INTERVIEW: The Cultural Life Of David Tennant

What are you reading in bed?
I've just started a book called Peacemakers by Margaret MacMillan. It's about the 1919 Paris peace treaty. That's quite posh, I realise. I've developed a penchant in recent years for sort of... a friend of mine describes them as 'dull books about dead people'.

What book have you been meaning to read but haven't got round to yet?

Ulysses for instance?
Read it, moved on. No, I've always thought Ulysses might be too far up its own bum.

What is the soundtrack to your life right now?
Right now, The Killers' new album Hot Fuss. The Streets' latest album. I resisted for a while, I got the first album and it was a bit the same " sorry. So I didn't bother getting the second one, but everyone kept telling me to give it a chance and now I love it, it's fantastic. The new U2 album " still playing that quite a lot. Damien Rice for more mellow moments, since I saw Closer.

Did you like that film?
I think it's great, but it really upset me. It makes you feel like you can never have a relationship. You end up thinking we can't exist with other human beings, we might as well kill ourselves.

Who should play you in the Hollywood version of your life?
Crispin Glover. I remember thinking we sort of looked a bit the same once. Or Jeanette Cranky, if she's out of hospital. She's very good at young Scottish boys.

And who would be your nemesis in the last reel?
Some hot young actor coming up on the inside.

What is your ideal alternative job? And the realistic alternative?
A gigolo? I'd love to be a great writer. I'd love to have some extraordinary talent that no one else has. Don't print that " I'll sound like a tool.

Do you have a hole in your cultural life?
Yeah, I've never been able to get on the end of opera. I tried a bit. I'm waiting for it to kind of kindle me in the way that people tell me it's going to, but I just can't quite get there somehow.

Which painting or work of art most corresponds with your vision of yourself?
I think something by Roy Lichtenstein, one of those Pop Art comic- strip things. Because they're simple and to the point and hopefully they make a strong statement and they do it with humour, which as an actor I aspire to.

What was your cultural passion at 14?
I was really getting into music for the first time. It was lots of Scottish bands like the Proclaimers, Deacon Blue, Hipsway, The Water Boys, Hue and Cry " I loved all that white-boy soul thing that was going on. And also the good stadium stuff, Simple Minds and U2. I guess I was also going to the theatre for the first time " going to the Citz in Glasgow. It was an extraordinary artistic policy which they operated under. I saw some of the worst things I've ever seen and some of the best. The first thing I saw I think was School for Scandal, but an unusual, high-camp production. Brilliant. Macbeth set in a spaceship was probably the low point.

What is your secret passion now?
I'm quite an Avril Lavigne fan. And I know I shouldn't be, I'm aware that that's wrong " on quite a few levels.

Why do you rate her?
She's a fine, fine musician. She understands the pop world very clearly. She's great! So if you're reading this Avril... I mean, I'm ashamed of myself " but you know, I still admitted it.

Maybe you'll get a date out of it...
You never know. But she's probably a nightmare in real life, she'll be a little spoilt brat, won't she?

You die and go to heaven " who would you most like to meet in the bar?
I'm always nervous of meeting anyone famous " it slightly takes the shine off them. Maybe if we're dead it would be different. Cleopatra " she'd be quite interesting. But would I have to speak Egyptian, or would that be covered in the after-life welcome pack? Do you get a Babel fish? Otherwise, Cleopatra and I might not have much to say to each other.

Source: The Independent 10 April 2005