From The Times today (Sept. 5, 2008):
When Simon Callow, the actor who also writes biographies, spoke after dinner he told of the biographer's trials and tribulations: a vital tape wiped; discovering a Charles Laughton archive only after correcting his Laughton proofs; a Mrs Rogers, secretary to both Laughton and Orson Welles, who went blind before divulging the contents of her indubitably fascinating coded diary.
Callow has spent 20 years so far on Orson Welles, “an almost inexhaustible subject, complex, contradictory, a man of so many different gifts and impulses: to find the one person inside is almost impossible”. His first two volumes, 1,200 pages, have taken Welles, who died at 70, to the age of 32. With interruptions such as playing Captain Hook in pantomime this Christmas, Callow is at work on Volume Three, where (ignoring Welles's serial but “irrelevant” amorous escapades) he will reveal “the two loves that were crucial to an understanding of him”.