Five minutes with Kelsey Grammer

The father-of-six talks about bringing King Herod the Great to life, needing a dagger, and why Frasier is happy where he i

Five minutes with Kelsey Grammer

Kelsey Grammer, 60, is best known for his role as Dr. Frasier Crane in the sitcom Cheers and its spin-off Frasier but his latest role is a fay cry from the snobby psychiatrist.

What appealed about your latest project Killing Jesus?

Well, it’s Herod; it’s not really the big guy! But being a part of it was a pleasure. I spent a month in Morocco. My family flew to England. And there were all kinds of elements surrounding the job, which made it a wonderful thing to do and a working vacation, basically.

Do you consider yourself a religious person?

I’m a bible reader. I’m not a fundamentalist. I was raised as a Christian Scientist so I’m a devoted student of the Christian principles and it does inform a lot of my life.

How did you get into character?

It was interesting because they put the robes on, and then they put the crown on, so instantly you’re not moving your head any more as that thing weighs a tonne! I thought to myself this is a guy who always goes to sleep worrying about being killed. Wouldn’t he want to go to sleep with a weapon nearby? So I requested for the prop guy to fetch me a dagger. And that changed the whole performance. I didn’t know what to do before then.

What accent did you decide on?

I did a kind of Hebrew accent. He’s a king, so I can’t walk around sounding like an Englishman, it would sound ridiculous. (Laughs). So I gave his tone a bit of rhythm. I have some friends from Tel Aviv and took some tips from them and I think we landed on it with some success.

What was it like shooting in Morocco?

The set we used was from Kingdom of Heaven, which was one of Ridley Scott’s standby sets. It’s really in the middle of the desert so it feels like you’re back 2,000 years. You know us, actors, we’re like litmus paper, you can dip us into a world and we try to change colors and we start to feel the experience. It’s a very heady place to be.

You’ll always be known for playing Frasier. Does he still hold a special place in your heart?

Gosh yes. Of all the great roles I’ve had a chance to play, all hold that place, Frasier was a magnificent character but so was Tom Kane. And even Herod is a magnificent role to play.

Will we ever see Frasier again?

I don’t think so.

Not even in a movie version?

I’m not sure Frasier’s coming back. He’s magnificent where he is.

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