Rhys Ifans - Rhys Ifans: 'I Was Vanessa Redgrave's Flyman'
Actor Rhys Ifans feels his acting career has come full circle after working with Vanessa Redgrave in new period film Anonymous - because he started out as the veteran's 'flyman'.
The Notting Hill star landed a role as a trainee at a theatre in North Wales after leaving school and worked on the scenery for Redgrave's Cleopatra.
He recalls, "A flyman is the guy who pulls the ropes and brings the scenery in and out. Vanessa Redgrave was working in that theater playing Cleopatra with (then-boyfriend) Timothy Dalton. So my first experience in life was with Vanessa, but I only saw the top of her head from where I was!
"When she was in the make-up trailer on the first day of shooting Anonymous I said, 'Oh, hi Vanessa, I'm a big fan. We've worked together before.' I could see her trying to remember me. I said, 'You won't remember me but I remember you'."
He relayed the story of his humble beginnings to Redgrave's daughter Joely Richardson, who also appears in Anonymous, during a recent junket.
She said, "That's an amazing story. And now you're starring in a film about Shakespeare that mom is in. That's made my day to hear that story. I love those life things."