07/12/2013 03:58 pm ET Updated Sep 11, 2013

My Second Chance

In hindsight, perhaps the only regret I really hold on to in all my years of acting is turning down the chance to play Arthur in Josh Logan's Camelot. It was 1967, Vanessa Redgrave was set to co-star as Guinevere, and I was terrified of musicals. In my mind, there was no way I could manage to pull off the film's beautiful score, and to risk being re-voiced in post-production would have been career suicide to a young actor like me. And so Richard Harris came to take the part instead, which of course he executed perfectly. Still, I always saw that refusal as my one major blunder in all my time on stage and screen.

When I received Paul Andrew Williams' script for Unfinished Song, I was quite blown away. While I don't normally make a habit of working with new directors, I thought his previous film, From London to Brighton, was a masterpiece. Moreover, I saw a great deal of my own parents in how he'd written the characters of Arthur and Marion. Both couples had a sort of twin-soul relationship, and both husbands were strong but emotionally closed-off men. Arthur's son, who's portrayed by the wonderful Christopher Eccleston, has a relationship with his father very comparable to what I had with mine. In many ways, there was so much realism for me in playing this character.

I then found out that none other than Vanessa Redgrave had been cast in the role of Marion. I thought to myself, "They've cast Vanessa in the Guinevere part, and my character is to be called Arthur. And I'd have to sing in this film. Perhaps this is the universe giving me a second chance." And thus began the incredible journey of making Unfinished Song.