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Colin Bates

Tell us about your career. How did you get where you are today?
I started dancing I was just seven. I came across it quite by chance. One of my friends was taking dance classes. I wanted to try, so I went with her to a small, simple dance studio. I didn't take it seriously at first. And then I entered dance competitions. I pushed myself a little more each time and I got the urge to try my luck on Broadway. I was very fortunate because my parents agreed to take me to New York. Not all parents give their child the chance to pursue their dream and go on tour with a musical (Oliver Twist). After working on various projects, I realised I preferred acting. I had found my calling.

Who are the people you really admire in your profession? 
When I was 7, I met a theatre and opera director Peter Sellars – not to be confused with the brilliantly funny Peter Sellers. Peter believed in me. He gave me advice and inspired me. He suggested books to read and sent me to Spain to watch rehearsals of Persephone, for example. He's a very thoughtful person. He thinks of everything. We are still in touch. He gave me ten more books a few days ago. He has this ability to make the impossible necessary. I particularly admire his ability to make us question ourselves beyond what we see.

What compliment would you like to hear or hear again about your work?
Being an actor is primarily about knowing what to do with solitude. You need confidence in yourself and to build up your own set of beliefs. If you don’t give yourself compliments, how can you accept them from others? Just to hear a director say I’m going in the right direction is a huge compliment. Working for a second time with a director like Michael Michetti – who directed Judas Kiss by David Hare, which I performed in recently – is also really encouraging.

Is there a city or destination that inspires or reflects your personality?
It's tough to choose between L.A., New York, London and Paris. Each inspires me in its own way. Being close to nature in L.A., the unique human energy of New York, London, where my father comes from, and finally, Paris, which I love, for its architecture and the fact that you can cross it in just one hour on foot, like you might cross a village.

How would you describe your personality and approach to life?
I need to live life to the fullest. I fill it with art, with different characters, with nature. When I’m not working, I go out into the countryside, to recharge my batteries. That's why I love Los Angeles so much. My life is full of new experiences, but it is also very simple.

What’s your best achievement?
The play Billy Elliot was both a turning point in my career and the most difficult role of my life. I had to act, dance and sing simultaneously for three hours in a row – I haven’t tried to do that again. It was exhausting but I think of it as a gift.

Do you have daily rituals that you follow?
I’ve never liked patterns. It's a form of routine for me. When I realise that I have adopted a ritual then I immediately stop it just to have the pleasure of trying new things, living life to the full. I’m always curious and on the move – that’s more my kind of ritual.

What sort of film annoys you?
In the past, I’ve hated Hollywood blockbusters like Star Wars or Spiderman. But I decided to think again and enjoy them. The beauty of the genre was probably lost on me! There’s always a chance you might become a superhero.

Where’s your favourite spot, the place where you can usually be found?
In Venice Beach, most of the time. That's where I best prepare for my roles. It’s almost as if I can’t do without it.

Your most cherished object? How much does it weigh?
Everything I cling to, I tend to lose, almost without fail. It's wonderful to have beautiful things – whether they have financial value is neither here nor there – but it's also wonderful not to be attached to them. I like the idea of travelling light through life, so that the weight of things doesn’t stop me from moving forward.

So, what does have weight in your life?
Connections with people, real human relationships. That's all that matters because that's all we have in the end.

Which LE GRAMME pieces do you own? How do you wear them?
I have Le 9g Cable bracelet in black brushed Sterling Silver 925 and Le 41g Ribbon bracelet in brushed Sterling Silver 925, I like their contrasting materials. I wear them together, on the same wrist.

If LE GRAMME were a film, what would it be?
LE GRAMME objects radiate a sort of simplicity that ultimately comes from craftsmanship and technology. That combination makes me think of the Black Mirror series, which is both human and futuristic.

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