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British actor David Suchet

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Still acting suspiciously 

David Suchet has shrugged off Poirot to play...another detective. He explains why.

David Suchet is playing mother. Immaculately dressed as one would expect from the man who has made Agatha Christie’s natty Belgian detective Hercule Poirot his own, he’s wandering around a BBC meeting room, pouring the tea, serving the biscuits and smiling. “Everyone takes me so seriously,” he grumbles, stirring his cup. “Everybody I know takes me seriously. I’m actually desperate to do some comedy.”

David Suchet

David Suchet is known to millions of people around the world for his superb portrayal of Agatha Christie s Belgian detective, Hercule Poirot, in London Weekly Television s series Poirot, which lasted for six years from 1988 to 1994.

Mr. Suchet, born in London in 1946, decided on an acting career at the age of eighteen as a member the National Youth Theatre of Great Britain. He then studied for three years at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts, eventually joining the Royal Shakespeare Company in 1973.

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The labour of being Hercule

David Suchet is to play a British detective in a new BBC drama this month. Yet it is as the Belgian Hercule Poirot that he will always be remembered. `He fascinates me,’ he tells Lucy Cavendish, `because he has a very particular sexuality’

David Suchet’s favourite story is this: “I was on Broadway a year or so ago playing the part of Salieri in Amadeus. There I was as the curtain raised — Salieri, an old man with my face greyed and wrinkled. I stood there. Motionless. Quiet. Then I heard a loud woman in the front row saying to her friend, `No, that’s not him. He’s not Poirot. You’ll know him when you see him.’ Then I come on in the next scene, now as young Salieri without the make-up. I hear this lady pipe up again. `No, that’s not him, that’s definitely not him. He doesn’t look a single bit like Poirot.’ It was everything I could do not to laugh.”

An Interview with David Suchet

When Anthony Trollope started writing what would become his longest novel, he never dreamed a con artist in a supporting role would take over the plot, swindling not only the characters in the book but the author himself! Such was the force of personality of his creation, Augustus Melmotte. David Suchet’s rendition of Melmotte in The Way We Live Now makes it clear what Trollope was up against. No fastidious, obsessive, mincing Hercule Poirot he — at least, not in this performance.

In addition to his signature roles as Poirot on Mystery! and in the 1992 Masterpiece Theatre production The Secret Agent, Suchet has appeared in the feature films A Perfect Murder, Sunday, Wing Commander, Executive Decision, and RKO 281 on HBO. Among his many stage roles, he has appeared as George (opposite Diana Rigg) in Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? and as the professor in David Mamet’s Oleanna. He made his Broadway stage debut in Peter Hall’s Amadeus playing Salieri.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 27 December 2011 04:42

David Suchet

Although he plays the cunning and villainous Salieri in Amadeus at the Music Box Theatre, David Suchet’s playful English charm makes him a delightfully accessible “good guy.” As we chatted before a performance I was intrigued by an enchanting little coffee table book called The Fairies featuring photographic images of supposedly real “fairies” from throughout the world.

TM: Do you believe in Fairies?

David: Oh yes! I believe in fairies and angels and all those things!

TM:What was your favorite childhood game?

David: I just loved Cowboys and Indians. We used to play Soldiers too. But I loved Cowboys and Indians.

TM: Were you a Cowboy or Indian?

David: Cowboy. The good guy of course.

About David Suchet as George in “Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?”

Stephen J. Bottoms // “Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (Plays in Production)”. Cambridge University Press: Cambridge, 2000

[...] David Suchet’s performance as George matches Diana Riggs Martha as effectively as McAnally does Stritch’s, and shows a similarly disturbing range of emotional registers. Suchet’s George is, however, considerably “bigger” than McAnally’s — just as the Almeida performance generally is “bigger” than the BBC Radio version (no doubt partly as a result of the differing levels of intimacy of the two media). There is a vicious force about Suchet which occasionally echoes the nastiness brought to the role by Hill (just as Rigg echoes Hagen). His first act speech to Martha, for example, building up to his refusal to light her cigarette, unmistakably underlines his absolute refusal to obey her instructions, and places her in a distinctly uncomfortable position in front of her guests: man can put up with only so much without he descends a rung or two on the old evolutionary ladder. This is in notable contrast to the playfulness with which, say, Eddington and McAnally toy with these lines. A similar difference in force is even more apparent when Honey brings up the subject of George and Marthas son later in the act: “When’s the little bugger going to appear, hunh?” is delivered with an almost palpably threatening snarl, the “hunh?” punched in like a fist.

From the history of production “Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?”

Stephen J. Bottoms // “Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (Plays in Production)”. Cambridge University Press: Cambridge, 2000

... when the Almeida, another small, London-based art theatre, requested permission to mount a new production in 1996, he stipulated that he would only agree if a West End transfer was guaranteed. With Albee back in fashion following the international success of his 1994 Pulitzer Prize-winner Three Tall Women, he was in a strong position to make such demands, and a four-month run at the Aldwych Theatre was scheduled to follow the month at the Almeida. The resulting production added further momentum to the Albee renaissance, attracting rave reviews by striking that elusive balance between star-studded cast and genuinely cooperative, ensemble-oriented playing.

At first, actor hadn't a clue how to resume being Poirot

After a five-year hiatus, David Suchet was thrilled to reprise his popular role as Hercule Poirot, Agatha Christie's brilliant and eccentric Belgian detective, in the new A&E movie, The Murder of Roger Ackroyd, premiering Sunday.

In fact, the British actor thought it would be a snap to get back into Poirot's shoes, having played the legendary sleuth on TV for more than six years. But that wasn't the case.

"It was strange," Suchet said by phone from New York, where he is appearing on Broadway as Mozart's nemesis, Salieri, in Amadeus.

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Ah! the Little Grey Cells!

For a fictional character to be recognised as the greatest detective in the world is a tribute to the skill of Agatha Christie... and the man who plays him.

it has probably been said before, but it bears repeating: David Suchet is a gentleman through and through and an interviewer s dream. Had I spoken to him 30 minutes later, however, it would have been Hercule Poirot who replied, another gentleman but one from a totally different era. By then, the moustache would have gone on, the character would have kicked in and Poirot would have been in full spate. Once he is in full costume David Suchet recedes into the background and Poirot takes over. It is something over which David has no choice, he says. When you are filming, you can t just drop in and out of character, especially someone so extreme as Poirot. I have to be bang on for that character just as soon as the director shouts action . When the moustache goes on, Suchet dons Poirot like a comfortable coat.

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Actor puts a famous sleuth under his magnifying glass

More than half a billion people follow his every move, from the meticulous eating habits and cleansing rituals, to the now-trademark rapid short-stepped walk.

David Suchet's Hercule Poirot, the fussy sleuth created by Agatha Christie, has become a television hit in 53 countries.

Ever since the original series ended in 1994, fans have been calling for more installments. This month, A&E Television debuted "The Murder of Roger Ackroyd," the first of two new feature-length Poirot films it will air. The second, "Lord Edgware Dies," is not yet scheduled.

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