Jeremy Irons leaped at the chance to star in new movie CASANOVA, because it gave him the rare opportunity to be funny.

The British actor plays the Pope's chief inquisitor PUCCI in the historical comedy drama - a refreshing change from the intense characters Irons is more used to playing.

He says, "I just don't get offered comedies - at least not good ones. I can't tell you what a rarity Casanova is. I get to plays this bumbling, pompous idiot.

"The problem is, we are defined by our successes, however much we might want to widen the range of the parts we play. And as I seem to be known for my serious, internal thinking I get offered serious roles.

"When people want comedy actors they are more likely to go to Steve Martin or Kevin Kline before they turn to me."