Tom Hollander says he does not open fan mail sent following his performance in the West End play Patriots in case it has been poisoned by “overzealous” Russian agents.
The British actor plays the lead role in the production, which follows the life of billionaire Russian businessman Boris Berezovsky through the decline of the Soviet Union and the rise of the Russian oligarchs.
Speaking to The News Agents podcast, Hollander said there had been many Russian exiles, who had been “crying on the pavement” after seeing the show.
“The story spoke to them of people who’ve left Russia and can’t go back,” he said.
“The play frames itself as if you were exiled, this is what you’d remember.
“So, we have met exiles, we’ve met the community of exiles, and they have been very supportive of us.”
Asked if he was worried for his own safety after playing Berezovsky, Hollander replied: “I did slightly think when we opened this time in the West End… ‘Gosh, if there was a very overzealous FSB agent wandering around London with not enough to do on their hands, who wanted to draw attention to themselves and curry favour with the Kremlin, they could send us all poisoned fan mail.’
“And I’m not opening any of our fan mail just in case.”
He continued: “But that’s really to exaggerate our significance. We are actors doing a play, but isn’t it amazing that we can.
“It’s one of those moments where theatre becomes as interesting as it’s supposed to be.
“It’s an environment where the issues of the day can be debated in real time in a town square environment.”
As well as his stage roles, Hollander is known for starring in films including the blockbuster Pirates Of The Caribbean franchise, Pride And Prejudice and Queen biopic Bohemian Rhapsody.
More recently he appeared alongside Jennifer Coolidge in series two of HBO’s hit show The White Lotus.
Hollander told The News Agents that series three, which is due to be set in Asia, had been delayed by the ongoing Hollywood writers strike.
“Like everything else, it’s on pause for the writers’ strike,” he said.
“ So, they can’t actually shoot it. And they can’t write it. I think they know what the story is… He (creator Mike White) can’t write it because he would be thrown out of the (writers’) union. Yes.
“I mean, you wouldn’t want to be a scab.”
Listen to the full interview with Tom Hollander on The News Agents podcast on Global Player.