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Terence Stamp talks about sex, singing, ‘Superman’

  • In this 2006 publicity photo released by Warner Bros. Home Entertainment, actor Terence Stamp portrays General Zod in the 1978 film “Superman.” (AP Photo/Warner Bros. Home Entertainment)

    In this 2006 publicity photo released by Warner Bros. Home Entertainment, actor Terence Stamp portrays General Zod in the 1978 film “Superman.” (AP Photo/Warner Bros. Home Entertainment)

  • FILE - This publicity photo released by The Weinstein Company shows Gemma Arterton, left, and Terence Stamp in a scene from the film, "Unfinished Song." (AP Photo/The Weinstein Company, Nick Wall)

    FILE - This publicity photo released by The Weinstein Company shows Gemma Arterton, left, and Terence Stamp in a scene from the film, "Unfinished Song." (AP Photo/The Weinstein Company, Nick Wall)

  • In this Wednesday, June 12, 2013 photo, English actor Terence Stamp poses for a photo during an interview in Los Angeles.  Before "Man of Steel" and Michael Shannon, there was Stamp delivering what debatably remains the quintessential screen version of General Zod: perhaps the most frightening of all the screen villains to take on Christopher Reeves' Superman. Some 35 years later, Stamp is back onscreen -- sometimes frightfully, always delightfully grumpy as a pensioner who finds his lost voice, and heart, in a local seniors choir in the drama, "Unfinished Song." (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)

    In this Wednesday, June 12, 2013 photo, English actor Terence Stamp poses for a photo during an interview in Los Angeles. Before "Man of Steel" and Michael Shannon, there was Stamp delivering what debatably remains the quintessential screen version of General Zod: perhaps the most frightening of all the screen villains to take on Christopher Reeves' Superman. Some 35 years later, Stamp is back onscreen -- sometimes frightfully, always delightfully grumpy as a pensioner who finds his lost voice, and heart, in a local seniors choir in the drama, "Unfinished Song." (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)

  • In this Wednesday, June 12, 2013 photo, English actor Terence Stamp poses for a photo during an interview in Los Angeles. Before "Man of Steel" and Michael Shannon, there was Stamp delivering what debatably remains the quintessential screen version of General Zod: perhaps the most frightening of all the screen villains to take on Christopher Reeves' Superman. Some 35 years later, Stamp is back onscreen -- sometimes frightfully, always delightfully grumpy as a pensioner who finds his lost voice, and heart, in a local seniors choir in the drama, "Unfinished Song." (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)

    In this Wednesday, June 12, 2013 photo, English actor Terence Stamp poses for a photo during an interview in Los Angeles. Before "Man of Steel" and Michael Shannon, there was Stamp delivering what debatably remains the quintessential screen version of General Zod: perhaps the most frightening of all the screen villains to take on Christopher Reeves' Superman. Some 35 years later, Stamp is back onscreen -- sometimes frightfully, always delightfully grumpy as a pensioner who finds his lost voice, and heart, in a local seniors choir in the drama, "Unfinished Song." (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)

  • In this Wednesday, June 12, 2013 photo, English actor Terence Stamp poses for a photo during an interview in Los Angeles.  Before "Man of Steel" and Michael Shannon, there was Stamp delivering what debatably remains the quintessential screen version of General Zod: perhaps the most frightening of all the screen villains to take on Christopher Reeves' Superman. Some 35 years later, Stamp is back onscreen -- sometimes frightfully, always delightfully grumpy as a pensioner who finds his lost voice, and heart, in a local seniors choir in the drama, "Unfinished Song." (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)

    In this Wednesday, June 12, 2013 photo, English actor Terence Stamp poses for a photo during an interview in Los Angeles. Before "Man of Steel" and Michael Shannon, there was Stamp delivering what debatably remains the quintessential screen version of General Zod: perhaps the most frightening of all the screen villains to take on Christopher Reeves' Superman. Some 35 years later, Stamp is back onscreen -- sometimes frightfully, always delightfully grumpy as a pensioner who finds his lost voice, and heart, in a local seniors choir in the drama, "Unfinished Song." (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)

  • In this 2006 publicity photo released by Warner Bros. Home Entertainment, actor Terence Stamp portrays General Zod in the 1978 film “Superman.” (AP Photo/Warner Bros. Home Entertainment)
  • FILE - This publicity photo released by The Weinstein Company shows Gemma Arterton, left, and Terence Stamp in a scene from the film, "Unfinished Song." (AP Photo/The Weinstein Company, Nick Wall)
  • In this Wednesday, June 12, 2013 photo, English actor Terence Stamp poses for a photo during an interview in Los Angeles.  Before "Man of Steel" and Michael Shannon, there was Stamp delivering what debatably remains the quintessential screen version of General Zod: perhaps the most frightening of all the screen villains to take on Christopher Reeves' Superman. Some 35 years later, Stamp is back onscreen -- sometimes frightfully, always delightfully grumpy as a pensioner who finds his lost voice, and heart, in a local seniors choir in the drama, "Unfinished Song." (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)
  • In this Wednesday, June 12, 2013 photo, English actor Terence Stamp poses for a photo during an interview in Los Angeles. Before "Man of Steel" and Michael Shannon, there was Stamp delivering what debatably remains the quintessential screen version of General Zod: perhaps the most frightening of all the screen villains to take on Christopher Reeves' Superman. Some 35 years later, Stamp is back onscreen -- sometimes frightfully, always delightfully grumpy as a pensioner who finds his lost voice, and heart, in a local seniors choir in the drama, "Unfinished Song." (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)
  • In this Wednesday, June 12, 2013 photo, English actor Terence Stamp poses for a photo during an interview in Los Angeles.  Before "Man of Steel" and Michael Shannon, there was Stamp delivering what debatably remains the quintessential screen version of General Zod: perhaps the most frightening of all the screen villains to take on Christopher Reeves' Superman. Some 35 years later, Stamp is back onscreen -- sometimes frightfully, always delightfully grumpy as a pensioner who finds his lost voice, and heart, in a local seniors choir in the drama, "Unfinished Song." (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)

Long before the new Man of Steel, actor Terence Stamp delivered the screen General Zod of a generation. Stamp portrayed Superman’s Kryptonian arch enemy opposite Christopher Reeve in Superman (1978) and Superman II (1980).

“I can’t go out on the street in London without somebody saying, “ ‘It’s Zod!’ It’s fun for me,” said Stamp in a recent interview, adding he’d yet to see Man of Steel, which casts Michael Shannon as Zod.

Thirty-five years since Superman, Stamp returns to theaters in the dramedy Unfinished Song, which opened stateside last weekend after an overseas run with an alternate title, Song for Marion.

Stamp and Vanessa Redgrave play English pensioners Arthur and Marion. He’s a codger; she is full of life, but dying. And yet this is no odd couple. They are, instead, something rarely seen in entertainment: Earthbound, elderly soul mates. Forget high-flying romance. These two are real.

Marion drags Arthur into an over-60s singing group, which has a repertoire including everything from the smoothest Stevie Wonder to Salt-n-Pepa’s hip-hop classic “Let’s Talk About Sex.”

“ ‘Let’s Talk About Sex,’ I thought, ‘Great! Absolutely,’ ” remembered the 74-year-old Stamp. “(Talk) is all I can do at the moment,” he continued, laughing. “I’m past my sell-by date.”

In a separate interview, co-star Redgrave said that between takes on the set, she loved listening to Stamp’s stories. “What I remember most about Terence was his enthralling discussions about all kinds of experiences . . . to do with voice.”

The London-born Stamp started his film career with 1962’s seafaring Billy Budd, for which he earned an Oscar nomination. Stamp’s 50-year filmography is peppered with highlights, including his touching portrayal of the transsexual Bernadette in The Adventure of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert (1994). Stamp also was widely praised for his lead in director Steven Soderbergh’s 1999 crime drama, The Limey.

Now, distributor Weinstein is attempting to generate early award-season buzz for Stamp’s work in Unfinished Song. After this interview, Stamp was off to meet with members of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, which hosts the annual Golden Globes.

Clearly, Stamp already feels like a winner. And it also appears that his landlord is paid in full. “I don’t have any psychological ambitions,” Stamp explained. “I’ve practical ambitions. I don’t do crappy movies, unless I haven’t got the rent.”

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