Andrew Scott: ‘Its mind-blowing being described as a sex symbol’

The actor, 42, on the pleasure of acting in Fleabag, Irelands new progressiveness and not being the next James Bond

I was brought up in Dublin. My parents are from Tyrone and Mayo. I went to a Catholic boys school. It was a different time for Ireland back then. With the same-sex marriage referendum of 2015 and the abortion referendum last year, Id say that now its a progressive country. Im very proud of Ireland. Its come so far.

If they made me pope, my main thing would be to get rid of this nonsense that you cant be a religious person and a sexual person at the same time. I think its damaging to desexualise any human being. Allowing priests and nuns to marry or just have a partner in life might have saved a lot of tremendous hardship. It also might be an incentive for people who feel spiritual to enter the church.

I dont think Ill get asked to play Bond. Theyll not be like, Lets get Scott in. I find it extraordinary that people are so infatuated. I say people. Its mainly just journalists. I dont think people are at parties screaming, Whos going to be the next Bond? They wont announce it until 2022, so it will probably go to some whippersnapper who will surprise us all.

At the Baftas recently someone was like, Oh, youre the hot priest from Fleabag, and Phoebe Waller-Bridge is writing the Bond film, will you play the villain? I thought, Didnt they see me in Spectre? Thats showbusiness! So, no more villains for me for a while.

People who go to the theatre dont understand the extent to which the actors talk backstage about the audience. Its such a weird alchemy that certain types of people create one atmosphere, but the next day you can have a completely different one. When youre sitting in an audience, youre not aware of what kind of audience you are. But the actors sure know.

I did some ads when I was a kid. I did one for porridge. I wasnt a porridge fan then and I am not now. They needed to have the steam coming out of my mouth so I had to drink spoonfuls of hot water. Since then voiceovers for porridge ads have not been in abundance. Ive probably told too many people I hate porridge.

Ive not Googled Can you have sex with a priest myself. It would be a bit weird if I did, wouldnt it? Having said that, youve got to get your kicks where you can. Im quite relaxed about the whole thing.

Its mind-blowing being described as a sex symbol. Whatever floats your boat, I suppose. But I think its more about the casting. Im very happy that Phoebe put me in that part of the hot priest, because it was definitely uncharted territory. Its better than people being repulsed by me. So, Ill take it!

Andrew Scott stars in Nol Cowards Present Laughter at the Old Vic from 17 June until 10 August

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