One of the greatest acting talents of the last century, Sir Christopher Lee is fondly remembered for his wonderful performances as Count Dracula as well as his roles in popular culture gems such as Star Wars and Lord of the Rings. Despite his involvement in popular projects, Lee maintained that his finest work came in the 1998 biopic Jinnah.
In a tribute to the late legend, the director of the Lord of the Rings trilogy Peter Jackson said: “That was the bittersweet reality with Chris — while he regarded his cinematic history with a certain amount of disdain, everyone around him had the opposite opinion. For my part, I’m as happy as hell to have made five Christopher Lee movies.”
All aspiring actors can learn a lot of things from someone of Lee’s stature but the pioneer insisted that the most important lesson for young stars was humility. According to Lee, the newer generations of actors tend to lose themselves in a web of narcissism instead of learning how to love their work as well as their craft.
Lee reflected: “I’d worked at all sorts of places, all over Europe in different languages – singing, acting, sweeping the stage… in other words, learning. Something that few young actors and actresses are prepared to do these days. So many of them are stars before they even make their first film and you know when you look at them on the screen that they are looking in a mirror.”
Adding, “It’s the beginning of a lifelong romance and their hand is underneath the mirror, out of shot because that’s what they want – to be rich and famous immediately which is terribly sad and extremely dangerous. The most dangerous thing that a young actor or actress can do is to believe their own publicity.”
If a young actor makes the mistake of fixating on their own image, Lee insisted that they do not have a chance of enduring in the public consciousness. However, they can be immortalised by audiences if they have the tenacity to keep learning and growing as an actor instead of a star. Watch Christopher Lee’s exclusive interview below in which he provides some sage advice to aspiring actors.