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Tobias Menzies

Tobias Menzies

Birthday: 7 March 1974, London, England, UK
Height: 185 cm

Tobias was born in London. He graduated from the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA) in 1998 and began his acting career in popular UK series such as Foyle's War, Midsomer Murders, and Casualty. ...Show More

Tobias Menzies
[on playing Black Jack Randall on Outlander (2014) ] I never regarded Black Jack as someone who didn Show more [on playing Black Jack Randall on Outlander (2014) ] I never regarded Black Jack as someone who didn't have tender feelings somewhere. Hide
I'm largely interested in people who are just great actors, and they're not necessarily hugely famou Show more I'm largely interested in people who are just great actors, and they're not necessarily hugely famous. Hide
Comparing the characters he's portrayed in Rome (2005), Game of Thrones (2011) and Outlander (2014); Show more Comparing the characters he's portrayed in Rome (2005), Game of Thrones (2011) and Outlander (2014); Brutus was a boy in a man's world- a study in weakness, moral indecision. Edmure is buffoonish-well-meaning but slightly inept. Frank and Jack are fully capable men but flawed in different ways. They're both formed by War. Frank has been through the Second World War, and Jack is going through this bloody Jacobite insurgency. One turns to the light, the other turns to the dark. Hide
Regarding working with Keira Knightley in the play, The Children's Hour - Being around that level of Show more Regarding working with Keira Knightley in the play, The Children's Hour - Being around that level of fame has been quite an eye-opener. We went to a girls' school during rehearsals to work with a drama group. There were 150 children in the playground and they started screaming. I'm sure it wasn't me! There was a volume and intensity about it that was so peculiar, it was animal. Keira deals with that pretty well. Would I want that? Absolutely not. Then again, do you want recognition that allows you to do the work you want to do? Of course. Hide
On the auditioning process - It's 90 percent humiliation, isn't it? Just going in and kind of crashi Show more On the auditioning process - It's 90 percent humiliation, isn't it? Just going in and kind of crashing and burning and also doing things that you look back and go, Why on earth was I being seen for that? I was just so wrong. I remember auditioning for Moulin Rouge! (2001), the part that Ewan McGregor played. I was so young, I was literally just out of college. But they were just doing that sort of mass casting, just ring up everyone and put them on tape. And I had to sing and dance and it was just ridiculous. What was I doing in that room? Terrible! I tried so hard, it was so terrible! Hide
I wouldn't be seen dead in a kilt. I wouldn't be seen dead in a kilt.
[I heard a story about how you first decided to become an actor, and it involved a trip to the bathr Show more [I heard a story about how you first decided to become an actor, and it involved a trip to the bathroom?] [Laughs.] Yeah, really early on, when I was young, we went and saw a production of The Wind in the Willows in a theater. At the intermission, I went to the toilet, and in the urinal next to me was the actor playing Badger. I didn't quite know why he was in the urinal meant for the audience, and not backstage, I'm not quite sure about that, but there was something thrilling about seeing someone I had looked up to on the stage, and then seeing him beside me having a piss. There was something really about that which stayed with me. It seemed a little bit of magic in a way, this sort of mythical figure breaking through and just being there. And that was the first time I engaged with the idea of wanting to be an actor, and also being a person. Hide
[On what meal he'd cook for a romantic dinner] Oooh... I think it might have to be just a very delic Show more [On what meal he'd cook for a romantic dinner] Oooh... I think it might have to be just a very delicious, very classic Italian type of dish - a carbonara. When I was working on the show, Rome (2005) in Rome the main lesson I learned from eating out there is they have very little amounts of sauce - amazing sauce - but they use small quantities, an amazing bottle of wine, and a salad. I'm a bit of a rabbit. I love an amazing salad. Hide
[on working with the writers on Rome (2005)] I had a lot of involvement with the script process and Show more [on working with the writers on Rome (2005)] I had a lot of involvement with the script process and obviously as an actor I would say I found that beneficial. You know what feels or sounds believable, and that sort of veritas is often missing from TV dramas. Scripts can be slick and structured, but do they always contain the truth? Hide
[on his favorite song/band] It might have to be Neil Young, "Old Man." [on his favorite song/band] It might have to be Neil Young, "Old Man."
[on why he wanted to be part of Outlander (2014)] Because it is incredibly bold, goes to a rich arra Show more [on why he wanted to be part of Outlander (2014)] Because it is incredibly bold, goes to a rich array of places, and the characters are very vivid. There is a strong female audience, but I think it has quite broad appeal. It has everything in it. It has time travel, adventure, history, romance, battles. I imagine if we get it right, it will have something for everyone and be unlike anything else. It is a big genre buster. It crosses a lot of different streams. Hide
On his Outlander (2014) look as Black Jack Randall - I wear a wig to play Jack, and I remember on my Show more On his Outlander (2014) look as Black Jack Randall - I wear a wig to play Jack, and I remember on my first day of filming him, I spent my whole day trying to blow and push wisps of hair out of my face without ruining takes. Never had long hair before. It seemed like a total nightmare. I could just never get the hair totally out of my face, it was distracting. The 1740s costumes are very constraining. You're very, very conscious of what you're wearing at all times compared to how we dress now. Trying to get on and off horses with long swords was also interesting, especially trying to make it look like you've done it many times before. Hide
On being drawn into acting after frequently attending theater productions with his mother as a teen Show more On being drawn into acting after frequently attending theater productions with his mother as a teen - The world seemed bigger, richer, watching things unfold in those rooms. In drama, you see other versions of life: 'Oh, that's what it would be like to be that!' Something obviously was stirring in me. Hide
[It seems fitting for the kinds of characters you're attracted to, in which you take these people an Show more [It seems fitting for the kinds of characters you're attracted to, in which you take these people and really humanize them, warts and all.] That's what's interesting about humans, we're always a massive contradiction. There's a lot more to everyone, isn't there? What I'm interested in doing is making the character more three-dimensional, big or small, because that's what's both great and infuriating about people. Everyone has a family. Everyone comes from somewhere. So it's harder to demonize someone when you see them with their family, as you do with Black Jack in this most recent episode. You have to engage with Jack the sibling, which is always complicated. That's one of the benefits of doing a television drama over a long period of time -you get to explore these little contradictions. And one of the benefits of doing the TV show from the books is we can fill in the gaps, and color in more of the characters. Hide
[On his favorite TV show] favorite all time is The Wire (2002). It's a great piece of storytelling i Show more [On his favorite TV show] favorite all time is The Wire (2002). It's a great piece of storytelling in recent times. I'm watching Wolf Hall (2015). I've heard tell and have meant to catch up on Transparent (2014). Hide
[Regarding his costumes for Rome (2005)] I'm not sure that I had the legs for togas. I think James P Show more [Regarding his costumes for Rome (2005)] I'm not sure that I had the legs for togas. I think James Purefoy had the best legs, good calves. I'm not sure I ever want togas to come back into fashion. Hide
I love haggis. Haggis, neeps, and tatties. I love haggis. Haggis, neeps, and tatties.
[On his Outlander (2014) rape scene with Sam Heughan] It was about trying to get the tone right. I w Show more [On his Outlander (2014) rape scene with Sam Heughan] It was about trying to get the tone right. I was keen for it to be as psychological as possible. I just didn't want it to feel sensational. If you're going to have Jack rape Jamie, you have to really earn that, really get to a place where that scene is within the realm of the story. Sam and I didn't talk a lot [while shooting those scenes]. We would sort of kept to ourselves between shots. But again, one of the good things is how we had been working together for a year so we had a fair amount of trust. Hide
[Regarding Black Jack Randall's explosive and controversial anger after the death of his brother on Show more [Regarding Black Jack Randall's explosive and controversial anger after the death of his brother on Outlander (2014)] In the script we had the brother die. We have the death scene of the brother, and [writer Ira Steven Behr] had Jack break down. We were working on it and working on it and filming it, but in a way I felt like everyone's seen that scene, and it felt a little bit clichéd, arguably. We want to see his emotion, but in a way that's odder, and so we actually ended up shooting a version where the brother dies, and you see that land with Jack and then Jack beats the body of the brother with his fists. He takes out his rage and loss in violence. Right at the end is a very vivid flash of who Jack is, and who we haven't seen in the episode. Hide
On filming in Scotland - It is just an incredibly beautiful country. I've had the luck through filmi Show more On filming in Scotland - It is just an incredibly beautiful country. I've had the luck through filming to be taken to amazingly beautiful bits of it and allowed to just hang out in those places. The few times that the rain has stopped and the sun does come out, it is God's own country. That's been a pleasure. We've been basing ourselves in Glasgow, and there are very warm people here and we've been very welcomed. It's been one of the real bonuses of this job to get to hang out here. Hide
[On his favorite pastime/hobby] Tennis. Playing tennis. I spent most of my childhood on a tennis cou Show more [On his favorite pastime/hobby] Tennis. Playing tennis. I spent most of my childhood on a tennis court. It was my grand passion. Hide
On the difficulties of portraying the savagery of Black Jack Randall on Outlander (2014) - It would Show more On the difficulties of portraying the savagery of Black Jack Randall on Outlander (2014) - It would be a lie to say that I go home and shake it off. But it's what excites me as an actor when I see it and when I manage to do it myself, when there's lots of shades within the colors of the characters. It's true to life, isn't it? Nothing is one thing or the other. Jack is one of life's interesting contradictions. He does have some personal insight, he gets people and how they work but he chooses to abuse those rather than comfort them or reassure them. Hide
I live or die by how well I act. I live or die by how well I act.
On playing the romantic lead in Forget Me Not (2010), a romantic comedy with a dark tinge; I've not Show more On playing the romantic lead in Forget Me Not (2010), a romantic comedy with a dark tinge; I've not played a romantic lead before and it did feel like uncharted territory, but it's a very small film so I don't think this is going to make me a superstar. Hide
[On a role he'd like to portray in the future] I don't think the show ever played in America, but th Show more [On a role he'd like to portray in the future] I don't think the show ever played in America, but there was a famous bandit, a highwayman, in England, called Dick Turpin (1979). When I was a kid there was a show about the adventures of this highwayman. I remember being obsessed by him. So I wouldn't mind having a go at Dick Turpin. Hide
On how the cast of the 2011 production of The Children's Hour with Keira Knightley and Elizabeth Mos Show more On how the cast of the 2011 production of The Children's Hour with Keira Knightley and Elizabeth Moss loosened up: The cast plays volleyball in the auditorium. We have a piece of rope lengthwise across the seats. We played all through rehearsal so we've just kept it up. Hide
[When asked which historical figure's he like to hook-up with, Tobias Menzies didn't even think twic Show more [When asked which historical figure's he like to hook-up with, Tobias Menzies didn't even think twice before saying Marilyn Monroe] She seemed like the most gorgeous, sex kitten-ish, bundle of joy. Hide
I love small theaters because they're intimate, and you can have a very easy rapport with the audien Show more I love small theaters because they're intimate, and you can have a very easy rapport with the audience. Everyone's in the same room. Hide
Do I think the West End relies too heavily on star names? Yes, I do, and it can result in miscasting Show more Do I think the West End relies too heavily on star names? Yes, I do, and it can result in miscasting and sub-standard stuff. Not always, but occasionally. Hide
When I started acting, I found a place and a release which I didn't find in my own life. When I started acting, I found a place and a release which I didn't find in my own life.
I've been really lucky to have had a variety of roles, and I don't think I'm in danger of being type Show more I've been really lucky to have had a variety of roles, and I don't think I'm in danger of being typecast as the romantic lead. I think there's honor in working as constantly as you can. That isn't easy. And I'm no matinee idol. Hide
[on fandom on Outlander (2014) and Game of Thrones (2011)] I think it is essentially a creative and Show more [on fandom on Outlander (2014) and Game of Thrones (2011)] I think it is essentially a creative and fun dialogue between the fans who feel ownership over this material and the people who are making it. I'm all for that. Personally, I don't troll through the forums and try to steer clear because there is enough pressure on you already. And I suppose you want to come to it as unaffected as possible. But it is a great benefit to have such a large and rich group of people who are enthusiastic about it and who are looking forward to it. That's definitely a positive. Hide
Tobias Menzies's FILMOGRAPHY
as Actor (70)
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