Bill Nighy may have a glittering movie career but he admits he still struggles with his nerves when on set.
He said: "I felt nervous before we started filming, during rehearsals, when we started filming, most of the way through filming, all the time, actually."
Nighy, who's starring alongside Anya Taylor-Joy in the new adaptation of Jane Austen's Emma, recalls an honest conversation he had about nerves with Sir Anthony Hopkins when he first started out in the acting industry.
He added: "I remember standing backstage with Anthony Hopkins about to go on stage at the National Theatre. It was probably the biggest first night I had ever been involved in by that point, and it was in the Olivier Theatre, you know, the big one. In the darkness, Hopkins leant over to me and asked, 'How do you feel?' And I said, 'I'm terrified' and he said, 'So am I.' I asked, 'Doesn't get any better?' and he said, 'No. It gets bloody worse.' ... You might get one Wednesday night matinee where you forget to be nervous. Everything flows, everything is beautiful, everything is perfect, and you can't remember why this was ever difficult. And it will never happen again. And it's always frustrating."
And for this reason, the 70-year-old actor never watches his performances.
Speaking to The Independent, he shared: "It takes me too long to recover. I see all the compromises, all the moments of cowardice, the default things I do when I can't pull something off. It's upsetting. It's always so far short of what you had in mind. Because somehow, what you had in mind is never translated into action. [Watching it back] would make you learn nothing except that you must give it up and do something else for a living." — BANG
Emma opens in cinemas Mar 5.