Part two of our Guy Pearce interview. Part one here
What about Sarah Palin running for US president?
Now that scares me. But then you can’t get much scarier than George [W] Bush. Now there’s all this talk about how disappointing Obama is because I think some people, blindly, opened their arms and said this guy’s going to be the Messiah, and in two years he wasn’t, so now he’s a failure. Hang on a second. Let’s just remind ourselves of what ‘D*ckhead Bush’ did.
In your new film The King’s Speech, you play a weak, foppish Nazi-sympathising Edward VIII, while Geoffrey Rush is an Australian who almost single-handedly wins the war — is there some Aussie propaganda going on here?
I don’t know. Tom Hooper, the director, has got an Aussie connection, too, but you wouldn’t know talking to him. He’s very English.
Colin Firth once said that all actors are drag queens, something you know a little bit about. Did you ever don the frocks off set?
[Laughs] He wore a kilt, which is as close as either of us got to dragging it up. In fact, we did think of a funny poster. We were filming and he was walking up the stairs in front of me and I said “Are you wearing any underwear? Because I thought I saw your bottom cheek there.” And we thought that could make an interesting poster. You could call it The King’s Peach.
So he was wearing it in the traditional fashion…
I believe he was. I insisted on going up the stairs in front of him from that point on.
Do you ever miss the freedom that wearing a frock can bring?
Yeah, occasionally. I haven’t worn one since. I was asked to go on tour with the Village People, in drag, which I was a little nervous about. I thought I might have been used as some sort of whipping boy. I was busy doing my hair, so I declined.
Have you seen the Priscilla musical stage show?
I haven’t, I’m sad to say. My mate Jase was doing the show here and the two times I had tickets to see it, he was off and I didn’t want to see it without him in it.
You were in Bedtime Stories with Russell Brand when he was at his lady-chasing peak. He’s said he relentlessly pursued Teresa Palmer during filming. Did you witness it?
I love Russell and if he was pursuing her, he didn’t really show it. The thing about Russell is he’s incredibly sweet and shy and delicate as well. He’s an incredible human being. He’s very bright and has incredible passion, but he’s also very respectful and delightful. And quite sneaky, too, if he wants to be.
Do you think that’s his secret?
You know, man, he’s got lots of secrets. It depends on what a woman might want, how a woman might respond. He’s got an incredible eye and ear and awareness of how to turn women on.
Did you feel the attraction to him?
I had such a man-crush. I so wanted to be Russell Brand. He’s just everything I’m not.
Perhaps you should have worn the drag…
He gave me a bit of a sideways glance every now and again, so I think I was in with a bit of a chance.
The King’s Speech is at cinemas nationwide from 7 January