Jeremy Irons: Complicated roles satisfy me

(CBS) From Scar in "The Lion King" to a corrupt banker in "Margin Call," Jeremy Irons is known for playing thrilling characters.

But what roles does the actor like playing best?

"The complicated roles always satisfy me," Irons said Monday on "CBS This Morning."

The Oscar-winning actor is now playing a very complicated character, Pope Alexander VI, a pope who, among other things, had 12 children and complete Vatican control in Rome in the 1490s. Irons plays the pope on the Showtime series "The Borgias," a format which Irons said he enjoys because he has the time to develop the character.

"Movies tend to be two-dimensional because of the time, only two hours. You can't really go into depth," he said. "With 'The Borgias,' ... I'm able to play somebody who is really complicated on many levels and fascinating for an audience as a result. Shakespeare always gives you that. I suppose, perhaps, and you won't like this answer, but I suppose 'Lolita,' which is such a difficult subject."

Irons was complimented by co-host Gayle King on the tone of his speaking voice. But Irons said he doesn't listen to himself.

"I remember a story, when I was around 30, John Hurt, who is a friend of mine, he was a neighbor, we were having coffee. I suppose late 20s, 30, and he said to me, he said, 'Have you noticed how many good young actors there are around at the moment?' I said, 'Yes, I understand we're being chased, we're being chased by this talent.' He said, 'You know what I do? If I meet a young actor who I think is very good I say, 'You have a fantastic voice. Have you ever listened to it? And you know that he is completely messed up.' Because if you become conscious of what you are, it just gets in the way. So thank you for the compliment, but I put it aside."

"The Borgias" introduces second season
Pictures: Jeremy Irons

For more with Irons on "The Borgias" and Shakespeare roles he hopes to play, watch the video in the player above.

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