“But, what I learned quickly in doing more research about him, it’s one thing to read his work and admire his writing style and his ideas and it’s another to imagine that you wrote them or you’re going to pretend to have written them and had those ideas as your own in playing the character.
“And I quickly found that he was actually very funny and gregarious, sociable, much warmer than I thought, and that helped me a lot. As I was starting to prepare the role I thought ‘OK, well that’s a way in.’
“All this dialogue - all this sort of dense dialogue, a lot more dialogue than I’m used to - now I can infuse that with some irony and I can have some fun playing this role, it’s not just ‘OK, it’s a very important historical personality and I have to really get that across.’ In a way it took the weight off the responsibility.
“I thought ‘OK, he had a sense of humour that I can relate to, a certain irony’ and that helped me a lot.”