The swashbuckling star of Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow is more than a hero – he’s on his way to becoming a screen legend with six films slated for release in the next few months. After the computer-animated Sky Captain, Law, 31, will appear in Alfie, I Heart Huckabees, The Aviator, Closer and Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events. The ubiquitous Brit recently talked about taking over Hollywood, working with his ex-wife and dodging the paparazzi.
With so many movies coming out, do you feel in competition with yourself for Oscar attention?
(Laughs) Gosh, to be really honest, I don’t think like that. I think that jinxes any sense of progress or success of a film anyway.
Has this been your busiest time ever?
I made these (movies) over a period of nearly two years. In London we have this thing where we say, “You wait for a bus for an hour and then four come at once.” And that seems to be my luck with the release of these.
Why did you choose to make Sky Captain?
It came in the style of an action-adventure that I used to love when I was a kid, and there was a sort of non-cynical side to it. … That was mainly what I loved about it. Also, what I loved about the character – he was a kind of square. Joe, straight-up flying ace.
What about the romance?
I loved the relationship (with costar Gwyneth Paltrow). It reminded me of His Girl Friday, Bringing Up Baby, kind of Hepburn, Bogart, Tracy, that kind of vibe. I just thought it was very Cary Grant.
Your now ex-wife Sadie Frost co-produced the movie with you. Was it strange being on the set together as your troubles hit the news?
It was only weird because the tabloids are weird. I mean, we were just doing our job.
So you’ve remained friends?
Oh, yeah. You just deal with it. Your next big film is the remake of 1966’s Alfie. Why redo Michael Caine’s classic playboy role?
There are these guys still out there. We’re all, if we’re honest, still thinking like that and feeling like that. It’s the jocks in us. And yet the women have changed a huge amount, and the fact that we got such a great cast of women, I think, proved that we were making a film actually about stronger women. It just seemed like there was a lot of room there. It was like stepping into the shoes of playing a Hamlet again.
You’ve been on a break since March. Do you worry when you don’t work for long periods?
No. It was great. … There was a lot of stuff in my private life that I wanted to sort out, and I wanted to be at home because even though a lot of these films shot in London, funnily enough, it’s always nice just to be able to come back and be with the children (Rudy, 2; Iris, 3; Rafferty, 7; and stepson Finlay, 13), be at home, read books rather than scripts.
But you were still in the spotlight. The paparazzi seem to always get you. Do they ever leave you alone?
No, they don’t. The dilemma is finding somewhere that suits everyone in my family and not just me. I mean, I’d be out of (London) like a bullet from a gun if I could, but my kids are very happy at school there. So it’s a tricky one.
Are they aware of Daddy’s celebrity?
They’re just aware of ass—– hiding behind trees with long lenses. That’s all. (Laughs)