James is fiercely intelligent and acting can get very frustrating. A lot of acting is very repetitive and I have to be careful what I say… but it’s like a boredom threshold. There’s a famous expression about filmmaking: Martin Amis visited the set of Robocop 2 and described filming as ‘a series of repetitions interrupted by delays’. Some actors go into their trailer and sleep – for James all his other interests and thinking about other projects are a way of staying fresh. I admire him for it. People who’ve never met him might think he’s not interested or not involved but actors do all sorts of things to keep fresh. It wasn’t like he was elsewhere. He’d put the book down and he’s ready for a take. He’s a wonderful actor and ambitious like anyone – he wants to stretch his talents but in more of a stellar burst way. He’s pretty much a one-off.
Christiane Amanpour was speaking at an International Women’s Day event in London