Ralph Fiennes has revealed how he once asked Jeremy Irons for his autograph when he worked as a hotel porter in London.
The Oscar-nominated actor and director stars as the brilliantly efficient hotel concierge Monsieur Gustave in Wes Anderson's latest adventure The Grand Budapest Hotel.
Fiennes told MrPorter.com how for six months in 1983, aged 20, between finishing his art course and starting at Rada, he worked as a porter at London's Brown's Hotel.
He revealed: "I was polishing a glass chandelier outside the men's loo and Jeremy Irons appeared. He was just becoming a big star with Brideshead [Revisited] at the time.
Fiennes revealed how Irons asked him: "I need to clean some glass at home. What are you using?"
He said: "I showed him some generic glass-cleaning product. 'Thank you very much' he said," at which point Fiennes said he then asked: "'Excuse me, are you Jeremy Irons? Could I have your autograph?'; a question Gustave would not have approved of."
Irons said he would leave it at reception.
Fiennes went on: "I finished polishing my chandelier and I went up to the concierge - a very pompous man in a brown and gold uniform - who looked down his nose at me, because I was the lowest of the low in my white house coat, and said, 'What do you want?'
"He passed me a piece of Brown's notepaper. I opened it. It said, 'Dear Ralph, Keep polishing. Jeremy Irons'."
The English Patient star also revealed how he enjoyed taking on roles that were very different to his own character. He admitted he had relished playing psychopathic cockney crime boss Harry Waters in dark comedy In Bruges.
He said: "As an actor you can access a bit of you that you never carry around in normal life but you sort of know is there.
"There's a bit in me that liked exploring Harry in In Bruges. I'm not a tough guy but everyone's got a bit of rage inside. If I'm offered a part like that it's exciting, it's a challenge - it's not what I normally get asked to do."