Mark Lawson talks to Mark Rylance, one of the best stage actors of his generation, about his life and illustrious career. In this insightful interview, Rylance discusses how acting helped him overcome a childhood speech impediment; his lifelong relationship with Shakespeare and his controversial ideas about Shakespeare's authorship; how his role in the film Intimacy raised his respect for porn stars; and how he prepares for his highly-acclaimed role as Johnny Rooster Byron in the award-winning play Jerusalem.
After leaving RADA in 1980, Rylance quickly established himself as a classical actor through major roles at the RSC. Frustrated with so called 'director's theatre' which left him feeling as powerless as 'a waiter', Rylance left the RSC in 1983 to set up his own actor-led production companies. He was the first artistic director of the Globe, where he worked from 1995 to 2005. He has had various film roles, including the alcoholic boxer and chess genius John Healy in the award-winning The Grass Arena, and weapons inspector David Kelly in The Government Inspector. Rylance confesses, however, to being more at home on stage than on screen and his most recent role in Jerusalem has proven to be one of his career highs - earning him Tony and Olivier awards both in Britain and in the US.