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He’s gone from playing The Office’s geeky Gareth to earning his crust in Hollywood blockbusters. Now MACKENZIE CROOK is coming here to do a spot of stand-up and it scares the hell out of him. \‘(ouity Mark Fisher

h}. 'l'liat‘s the mud lor .\laekeii/ie ('rook. :\menahle. §es l‘riendl}. _\es. l’olite. _\es. lliit as an inter\ ie\\ee. he‘s not g'tllllltil'ltllllL‘. He in ists in his ehair and hugs his hon} arms aeross his ehest. his hod} language sining he‘d sooner he sonienhere else. Being “ell intentioned. he laekles Ilt_\ questions \\llll a rush ol enthusiasm. ehatting litippil} one moment. then just as suddenl} pulling himseIl tip \\ itli an apologetie: "l'hat’s it reall_\.~ lle's eooperati\e. just not garruloiis. and e\er_\thing lits into plaee when he sa_\s the reason he likes heing an aetor and eoinedian is that he ean hide hehind his eharaeters. ‘l eouldn’t do stand-tip as in} sell... he sa}s. "l'hose eoniedians \iho are tip there as themsehes are quite e\posed and il' )oii get heekled or )oii do a had it‘s _\oii that the_\ dislike. ll I do a had gig. it's .\lr Bagshau the} don't like. It's a sale!) net. a mask. I‘m an aetoi' rather than a eomief

l'or all his sh_\ness. he’s rela\ed ahoiit the lame he's earned pla}ing (iareth Keenan in The (Wire. He thinks it‘s niee \xhen strangers eonimend him l'or his role as the immature johsxiorth \xith striet riiles ahout untid} desks and slopp} seeonds. There has one li'iend. though. \\ho he thought reaeted ’str;iiigel_\' to his ne\\-lound eelehrit}. 'lle seemed a hit starstruek. .v\ll he uanted to talk ahoiit “as me and “hat I'm doing.‘

It's a telling response. .-\etor he tiiight he. hut ('l‘titik lttts IIU ilesit'e [II he the eentre Ul. tillettliiili. l)o\\ n the pith alter shooting Xvi Iii’t'x oft/iv I’oltilo .lli'ii. a Uni siteom to he sereened ne\t )i‘tii'. it “as his eo-star .lohnn) Vegas “ho was the soul ol' the part}. ‘llis drink thing is an aet.‘ he sa_\s ahoiit Vegas. ‘Biit he's ati ineredihl} limit} man. I'm not a eomie in e\et'_\da_\ lile. I'm not the thinnest person do“ n the piih. \\ hereas he is.'

\Vhieh makes it all the more surprising \\llL‘ll he tells me his amhition. ‘l'd like to “in an ()seai‘.' he sins. .-\n ()sear'.’ \Vell. )es. he qualities it \\Illt a speed) ‘it sounds so hig headed'. hut there‘s no question \\ here he‘s set his sights. ‘I guess I'm amhitioiis. hiit not in a reall} dri\ en \\;i_\. [i it eame to ehoosing hetueen in} eareer and iii_\ lamil} lhe has a ten-month old sonl there'd he ahsolutel} no question that I‘d stop the eareerf

But \xho's to sit} he \xon't get that ()sear'.’ He got into eomed} as a ‘haekdoor \\a_\ of getting into aeting and it‘s a sti'ateg} that has paid oil. .liist look at his t'eeent \\ork load. In l’t'ritli’x (if Illt’ ('uri'i'lit'itii.

starring .lohiin} l)epp. he ga\ e a real glimpse ol' his range. p|a_\ ing the one-e} ed Ragetti. as gormless as he “as inenaeing. and reinl'oreing (‘rook's image as a \ersatile eharaeter aetor. :\lso in the ean is a thriller L‘tllletl l/A/It' (rill/It'l'tllg’. )L‘l lti he released In the l'ls'. \\ itli ('hristina Rieei and Kerr) l"o\.

Still to eome are No (’hristinas editions ot' '/'/ii' ()I/lt't' and a role in mm _\eai”s ('liiirt'lii'll.‘ 'I'lit' l/(ll/VH'UHt/ li'tlrx. tllt‘eeteil h} l’eler Riehat'dson tilitl starring .\'e\ e ('amphell. ('hristian Slater plus a load ol British eoiiieih hea\.\\\eights. Then there's 'l'lit' li’i'ollit'rx (ii'i’iiim h} 'lei‘i'} (iilliain. starring lleath ledger and Matt Damon. not to mention the reason he's eaneelled inost ol his autiimn stand—tip dates: The .llt'l’t‘lltllll o/lé'iiii‘t' \\ iih no less than .-\I l’aeino.

It‘s all a great adventure lot the modest ('rook. ‘.'\ le\\ _\ears ago in} dream “tillltl ha\ e heen to he in a liltii \\llll .lohnn) l)epp and non l'\e lound in}sell doing l\\ti l‘ilins \xith him. ll l earr} on doing small parts in hig mox'ies lor the rest ol‘ m} eareer l'd he eoinpleteh happ}.'

lle sa}s that \torking \xith 'lerr} (iilliam. the lilm ei'iek ilit‘eeltit' til~ Ifl'tlft/ and llll't'll‘l' .l/tiIi/st'ix. is a lot like I.U\I iii l.u .lluiii'liu. the tlttL'llIIIL‘IIILII'} ahoiit the tailed attempt h} the .\lont_\ l’}thon eartoonist to liliii l)oii (_)lll\(II(‘. ‘lt's quite a weird politieal shootf he sa}s. '()dd. hiit t'eall} e\eiting. (iilliam is a mad genius.‘

'l‘he lilm is a lietitioiis telling ol' the lile stor} ol

the Brothers (Erimm. pla}ed h_\ Ledger and l)amon. (’rook pla}s one ol‘ their henehmen. ‘l had to do some ridieiilous things: hanging upside doun \xith snails on in) head. I'm not lond ol‘ snails and the} made animatronie snails \xhieh eost Slillll eaeh. hut then the) eouldn‘t siiek them on to our l'aees. 'l‘heyd spent so mueh mone} on making them. the} 'd l'orgotten the glue. So the} had to use real snails iii the end. It “as horrihle. Put )our phohias on _\oiir l'aeel'

'/'/lt' .l/t'l't'lltlltl (if li’lttt't' slttlllltl he less ph_\sieall_\ ta\ing. hiit as his lirst Shakestk‘are. on set \xith l’aeino in period eostume in l.u\emhourg and \eniee. it \xill ha\e its o\\n demands. 'l pla} l.;iiinee|ot (iohho \sho's Sh} loek's assistant. He's a eloun eharaeter. so it‘s a eomie role. hut _\es proper aetingf

\Vhen )ou tell people )oii'xe met .\laeken/ie ('rook. the} al\\a_\s ask ahout his hair. The} ean't imagine him \\ ithoui the nerdishl} hrushed-lomard hloiid l‘ringe that so hrilliaiitl} LlCllIIL‘Ll his role in

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