The Hitchikers Guide To The Galaxy (2005)

Bill Nighy as Slartibartfast in Hitchhikers Guide to The Galaxy
Bill Nighy as Slartibartfast (‘ I’d rather be happy than right’) in Hitchhikers Guide to The Galaxy .

Bill nighy about Slartibartfast:

About Slartibartfast
I was aware that Slartibartfast had the grooviest, longest, stupiest name in the film and I was obscurely proud of that.

About Slartibartfast’s coat
No stupidly I didn’t get to keep it. Because now, since the movie came out, nearly every woman, wants my coat. Which is kind of nice, makes me feel good !

And how would the world look like if he really was Slartibartfast
The buildings would be french inspired, they would be chateaux like, and I would live in the biggest one, and I would live on a hill, and my name would be King Bill. And my name wouldn’t be Slartibartfast, I would live in a big place, where people would worship me and the Rolling Stones were the houseband and they had to live in the basement until I said so, until they came up, usually on friday night were they entertained me and my friends. And I’d have Aretha Franklin come to dinner …

(From a BBC Film interview)

About playing an older character
The embarrassing thing you get with older actors, which I didn’t think would happen to me, is that you get a part that says ’he’s quite old’ in this case it says, ’he’s incredibly old’ and you think well I’ll have to act really old then. And the director tells you you’re actually already old enough, you don’t have to ham it up. It’s a terrible mistake. I’ve seen it made before in movies, I won’t mention names. (more here)

What’s it like to be the architect of the universe?

It feels pretty good. If somebody’s casting God, or the next best thing, and they think of you, I think you have to be grateful. And once I learnt how to pronounce may name, it was great. For the first two weeks I was quite confident. I was calling myself Bartifastblart, and I thought that was pretty good. But somebody then pointed out that, actually, it was the other way around.

BBC Film

Vampire, zombie, rock God, rabbit, pirate soon and world-builder extraordinaire. A man of many talents.

I know. I think I’ve reached that difficult age where I can only portray men from other dimensions. I think we can safely say a pattern is emerging. Once you’ve played a zombie the writing is on the wall.

But no, I shouldn’t complain, it’s very lucky. I’m glad I get to play a wide range of parts; it’s very satisfying. I’ll probably never get the girl again, but there you are… Those days are gone but there are jobs; I can be useful around the place. It’s great.

And to play the Man who designed the Earth is pretty funky. And to be in this movie is pretty funky. I’m fond of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to The Galaxy, like most people, I read it as a young man. It goes into most people’s top five favourite books of all time, people are very fond of it; they’re very loyal to it and often protective of it.

Read the whole interview at filmfocus :
Look at: The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy – Bill Nighy Interview (recommended!)

It is a big, daft, barmy, bonkers, stupid, mad, loony movie. And I loved it, in the same ways I loved the book.

Bill Nighy, in Empire Online

It would have been obvious to have Slartibartfast played in robes, white hair and long beard, but instead Nighy has him clean shaven, long hair coiffured and suited and booted: a typical bureaucrat. “I loved my hair,” he proclaims. “I was very proud of my wig and was almost a brunette, which is what I have always wanted to be because I had an elder brother who is very good looking. He is a brunette and I always wanted to be like him.”

Bill Nighy on musicomh.com

As the mighty architect in the film, one of your great quotes is that ‘you’d rather be happy than right’. Is this the ideal philosophy for an actor to have in his career?
You could do worse than that. I had in fact come to that conclusion before I did the movie, actually. It’s true. There are many times when I’ve settled for happy. I’ve thought, ‘forget right, it’s boring’. And I’m so often wrong!

If you discovered the world was going to end in ten or 12 minutes time, how would you spend those minutes?
I’d put the kettle on for a cup of Yorkshire tea (they owe me money!), I’d put on a Stones’ record (don’t ask me which one, or if you forced me, Sticky Fingers), then I would phone my dogs and see how they were doing and say goodbye, formally; and then I’d reach for some poems, The Complete Works of Harold Pinter, and I would read myself a couple of Harold’s poems which always cheer me up, and then I’d check my hair! You know what I’m saying, you don’t want to go with your hair a mess! And then I’d kick back and relax.

Bill Nighy on indielondon.co.uk

If Hitchhiker’s is a hit, perhaps Nighy will stop being asked to break into his Love Actually signature tune, a cover of Wet Wet Wet’s Four Weddings theme song, which starts: “I feel it in my fingers.” Nighy doubts it: “When I die, I think they’ll put that on my tombstone.”

“Slartibartfast designs planets,” Nighy says. “He designed the Earth. He got an award for Norway, largely because of the fiddly bits around the fjords. But he is described as incredibly old, so obviously I was mystified as to why I was cast for the part.”

smh.com.au

Interviews with Bill Nighy:

Bill Nighy : The Hitchhikers Guyide To The Galaxy (Empire Online)

Bill Nighy – Slartibartfast Gets Serious (recommended)

A BBC video interview with Bill Nighy (recommended)

The critics:

Still, whenever there are at least two British actors on-screen—especially Martin Freeman, AKA Tim from The Office, or the film-stealing Bill Nighy—the movie version mines big, warm, absurd laughs alongside its hyper-imaginative graphics, and quasi-mystical pop metaphysicality.
Sean Nelson / The Stranger

And like almost all the others, it’s perfectly cast. Martin Freeman (Tim from ‘The Office’) is Arthur Dent — the quintessential everyman, swept up by events around him, wandering around space in his bath gown while looking for a cup of tea. His Englishness is brilliantly matched by Allan Rickman’s chronically depressed Marvin and Bill Nighy’s almost bemused Slartibartfast, while the Americans don’t struggle as much as you’d expect.
IAfrica.com : Chaotic but brilliant

Nevertheless, as the message emblazoned on the Guide’s cover puts it: Don’t Panic. In the third act the majestic Bill Nighy saves the day.

Cast as the eccentric planet builder Slartibartfast – who won an award for Norway! – he’s like an adrenaline shot to the heart and jolts the film back to life. As he merrily guides Arthur around his shop floor – a gigantic galactic showroom where worlds are made to order – the smile that creeps across Arthur’s face is one you’ll likely share.
Alistair Harkness / The Scotsman

Links :

BBC : Interview with Bill Nighy about Hitchhikers
Filmfocus: Bill Nighy interview

IMDB on The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy
The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy at FilmFactory
The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy : Official site

Loads of links til reviews on Rotten Tomatoes

The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy : Trailers

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