Europe Intelligence Wire June 29 , 2006

(From Leicester Mercury)

From James Bond to the Bard: Joseph Millson is licensed to thrill. As LIZZ BRAIN explains I Having already added more raves to his stockpile of reviews for his performance as Benedick in Much Ado About Nothing, he's now rehearsing for a new production of the rarely-staged King John.

In the meantime, he's barely had time to stand still.

He played Banquo in the BBC's Macbeth, and appeared with Steven Berkoff in Richard II - "That was fantastic,'' he said.

He called me Phil for the entire run and it became such a running joke among the company during notes sessions that I never dared tell him!" he says, sitting during his lunch break on the lawns of the Swan Theatre.

"Then there were some lovely TV jobs; I went to Venice to play Byron in The Romantics for the BBC, then went into Ghost Squad playing a coke-sniffing, nose-breaking policeman.

"I worked at the National for Marianne Elliott, who also directed Much Ado, and through most of it I was able to be at home with the children." He had no qualms about coming back to Stratford for the Complete Works Festival, after spending time with his children last year.

He said: "I auditioned for all the season's companies because I wanted to come back. The only qualms I had were because we're a single-income family and, contrary to what most people believe, we don't actually get paid very much.'' But nothing compares to his excitement at a short contract he had back in January, 2006. "They let me off for a week to do the new James Bond film," he said. "I was 009, which sounds like a big part but is only a couple of lines. Blink and you'll miss me. But I did do my own stunt, filming in the Bahamas.

"I had to jump 14 feet into an empty swimming pool and land on my back. It hurt, and I got whiplash.

"The director kept asking me to do it higher, and I overran it, missed the crash mat, and it would have been the end of me if I hadn't landed on the cameraman and broken my fall.

"So I get my first movie premiere in November - if anyone wants to sponsor my suit or shoes I'd be very happy to hear from them!" For now, however, he's happy at the RSC. "Much Ado is a delight to be in,'' he said. "We over-rehearsed really, for 14 weeks, but now we've found a good level with it, and in King John I play the most interesting part I've ever played, so I'm happy."