”I like films with really muddy water,” said Rupert Graves. The British actor isn’t talking about rain-soaked sound stages but about "characters that are complex and strong dilemmas which address the humanity in people, which is not cut-and-dried."
He grew up far from the primrose gardens and charming chateaus of the Merchant Ivory world.
"I kind of fell into a dissolute life, which was getting more and more dissolute," admitted Graves of his unremarkable adolescence in a provincial town near Bristol, England. A problem child who often skipped class, Graves also suffered from a severe speech impediment—which ironically helped prepare him for his future as a performer.
"To get rid of my stammer, I was sent to an elocutionist and had to learn big tracts of prose," Graves recalled. "That’s the only training I had as an actor. I also lost my local accent, which was rather nasty and nasally, and I couldn’t have kept that."
Theatre doesn’t pay his bills, even in arts-subsidized England, but Graves said stage work keeps his craft sharp.
"It’s good practice," said Graves. "Especially since I never trained, I always felt it was important to keep doing theatre, because I can really go back to basics, figure out what’s working, and flex my muscles."
A tiny interview with Rupert circa 1997-1998 (?). Looks like Backstage just reprinted it in 2001.