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Wolf Hall's Nathaniel Parker - 'I'm having the time of my life'

The current Olivier Award nominee recently caught up with TheaterMania.com

Nathaniel Parker as Henry VIII in Wolf Hall
© Keith Pattinson

The recent WhatsOnStage and Olivier Award-nominated actor, who plays King Henry VIII in the RSC's Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies, is currently in New York, where the productions open at the Winter Garden Theatre next month.

Congratulations! How are you feeling about your recent nominations?
I've always taken awards with a slight pinch of salt going, "Oh, who needs awards." But once you get nominated, you go, "Oh, oh, oh, oh, yes."

The nomination for the Olivier I got on the morning of our media day here. And I was actually late getting up - I'd been out the night before for the premiere of The Audience and maybe had one drink too many… and it may have mixed in with my jet lag. And if you don't know New York, going from one end of New York to the other isn't as easy as it seems. So, I ran down Broadway from the Lower East Side and I knocked on a cop car's window to find out directions. But luckily I was right outside the subway station, and I got there in time. When I was getting toward the building, I looked at my phone and my e-mails and there was a message from my agent saying, "Congratulations". I was thrilled. I had completely forgotten they were happening and I certainly didn't expect one.

How did you know Wolf Hall was a hit?
That's a bit pompous, isn't it? When I hear it like that. There was so much energy involved in it... You could see from the reading... You just sit there and go, "Yeah, this is a bloody hit." Obviously nothing is a given in this game, and certainly not getting to Broadway. But it felt to me that our focus had to be here, had to be Broadway. Getting to Broadway has become not just a focus but the aim. And I don't think I could have begged to be here with a better show in a better part. So [this is] thrilling actually, really thrilling. I'm having the time of my life.

You seem like a very optimistic person
You've got to be optimistic, haven't you? But I think complacency or arrogance, there's no place for either. Sometimes when I read myself in print, I go, "Oh my god. I sound so arrogant." But actually all it is, is enthusiasm and optimism. I don't expect anything. I don't expect any favors, I don't expect any love or appreciation. I know I've got to earn it and I love trying to earn it. And there's nothing more rewarding than having a bit of appreciation once you've earned it.

I do acknowledge that I am one of the luckiest bastards on the planet. I don't know a luckier actor. With Wolf Hall, I have totally fallen on my feet with the best director I've ever worked with and company of people I have so much respect for and love and admiration for. So lucky is what I am.

Is it difficult to be away from your family?
If I had my perfect life, it would be to be with them all the time. But they will come out for the opening. I can't wait. They love New York. And then they'll come right after exams for what will hopefully be the extension period of this show, if we get that far. I have a sneaking feeling we will.

To read the full interview visit TheaterMania.com