Ross Owen talks to the star of Horne & Corden about his love of Laurel and Hardy
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WE WANT TO PLAY LAUREL & HARDY
Ross Owen: Mat Can I begin by wishing you all the best of health. You had your fans worried for a while there. How are you now?
Mat Horne: Thank you. I am taking this rest period to recuperate and recharge and it is working.
Ross Owen: It was recently reported in the press that you are a fan of Laurel and Hardy, can you remember when you first saw them?
Mat Horne: As a very young boy. My brother was and is completely obsessed by them and I grew up with Laurel & Hardy. When I began my career it was in a double act and I am in one of sorts now and I attribute my love for Laurel & Hardy to that.
Ross Owen: Do you have a favourite Laurel and Hardy film?
Mat Horne: My favourite film is an odd choice, I think, but it contains a scene which I believe to be one of the funniest sequences I've ever seen. Also, I love the ultra-surreal aspects too. It's Blockheads. Stan pulling the blind down in the stairwell, that are only shadows, the cigar-smoking kid with the broken voice in the lift and of course the football down the stairs!
Ross Owen: What appeals to you about Laurel and Hardy?
Mat Horne: The skill as performers. The bravery of much of the surrealist material (for that era). The classic traditional qualities of both the stories and the relationship. I think it is their relationship which gave me an innate understanding of reacting, rather than acting per se, within a given situation/relationship with another character.
Ross Owen: Are you influenced by them at all in your act with James?
Mat Horne: Very much so. James and I are very different performers, as were Stan & Ollie. But they played to their strengths as performers, which unquantifiably complimented each other. I'd like to think myself and James do this.
Ross Owen: Is it true you would like to one day play Stan Laurel? There's certainly a resemblance.
Mat Horne: I'd love to play Stan, but I'd have to lose a bit of weight!! I think I'm a bit old now and it's been done on BBC4, so probably never going to happen!!
Ross Owen: I know the fans would love to see this happen. How did you get into the world of showbusiness and what made you decide on a double act?
Mat Horne: I was a stand up, in a double act. I have always, because of L & H, been interested in collaboration and working with another as a performer.
Ross Owen: Who else influenced you?
Mat Horne: Steve Coogan.
Ross Owen: Comedy has changed so much in recent years. Do you think Laurel and Hardy should be back on television?
Mat Horne: Aren't the films repeated all the time anyway?! They always seem to be on on Bank Holidays and half term.
Ross Owen: Yes, they appear occasionaly on cable/sky TV but not so much on terrestrial TV as they did when we were youngsters. Do you have a question about Laurel and Hardy for us?
Mat Horne: How much sway do you have getting me to play him in a biopic?
Ross Owen: aha great question, one must respect anyone who takes on the role of an icon, because if they get it wrong, the fans are on them like a ton of bricks. However, we have discussed this topic on the Laurel and Hardy Forum and when you and James got suggested as contenders the response was very positive. Many top authors, writers and filmmakers visit the forum so, as we are home to 1000's of fans worldwide, indeed we may have a slight influence somewhere. If filmmakers value the opinion of the fans that is. OK, One final question Mat... What is your favourite scene in any Laurel and Hardy film?
Mat Horne: In Flying Deuces, where they're locked in the cell and Stan starts playing the bedsprings like a harp. Pure, surrealist genius. Oh and the Blockheads scene where the football is kicked down the stairs and it hits the hotelier in the face causing his hair to flop forward, again.
Ross Owen: Great choices Mat. The ball scene with hotelier Harry Strang (above right) is one of the most popular with fans too. Thanks for taking the time to do this little interview. It is our mission at the forum to keep the memory and the works of Laurel and Hardy alive, we thank you for your support. "A little kindness goes a long way." Both yourself and your brother will be made most welcome at the forum. Good luck with all your future projects.
Mat Horne: Thank you, it's my pleasure.