Mark Rylance: 10 Incredible Facts About The Refreshingly Unique Actor

Mark Rylance is one of Britain’s most incredible and moving actors, and he proved his worth long before he grabbed his Best Actor nomination for his role as Rudolf Abel in Bridge of Spies.

This enigmatic actor has a lot of quirky beliefs that round him out and make him a very interesting man, one that would be incredibly fun to have a conversation with. Check out these facts about Mark Rylance.

1. The Telegraph reports that when in school, Mark Rylance was very shy and had a mentor who inspired him to act. He was cast in Hamlet when he was 16.

“I was like a moth to a candle [to the drama teacher]. I just absolutely needed the theatre so desperately, it was my fate, it was where I was running towards, it was the place where I found peace and survival and all kinds of things.”

2. Mark Rylance believes in crop circles and that some just cannot be explained. He wants a tattoo of a crop circle and joked wholeheartedly when asked where.

“On me willy. Or maybe on the back of my neck, here. Obviously I want it to be somewhere the aliens can recognise me as a friend.”

3. Fashion & Style reports that Mark Rylance has admitted to being a hippy. Aside from the crop circles, Rylance was married close to an ancient stone circle and has used tools of divination to help him determine what roles he should take on.

4. Mark Rylance readily admits he believes in magic. Not the Harry Potter kind of magic, but the kind in which if an artist is “present and awakened,” he or she can receive ideas from a collective consciousness.

5. Despite being born in Kent, Mark Rylance did most of his growing up in Milwaukee, where he moved after his parents split up. Prior to the breakup, Rylance had a hard time with his parents’ arguing and didn’t speak for the first six years of his life.

6. Mark Rylance has absolutely no desire to be a big-time Hollywood star. His reason? He told the Huffington Post it would be boring, and there is very little privacy in a life like that. He spoke about the first time he saw what it was like to be a celebrity.

“It was wild to see the effect of all the publicity and marketing of selling tickets and convincing people everywhere that Sean Penn’s life as a character is more real and valid than their own life as a human being, and these people would willingly give up their dinner parties and get swept away.”

7. Mark Rylance is incredibly critical of his own performances, despite the praise he receives for roles such as that in Wolf Hall. He said he has to carefully manage his internal voice, and he has also successfully managed the depression he has struggled with in life.

8. Boomsbeat reports that Mark Rylance actually wanted to use the stage name Mark Waters, but that name was already in use so he settled for Mark Rylance. His real name is David Mark Rylance Waters.

9. Mark Rylance had a stepdaughter named Nataasha van Kampen who died when she was only 28-years-old. At the time, Rylance was to perform at the opening ceremonies of the 2012 Summer Olympics and had to withdraw. His replacement was Kenneth Branagh.

In the wake of her death, the Nataasha van Kampen Foundation was established.

10. Mark Rylance has been a patron of the London International Film Festival (LIFT) since 2013 and he really feels the festival has done a lot to influence English theater.

“I feel LIFT has done more to influence the growth and adventure of English theatre than any other organisation we have.”

[Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images]