The Official Ferrari Magazine: Can you explain the allure of Ferrari?
Liam Cunningham: It’s like looking at a Picasso. You could stare at it all day. But the idea of owning one was not even thinkable, not even debatable. It wasn’t in my socio-economic bracket, it was purely an object of desire. I even had the posters on the wall.
TOFM: So it’s fair to say you enjoyed the GTC4Lusso?
LC: It has been a remarkable experience. I had a quick taste of a 488 GTB last year, but this has just been extraordinary. The way it comes alive at the top of the rev range, when the striplights on the steering wheel start to appear, it reminded me of when I used to chase my kids around, pretending to be a monster, like most dads do. It’s that fight or flight thing, that combined sense of anticipation and adrenaline. Only it’s not your dad chasing you, it’s the throttle pedal. You can unleash all that power, but you can also make it all stop. And I just love that idea.
TOFM: You’re also a self-confessed design freak, aren’t you?
LC: I do like design, yes. I love the phrase “form follows function”. When you’ve got something like a Ferrari, that form usually comes from aerodynamics and a certain amount of stylistic input. And when engineering and design come together like they do here, the result sort of hovers around art because of that magic.
Sure, Ferrari is a profitable company and business is business, but at the same time there’s this incandescent flame about delivering the absolute best. Why would men and women want to make things as difficult as possible for themselves? I love the madness of that. That in itself is an artistic pursuit.
TOFM: You’re often spotted in the F1 paddock. Usually with a camera, too.
LC: I’ve got all my lanyards, my grid passes. My hope is that if you walked into my house you wouldn’t know I was an actor. I’m going to get a big board and just put them all on there. Listen, the hairs on the back of my neck stand up every time I walk into the F1 paddock. It’s like walking into the cinema when the lights are down, it’s a very strange feeling. I know I’m going to be… transported. It’s the same thing when I walk into the paddock. I turn into a 10-year-old geek in that place.
TOFM: Do you now have a grand plan?
LC: [huge laugh] I’m unpredictable. I’m unpredictable to myself. I’d love to send a blueprint to my agents and say, ‘That’s the plan.’ I’ve even said that the carrot is Ferrari-shaped – I’d love a 550 Maranello. That’s the promise to myself, to tie into something that’ll really pay off. But it doesn’t work like that. I’m a storyteller. I’m given words and I’ve got to convince people that it’s the truth – to suspend their disbelief. I put on clothes and pretend to be somebody else. It’s bizarre. It’s a ridiculous way to earn a living.
There’s a part of you that doesn’t let you enjoy it too much, that tells you that you’re getting away with murder. It makes you work even harder, and that feeling honestly never goes away. Not only that, but I was an electrician for 11 years. The truth is, I was a lot more useful to society when I was an electrician. I could make life instantly better with the flick of a screwdriver.