Published On: Thu, May 13th, 2021

Rhys Ifans reveals he lived as a squatter while studying at drama school

‘It was illegal and dangerous but a great life!’: Rhys Ifans reveals he lived as a squatter while studying at drama school

Rhys Ifans has revealed how he led a double life of studying in an elitist drama college while breaking off doors to live illegally in around fifteen squats for months at a time.  

The Welsh actor said he would remove steel doors of empty council properties and change the locks before using them as his accommodation for over four years.

The Notting Hill star, 53, recalled his ‘great life’ squatting while studying at Guildhall School of Music and Drama in the Nineties, but added he knew it was ‘illegal and dangerous’. 

Double life: Rhys Ifans has revealed how he led a double life of studying in an elitist drama college while breaking off doors to live illegally in around fifteen squats for months at a time

He told Rob Brydon’s podcast: ‘I’d been in London a year before I went to drama school. I moved down with a mate of mine.

‘For my whole period in drama school I lived in squats. I lived in about fourteen, fifteen different squats.

‘It was of course illegal, and I guess looking back, dangerous. But it was a great life.

‘It would be council properties, council flats. You take the steel door off in the middle of the night and then as soon as you change the locks put a notice on the door.

‘They had to then switch the gas and electricity on and then you could be in it for weeks to months.’ 

Great times: The star, 53, recalled his 'great life' squatting while studying at Guildhall School of Music and Drama in the Nineties, but knew it was 'illegal and dangerous' (pictured in 1999)

Great times: The star, 53, recalled his ‘great life’ squatting while studying at Guildhall School of Music and Drama in the Nineties, but knew it was ‘illegal and dangerous’ (pictured in 1999)

He added: ‘But it was a constant case of we moved around a lot with a group of lads and girls from Belfast who I’d met at a Cramps gig and we lived together for four or five years moving in and out of different squats of varying degrees of comfort and discomfort.

‘In a sense I had this real double life, which was wonderful.

‘I had this kind of elitist wonderful life in college and then this extraordinary kind of vagabond existence when I went home each night.

‘It was easy to do then. It’s nigh on impossible now to break a squat but then it was relatively simple.’ 

Iconic: Rhys is best known for his roles as Spike in the 1999 romcom Notting Hill (pictured) will next be seen on screen in the Game Of Thrones prequel series House Of The Dragon

Iconic: Rhys is best known for his roles as Spike in the 1999 romcom Notting Hill (pictured) will next be seen on screen in the Game Of Thrones prequel series House Of The Dragon

Rhys, who is best known for his role as Spike in the Notting Hill, will next be seen on screen in the Game Of Thrones prequel series House Of The Dragon. 

The prequel, which also stars Matt Smith, Olivia Cooke and Emma D’Arcy takes place 300 years before the main action of the HBO hit.

House Of The Dragon was created by George R.R. Martin and Ryan Condal, who also wrote the pilot script that earned the series a 10-episode production order. 

Miguel Sapochnik will join Condal as showrunner, as well as directing the pilot and additional episodes. Sapochnik is no stranger to the Reach, earning an Emmy for his work on the original Game Of Thrones.

The spin-off began shooting sometime last month, with the stars seen filming in rural Cornwall, England.

House Of The Dragon will depict the war of succession between Daenerys Targaryen’s ancestors Rhaenyra and Aegon II, two dragon-wielding heirs to the Iron Throne, in a civil war known as the Dance of the Dragons.

Casting began last year, and the prequel is due to be released in spring 2022.

One to watch: Rhys stars in the Game Of Thrones prequel series House Of The Dragon alongside Olivia Cooke (pictured) which takes place 300 years before the HBO hit

One to watch: Rhys stars in the Game Of Thrones prequel series House Of The Dragon alongside Olivia Cooke (pictured) which takes place 300 years before the HBO hit

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