the fear that has been fomented by the media and the politicians themselves; in contrast, he says, Bernie Sanders is offering a reimagining of the basic premise of what America is.

Jay McInerney says he gives New York a bad rep

Hes this cartoon of a New York tycoon, and scarcely a tycoon at that. I have friends in the real estate business and they say, number one, he has enormously overinflated his wealth, and number two, hes impossible to do business with; hes not trustworthy, he sues everybody. Hes not well regarded in that community As a New Yorker, I regret that hes associated with the city I love.

Interviews by Alex Needham, Paula Cocozza, Jess Cartner-Morley, Catherine Shoard, Simon Hattenstone, Archie Bland, Emma Brockes, Alexis Petridis, Dorian Lynskey, Nosheen Iqbal, John Patterson, Decca Aitkenhead, Steve Rose, Emine Saner, Alexis Soloski, Ryan Gilbey, Peter Robinson, Andrew Pulver, Rhik Samadder, Hadley Freeman and Rory Carroll .

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