Acting? It's like Being in the Trenches

The Evening Standard (London, England), February 23, 2006 | Go to article overview

Acting? It's like Being in the Trenches


Byline: LIZ JONES

Tom's boy finds it tough as a luvvie AS I set off to Dulwich to interview Ed Stoppard, son of Sir Tom, I assumed life must have been a breeze for the offspring not only of the Oscar-winning playwright, author of Shakespeare In Love and Rosencrantz And Guildenstern Are Dead, but of the highflying agony aunt Dr Miriam Stoppard.

But as I chat to Ed later (over an instant coffee in a chaotic kitchen that bears sticky traces of a two-and-a-half-year-old, Ed's daughter, Esme), I discover a famous name can be a bit of a noose around your neck. "Can I ever be free of the nagging doubt that my name didn't get me a part?" he asks.

"Would I have made it on my own? I would like to think so, and I think I have overcompensated in the past not to trade on my name..." I get the impression life hasn't always been easy for the intense, intelligent (Stowe followed by a degree in French at Edinburgh) young man about to make his mark on the West End stage in that most demanding of roles: Hamlet. "I'm terrified," he says.

"It's a bit like being a soldier in the First World War. I've just survived three months at Ypres, which was going on tour with this production but now I don't really want to go to the Somme." His American wife Amie, a portrait photographer, has just been packed off for a short break, and Ed, who says "my parents weren't stay-at-homes", is relishing being in sole charge of Esme.

"I didn't resent my parents for sending me to boarding school; in many ways it was good for me," he adds. …

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