The actor on playing Churchill, almost becoming Frasier Crane, and writing satirical poems about the US president
John Lithgow, the self-described “professional actor” and “amateur satirist”, has won many Tonys, Emmys and Golden Globes. Recently he starred as Winston Churchill in the first season of The Crown, the predatory CEO of Fox News Roger Ailes in the 2019 film Bombshell, and an attorney in the TV reboot of Perry Mason. Last year his poetry book, Dumpty, about Donald Trump and his cronies, became a bestseller. A follow-up, TrumptyDumpty Wanted A Crown: Verses for a Despotic Age, has just been published.
What were your honest emotions when you learned Trump had tested positive for Covid-19?
Oh well, they were complicated and mixed. With so many of my friends, we’ve said: “Oh, why doesn’t he get the coronavirus?” Then when it happened, it’s like a child’s magical thinking. You immediately feel ashamed of yourself. But it is karmic. The reason why I wrote these books, and it was so easy to write them, is because so many elements of the Trump personality and the Trump administration are the elements of comedy. He’s hubristic, then karma catches up with him over and over again. But ultimately, he keeps on surviving. Karma never quite wins.
Churchill was as different from most Englishmen as he is from Americans, in a senseContinue reading...