How Jeremy Irons Became a Bar Rag

The latest credit for the distinguished Oscar-winning actor Jeremy Irons comes tonight on a new episode of “The Simpsons,” as a 1,000 year old piece of cloth that has ended up as the bar rag at Moe’s, narrating his own story.

Speaking before reporters at the TV Critics Association winter press tour earlier this month in Pasadena (on behalf of the forthcoming season of “The Borgias,” in which he not only stars but can be seen as well), Irons was asked how this bit of casting occurred.

“Well, there was a telephone call,” he explained. “They said,  Would I do it?”

Pressed for more, he provided an incorrect name for “The Simpsons.”

“It’s always great to be asked to do ‘Sesame Street,’” he said. “ And when they said, ‘Would you play a bar rag?’ I mean, there was no way.”

He seemed unworried about his show title error. But he did dwell on what exactly he was playing in the episode. “In fact, that’s ‘bar rag.’ I’ve seen it printed ‘bar rat.’ It’s not ‘bar rat.’ It’s a ‘bar rag.’”

His approach to this part? “He’s very, very proper, this bar rag, because he started out as an Egyptian tapestry. So he speaks very well because he’s a very interesting piece of cloth,” Irons says. “But by the time it gets to the present day, he is just a little bit of bar rag, a homeless bar rag.”

In conclusion, he says, “It was delightful to do, and I was very honored to be asked.”

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