Jerusalem actor Mark Rylance apparently realizes that he couldn’t have won a Tony Award for his part in the stage production, as the 51-year-old gave away his award to a man who helped inspire his performance.
Mickey Lay, a 71-year-old construction worker, consulted with Rylance on the role of Johnny “Rooster” Byron, an ex-daredevil with a penchant for telling tall tales. “I think he’d really like it,” Rylance told London’s The Independent. “He was very generous with me and invited me into his house and talked with me for six hours or so on different occasions about his life as a Romany gypsy man in England.”
The Jez Butterworth play opened in 2009 at the Royal Court Theatre in London and moved to the nearby Apollo Theatre last year. It also stars Mackenzie Crook, formerly of the British version of The Office.
“He didn’t really say much,” said Lay’s landlord about the man’s reaction to Rylance’s impressive act of generosity. “Although he did open up after a few liveners (alcoholic drinks).”