A TRIBUTE TO PRIVATE EYES' "LUVVIES" SECTION
Where Actors Say The Darndest Things
Actors have always been my favourite people. In fact, part of the reason I wanted to become an actor was so I could hang out with actors. But, if I had a criticism of myself and others in my profession, it’s that when we’re interviewed, we can sometimes sound a little pretentious, pompous, narcissistic, and overly effusive.
Private Eye thought this kind of behaviour was ripe to be lampooned and by the early 1990s, the magazine started a regular section devoted to hyperbolic remarks made by actors. The section was called “Luvvies” and readers were encouraged to find hilarious quotes by actors in newspapers and magazines and send them in.
Jeff Bridges quickly landed himself in Luvvies when he said: “When I'm preparing for a role, I'll invite the character into me." Abi Titmuss found herself there, too, when she said: “Acting gives me so much respect for myself.”
Quotes from Cate Blanchett, Jeremy Irons, Nicole Kidman and Robert Downey Jr have all appeared in Luvvies. And beyond making readers laugh, its greatest impact was helping actors realise their gushing and pontificating wasn’t to everyone’s taste.
“I live in terror of appearing in Luvvies.” - Bond villain Toby Stephens.
Why did they call it ‘Luvvies’?
For those not down with theatre-speak, the word “Luvvies” emerged out of the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in the early 1980s when Kenneth Branagh and actor-comedian John Sessions started calling each other “Luv” or “Luvvie”. The term soon became commonplace in theatres and film sets all over Britain before the media got hold of it and used it to label not just actors but anyone with artistic pretension.
And that’s when people started taking offence.
Trevor Nunn, director of the stage hits Cats and Les Miserables, hated being called a “Luvvie” so much that he said it was akin to calling a black person the “N-word”. For several months after that, Private Eye renamed its “Luvvies” section “The Trevvies”.
So here is a selection of my favourite moments from Luvvies. Again, please know I’m not distancing myself from other actors by posting this. I have said some wildly mockable comments to journalists … which I just can’t seem to lay my hands on right now.