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Actor Nighy 'happier at 64 than 24'

Veteran actor Bill Nighy insists he is happier as a "lanky bloke" of 64 than he was in his 20s, despite being prepared for his roles to "get smaller".

The Love Actually star told the Times he was "paralytically" self-conscious as a young actor who believed he did not have talent.

He modestly added that it is down to luck that he continues to land film roles, ahead of the release of his latest movie Pride, which tells the true story of a group of gay rights activists who supported miners during the 1980s strike.

He said: "I am much happier now being 64 certainly than I was being 44... or 24.

"That was really hard work. I made a meal of being young. I do think I am probably more relaxed now than I have ever been.

"There are jobs I can play at this age with this face, and the parts will get smaller... No, they will, because they just do, but that's all right because I don't burn for anything."

He added: "I've been lucky, yeah, and I keep expecting it to stop... but it keeps going. 'How many parts are there for a lanky bloke of my age?' I keep thinking. And, the answer is apparently, a few."

The actor is currently starring opposite 29-year-old Hollywood actress Carey Mulligan in the West End show Skylight, but said he remains blinds to female attention.

Told about his appeal to women, he said: "I don't know what to say to that. It's not that I am not grateful to hear it. I am. If you had known me when I was young, if I had ever thought anyone should say that... It's a result. Thanks very much. But I'm not aware of it."

Single after splitting up with his partner of nearly 30 years Diana Quick in 2008, Nighy said it would be a "mistake" to suggest that he was lonely, and instead being alone is "just the way things work out".

He also briefly touched upon his abstinence from alcohol, which he previously credited for his improving his career.

"I have one thing to say about it and only one thing to say about it - without being anti-social - which is that I used to drink and it was terrible, and now I don't and it's absolutely marvellous. That's it," he said.

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