Sir Ian Holm is known for his tremendous versatility as an actor, playing everything from King Lear to Bilbo Baggins. But when the release of The Emperor's New Clothes (in select theaters Friday) marks his third appearance as Napoleon Bonaparte, we have to wonder: Is there something of an emperor in him, too?
"There's an awful lot of Napoleon that's not dissimilar to me," says Holm, who first appeared as the diminutive conqueror in Terry Gilliam's Time Bandits and then in the BBC television series, Napoleon in Love. "There's a certain brashness. I'm short (5-foot-6), but I have a feeling Napoleon wasn't really that short maybe average height [for that time]. I don't think I could rule the world, though."
Political ambitions aside, the Shakespearean thesp is carrying around that royal badge of honor knighthood. "It means you get good tables in restaurants," he explains, modestly. "It's a government appointment... When I came up for it, I thought my kids would like it." Just don't call Holm "Sir Ian" to his face, he warns. "I always say I want to be called 'Ian' or 'that silly old fart.'"
That's not to say the 71-year-old Brit doesn't have his own delusions of grandeur. After separating from his third wife and being diagnosed with prostate cancer, the Alien alum is living the high life in New York City. "I still feel I'm immortal," he says. "I can't believe that I've had something seriously wrong with me."