A collection of classic Bill Nighy quotes:
- About his name:
He says, “My father used to squirm on the sofa when everybody would say Ni-ey. It used to drive him insane.
“I gave up. I get Nigey, Nigley, Nigee, Nigby. The first time I was ever in the newspaper I was Nigby. I’m sure everybody gets a weird name. I don’t mind.
You can call me nearly anything you like.”
- I’m proud to be an actor. All I do is fanny around and get paid for it. I’ve been lucky with the gigs I’ve had and I’ve met some of the most remarkable people, including my wife.
- There is nothing lonelier,” he says, “than being on stage in pantaloons. I’m not working in an anorak, I’m not working in tights and I particularly don’t want to be armed. Like the man in the Snoo Wilson play, I only do clever talk and sex. And I leave the Tudor verse to others.”
- “You come to realise there is this huge disparity between what you think about yourself and your work and what other people think about you and your work,” he says. “At first you either think they’re insane or that it’s a conspiracy to make you look stupid. Or maybe, just maybe, they’re right, and you’re sometimes quite good at what you do.”
- He dreamed of being a rock star like his idols the Rolling Stones, and to this day lists air guitar as one of his hobbies. “The fact that it’s so deeply uncool encourages me even more,” he says. “I can even tune my air guitar, which not a lot of people can do.”
- “Posing by a fake mountain and fake snow flanked by seven models in four-inch heels and mini Santa Claus outfits does wonders at my time of life,” he admitted.
- As for Keith Richards, well, I went to see the Stones at Twickenham last year and if I weren’t so incredibly macho I would’ve cried. Because it made me so proud. Of us. They’re slightly older than me, readers, but they are my generation and my kind of people and they have this incredible body of work. And to be there, still, and they weren’t just turning up, they were staggering.
- Nighy claims he is not aware of the impact of his voice. If anything, he says he noticed as a young man it seemed to make him more popular with girls’ mothers than with girls themselves. ‘”Where’s that nicely spoken boy?” they used to ask,’ he recalls. ‘Which was death to me, of course.’
- He says now that he has ‘retired’ from all stage plays with no jokes. ‘It seems rather vulgar to expect people to sit in the dark for two hours without a laugh,’ he commented. More a snooker and football fan than the stereotypical thespian, Nighy has also forsworn Shakespeare, pledging no one will ever see his Lear. ‘The ludicrous trousers have a lot to do with it. I’m a lounge-suit fetishist.’
- When on location you tend to eat out a lot as a group. After a bit I find myself getting phobic about anything ‘on a bed of’. I get to the stage of simply longing for an egg on toast: ‘crushed new potatoes’ marked a particularly low point in my relationship with menus.
- Actor Bill Nighy on the view that he is a sex god:
‘Anyone who thinks of me in that way should probably seek professional help.’
- “In a career like mine you have phases,” he explained. “There was a time in my 30s when I played journalists, then there was a time when I played adulterers, just adulterers … I tend to play tall, shallow men, who are a bit of a nuisance around women … and I also always have hair that’s slightly too long for my age.”
- I met Keith at the LA premiere of Pirates 3, and I mean, what do you say to someone whom you listen to literally every day of your life? For me, it’s simple, it’s the Stones and Dylan, bar when you have someone over, then it’s a bit of Marvin Gaye on top just to be sociable.
- A phrase I use far too often …
“You groove me out”, in almost any context. I can say it instead of goodbye, or if people say “I’ll meet you on the corner”. It’s post-modern, ironic jive talk.
- “You have all these plans to act, and maybe do it rather elegantly, and then they turn the rain machine on.”
(On playing Davy Jones, Pirates of the Carribean)
- “I’m a fetishist for what I like to refer to as “the lounge suit”. It amuses me that it’s a suit you might wear “in the lounge” wherever that might be.”
- “I’m not man enough for silk, frankly. Pink makes me uneasy. I am the wrong colour, and as a mousy haired person, I fear yellow with all my heart. I will even try to avoid standing near anyone wearing it.”
- “I am a packaging freak. When people give me gifts, and the packing is particularly …superior they remain unwrapped because I know whatever they contain wouldn’t give as much satisfaction as the packaging does.”
- “I’m not famous for holiday-making. I don’t really understand it,” he says. “Apparently, it is now compulsory to wear shorts – and yet there are only three people in the world who should wear them and I’m not sure who they are.”
- Bill the action man: “I’m not mad about the action part of things. You know, if you show me a stunt, I want to lie down and go to sleep. I have zero interest in fighting, zero interest in horse riding. I like the bits where they talk, and where the story is told. And fortunately, I have a brilliant man called Paul Shapcott who takes over when it gets physical. He looks extraordinarily like me – so I get to go and lie down in my trailer”
- About wanting to dance in a movie:
“.. I’m not trained like Mr. Walken (one of his favourite actors) who’s been dancing since childhood. In Pennies from Heaven he does an absolutely stunning striptease dance as a gangster in a bar, quite apart from the fact that he is one of the greatest actors working in the world right now. It’s like wow… Did I really just say “It’s like wow” ?