Feature

Nighy’s shaky nerves

The British actor is so self-deprecating it’s painful.

Bill Nighy is so self-deprecating it’s painful, said Tanya Gold in The Sunday Times (U.K.). Asked to name one thing he likes about himself, the dapper British actor can come up with nothing. Nor can he name a single performance he’s happy with, although he admits “certain things onstage” might have been less than awful. He’s been plagued with self-doubt, anxiety, and panic attacks since childhood, when he was nicknamed “Nerv” for “nervous.” Despite appearing in box office hits like Love Actually and Pirates of the Caribbean, Nighy, 64, says he still expects “the worst” whenever he’s hired for a new acting job. “It’s the usual things: ‘This time they’ll bust me. No, they won’t. Shut up. Go to sleep. Can’t.’” Nighy once found himself feeling jealous of a school crossing guard, because she could finish work at 10 a.m., whereas he was “on the way to another possible humiliation in the rehearsal room.” He cannot watch himself onscreen, and cringes at the mention of a nude sex scene he once filmed. “You’d meet people and realize you were at a disadvantage because they’d seen you simulating passion on TV. With noises. How could you watch that?”

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