Leading British stage and screen actor Robert Powell has literally stepped off the stage and come straight out to Majorca to play in the charity golf tournament. But while Powell is grateful for the rest, he is an actor who loves a challenge, “the harder it is, the more I want to do it.” Today's younger generation envisage Powell as the comic detective with Jasper Carrott, but 25 years down the road, most people are still talking about his role as Jesus in Franco Zeffirelli's highly acclaimed “Jesus of Nazareth” in 1977. Powell admits that he was not too enamoured by the role, having briefly met the director twice for two previous films which went no further, and decided put Zeffirelli to the test to see how much the director wanted him to play Jesus. “I did a screen test, and I was awful,” Powell said. “I was wearing an awful wig and fake beard, but Zeffirelli said later it was my eyes he was taken with.” Powell went on to star in the remake of “Thirty-nine Steps” the following year and to win awards across the globe. But he admits that the theatre is his number one love “that's where the soul of acting is” and prefers television to cinema, he will be back on the UK television screens next year. But for the past four years he has been concentrating on theatre . “I have just finished, last Saturday night, a play by Alan Bennet, called Single Spies, in which I played both Guy Burgess and Anthony Blunt, and having been on stage every night for four months, it is a huge relief to be here,” he said yesterday. The main attraction of theatre for Powell is that the parts, or at least the parts he has played over the years, are more interesting. For example the roles of Burgess and Blunt, “both very different and extraordinary men and you would never be given the opportunity to do something like in the cinema. “So, the work that gives me the soul, is in the theatre,” he says. Powell did however start his acting in the theatre, and most of the early work was comedy. He has and does enjoy working in the cinema, but there are very few directors who would be capable of tempting him back on to the screen nowadays.


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