"Tea at Fortnum & Mason is great. You get great fresh tea there. When I say fresh, what I mean is loose tea or tea bags. My cousin's got a big thing for the tea at Fortnum & Mason, so wego and grab tea there and bring it back to L.A. They also have Marmite and bangers and mash and fish and chips. Fortnum & Mason is very English. Just the packaging of the teas or whatever you're buying and the shop itself is very old-school English."
Tale #8: The Budding Thespian Meets The Lord Of The Rings
"The Hubbards, who cast The Lord of the Rings, were the first casting agents I met. I remember Ros Hubbard said something that has stuck with me. She's Irish, a beautiful, lovely woman, and she said, 'I have a feeling you could do anything you put your mind to.' And it just gave me such confidence, her saying something as simple as that to a young actor. Then I met Peter Jackson. It was at this little place on Whitfield Street, like a church hall. I remember walking into the room and seeing him and [Jackson's wife] Fran and thinking what an amazing energy they had. They had come over from New Zealand and were probably very jet-lagged, but they were just amazing, so friendly and so encouraging."
Tale #9: The Artist Returns Home
"I do go home. I still have family there. But I don't go back as often as I'd like. When I'm there, I try to go to Café des Amis, a Mexican restaurant. I guess I was 16 when we started going there. It had just opened. And I'm 27 now. The food is outstanding. The best Mexican food you'll eat. Honestly. I've traveled around Mexico, and I still find Café des Amis to be a pretty good match to anything I've had in Mexico. It's in an old building overlooking the river and the West Gate Towers, which are the gates to the city. It used to be a store where they sold odds and ends, brass objects and things. There's also Papa's Fish Bar in Canterbury. I remember that place. They have great white bread. I remember that loaf called Mother's Pride, with Marmite. I had dinner recently with Ridley Scott in London at Cipriani, a great little restaurant. We were there for Ridley's birthday and the waiter came over and said, 'Ah, we had your friend Johnny Depp here last night.' It was one of those funny stories, ships passing in the night. I think he was there shooting Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Another place I went to once is the Wolseley. It has really good food. More recently, when I've been popping back, I've been having nice meals at J. Sheekey, in the West End. Fantastic fish.
"Often, I'll dream of walking through streets in England that I used to walk through. When I was in New Zealand, I had very vivid dreams of all these different streets I used to walk through, particularly in my hometown. St. Thomas Hill in Canterbury is one that was locked in my head. It actually led to my old school, and I grew up on that hill. We had a house on St. Thomas Hill. But growing up in Canterbury, the cathedral was always right in my backyard, and for different school functions we would go to the cathedral. And at Christmas my mom loved for us to go and sing carols at the cathedral. I think that sort of space instills a sense of awe and history and imagination. All of the history that went along with Canterbury, being brought up there, it became a part of who I was. I've never really thought about it like this, but I suppose it may have had some lasting impression that has inspired me to do the historical, epic kind of stories."