The actor on breaking his vow never to ski again for his new stage role, a brush with death in the Namibian desert, and how he remembers his father, Roy

Rory Kinnear, 43, known for his original and discerning performances, from Shakespeare’s Iago to Bill Tanner in the Bond films, is about to star at the Donmar Warehouse in Force Majeure, an adaptation by Tim Price of Ruben Östlund’s chiller of a film about a man who, in what he believes to be a crisis – an avalanche at a ski resort – runs away from his wife and children. It’s a story of desolation, absurdity and unnerving moral ambiguity.

Let’s get down to the big question first: can you ski and how on earth is that going to work on stage?
We went to Hemel Hempstead’s Snow Centre – up to “the Hemelayas”, and our instructor told us: “If you’ve skied before, you won’t have forgotten.” I’d been skiing when I was 10. I hated it and was shouted at by the skiing instructor. My sister was better at it than me and I vowed I’d never, ever do it again. I’d stuck to that – until two weeks ago. As to the staging, the question is how to create something as visually vivid as the film and accentuate its focus within the smaller confines of the Donmar.

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