Homeland Star David Harewood

150 150 Rob McGibbon

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Published: 13 April 2013

Homeland star David Harewood:

‘If there’s alcohol, music and friends I want to be at the centre of it all. But the older I get, the harder it is to recover’


We ask a celebrity a set of devilishly probing questions – and only accept THE definitive answer. This week it’s Homeland star David Harewood…


The prized possession you value above all others...A good luck card from the author Philip Pullman on the first night of the His Dark Materials adaptation at the National Theatre in 2004 when I played Lord Asriel. He used the term ‘when the whole world knows your name’. I still read it for inspiration.

The unqualified regret you wish you could amend...I wish I’d been more attentive at school.

The way you would spend your fantasy 24 hours, with no travel restrictions...I’d wake up in the Empire State penthouse suite at the Setai Fifth Avenue hotel in New York with my wife Kirsty and our daughters Maize, ten, and Raven, seven. We’d have a huge room service breakfast, then fly to Barbados where I’d work out on Gibbs beach on the west coast and play in the sea with the kids. Then we’d go to Rome – checking out the Pantheon and Trevi Fountain. I’d have veal in mushroom sauce for lunch there with red wine, then relax on a cruise down the Nile. We’d watch the sun dip behind the Pyramids, then see the neon lights come on across Tokyo and have some sake. We’d all party on through the night in New Orleans with plenty of music and dancing. I’d end the day with a big cigar and a glass of rum in Havana, Cuba. Then I’d pass out!

The temptation you wish you could resist...Partying! If there’s alcohol, music and friends I want to be at the centre of it all. But the older I get, the harder it is to recover.

The book that holds an everlasting resonance...Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. I read it when I was 13 and it changed my understanding of the creature from the films I’d seen. It had intelligence and compassion.

The priority activity if you were the Invisible Man for a day...I’d sit in the ladies’ loos at the Oscars and listen to the women talking about the men. Men’s loos tend to be quiet places, but it all goes down in the Ladies!

The pet hate that makes your hackles rise...Rudeness in all its forms.

The film you can watch time and time again...12 Angry Men has a truly great collection of actors giving fantastic performances. It’s an acting masterclass.

The person who has influenced you most...Stephen Dartnell, who directed me in King Lear at RADA in the 90s. It was the first time I really believed in myself. He died in 1995.

The figure from history for whom you’d most like to buy a pie and a pint...I’d love to talk with Martin Luther King, just to hear his voice up close and be with someone who had such faith. He had such power. 

The piece of wisdom you would pass on to a child...Don’t be afraid of making mistakes. That’s how we learn.

The unlikely interest that engages your curiosity...River fishing. It’s totally absorbing and a real challenge.

The treasured item you lost and wish you could have again...The Chopper bike I got for Christmas when I was 12. I felt so cool riding it, but a month later someone stole it. I was devastated.

The unending quest that drives you on...To do a brilliant piece of work on film that looks effortless. Not easy!

The poem that touches your soul...Rudyard Kipling’s If, especially the line that tells you to ‘hold on’ when you have nothing left.

The misapprehension about yourself you wish you could erase...That I’m always confident and assured. We all have insecurities, but some of us are better at covering them up.

The event that altered the course of your life and character...Becoming a father. Before my children came along I was out partying and getting drunk too much. My two beautiful girls gave my life real purpose. I’m so proud of them.

The crime you would commit knowing you could get away with it...I’d steal millions from some corrupt country and give piles of cash to the people I love and to those who really need it. And I’d keep a decent chunk myself!

The song that means most to you...A Change Is Gonna Come by Sam Cooke. It’s an astonishingly beautiful song with haunting lyrics.

The happiest moment you will cherish forever...Being in the school choir one Christmas when I was 15. Our music teacher created a bass section out of all the naughty lads. It was the most successful concert they’d ever had. We all felt like pop stars.

The saddest time that shook your world...The death of my best friend Luigi Belcuore in 2009. We’d been like brothers since school. He died suddenly during a routine knee operation and it destroyed me.

The unfulfilled ambition that continues to haunt you...To speak Italian.

The philosophy that underpins your life... Don’t try and be something you’re not and always be true to yourself. 

The order of service at your funeral...I’d like Mark Rylance to read Cleopatra’s death speech from Shakespeare’s Antony And Cleopatra. Then put me in the ground so you can drink yourselves under the table!

The way you want to be remembered...With a smile and as someone who brought a bit of joy to people’s lives.

The Plug...Catch me in Playhouse Presents… Hey Diddly Dee on Thursday at 9pm on Sky Arts 1. Visit www.skyarts.sky.com.