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Rafe Spall

My bump and grind with Madonna

Rafe Spall with his wife, Elize. Jamie Simonds/Bafta/Shutterstock

Rafe Spall is often blinded by the sheer “natural wattage” of his Hollywood colleagues, says Eva Wiseman in The Guardian. While shooting The Big Short, the 38-year-old actor found that eye contact with Brad Pitt was “a bit like looking at the sun”. Catching sight of Stephen Spielberg on the set of The BFG, Spall inexplicably “burst into tears”. Spall, son of Timothy, was part of a love triangle with Daniel Craig and Rachel Weisz in a 2013 Broadway production of Harold Pinter’s Betrayal, only for his director to tell The New York Times: “We’re very lucky to have two sexy co-stars.”

Nevertheless, the play was a smash hit, and Madonna – wearing a gold grill and fingerless gloves – invited the cast for dinner. The singer’s daughter Lourdes was DJing on her iPad. “So I started dancing and Madonna came up and started, well… grinding me.” Spall, Madonna, his co-stars and his watchful wife, Elize du Toit, ended up in a three-minute dance-off, “with Madonna on a literal throne. And all of the dancers from her tour were in a circle around her. And she said, ‘Rafe, get in the circle!’”

Fame does have its pitfalls. Standing ovations eight times a week in the one-man play Death of England early last year sent Spall “a bit loopy”. (Once or twice a week, “like a bottle of wine”, is fine.) If he ever feels like a big-time movie star, wiping “my kids’ little bums” and making fish fingers brings him down to earth. He prefers playing dad: “It’s no life, is it, to get your self-worth from strangers thinking you’re good at something as fanciful as acting?”