Bromley-bound Warwick Davis talks his new play, Life's Too Short, Star Wars and the Monty Python reunion

News Shopper: Bromley-bound Warwick Davis talks his new play, Life's Too Short, Star Wars and the Monty Python reunion Bromley-bound Warwick Davis talks his new play, Life's Too Short, Star Wars and the Monty Python reunion

THERE was always going to be the potential for awkwardness meeting one of the biggest little actors around.

Everyone knows that Warwick Davis is short, but the thing is, I stand at 6ft 7 so you can begin to see how a face-to-face interview could run into difficulties. Should I make light of it, or say nothing?

Thankfully it was 43-year-old Warwick who broke the ice, asking me just how tall I am as we shook hands (and I just about held back my shoulder bag from swinging perilously close to his face).

As I followed him into the lift, he said: “People never ask me how tall I am.”

“But you must get other comments?” I said. “I get what’s the weather like up there and that kind of thing...”

“Oh, yeah, I do. People say ‘Can I have your autograph?’, ‘I love you’, that kind of thing,” he deadpanned.  “Do you ever get that?”

I told him I get ‘I love you’ quite often, but only really when I’m at home, he laughed politely and we settled down in an anonymous office at the top of The Churchill for the interview proper.

With popular roles in Star Wars and the Harry Potter films, he was already one of the country’s, if not the World’s, most famous reduced height actors. And then came the Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant-scripted Life’s Too Short.

He said: “Ever since doing that, my career has really taken off in television and different areas.

“That wasn’t the real me but people got to know me a bit more than they had previously, and then doing An Idiot Abroad they really got to know me.”

Warwick’s latest venture is a revival of the 1940s farce See How They Run, which starts its nationwide tour at The Churchill in Bromley on February 19 and is cast entirely from short actors, dubbed The Reduced Height Theatre Company.

He said: “I thought it would be lovely to be on stage in a straight play, the sort of thing I like to watch.

“To do that, I thought I have to produce it and then I can put myself in it.

“Then I started to think of the other actors I know and I thought they have not had the opportunities I have.

“They have gone through drama school and trained and never really been challenged. There is some work out there but it normally playing aliens in sci-fi – which I have done as well.

Having recently finished a run in the West End in Spamalot, Warwick said he could see parallels in the way a talented cast of performers spurred each other on.

He said: “Everyone else in the show is so good that you have to live up to everyone else, so there is this lovely cumulative effect.”

Starring in the Monty Python musical was the first time Warwick had to sing on stage, and he admitted it was nerve-wracking.

He said: “I had to sing Always Look on the Bright Side of Life in the show, which is Eric Idle’s song.

“He’s a producer and I remember the night he came to see the show was one of the most terrifying experiences.

“He said he was moved by it and we became friends afterwards. He was delighted.”

That led to Warwick being invited to host the press conference last summer in which the five remaining Pythons came out of hibernation, and experience he described as ‘really, really cool’.

As to whether that could bloom into a part in the show, Warwick is coy but enthusiastic.

“I did drop a lot of hints,” he said. “It may come up. I don’t know how far through the production process they are but I’d love to jump on stage and do a little sketch. I could be the parrot.”

Another project which fans will be keen to know if Warwick is involved in is the highly anticipated new Star Wars trilogy.

Warwick appeared in 1983’s Return of the Jedi and in three roles in 1999’s Episode I: The Phantom Menace.

As yet, he said that he doesn’t know if he’ll be involved but, again, has been ‘dropping a lot of hints’.

He said: “I’m friends with people in the art department and I said ‘make sure you draw lots of little characters’.

“Unfortunately George Lucas isn’t there anymore. He has handed the reins over to Kathleen Kennedy and I don’t know her quite as well.

“I used to be able to drop George a note and say ‘remember me’.

“Whether or not there will be Ewoks I don’t know but it would be good just to have a cameo in there and have my foot in all three of the trilogies. For old times’ sake.

“Maybe I’ll just turn up at the studio.”

See How They Run is at The Churchill Theatre in Bromley from February 19 to 22. Tickets cost £11.90 to £35.40. Go to atgtickets.com/Bromley or call 0844 8717620. For more information about The Reduced Height Theatre Company and the tour, go to reducedheighttheatre.co.uk

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