English actor Mark Rylance — known for his roles in The BFG, Ready Player One, and Dunkirk — recently weighed in on the COVID-19 vaccine mandates, revealing that he postponed getting inoculated because “science started to sound like a religion.”

James Halliday (Mark Rylance) confides the name of his mystery girl to Ogden Morrow (Simon Pegg) in Ready Player (2018), Warner Bros. Pictures

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During an interview with The Times, as he discussed Dr. Semmelweis — a play that he co-wrote and stars in as the titular character — the Dunkirk star revealed that he was hesitant to take the COVID-19 vaccine because he was told he should get inoculated, noting that this particular experience made his “alarm bells” ring.

“Science started to sound like a religion,” Rylance declared, adding, “And really science is no different than religion, just an attempt by men to describe reality.”

Peter Isherwell (Mark Rylance) takes offence at Dr. Randall Mindy’s (Leonardo DiCaprio) comments in Don’t Look Up (2021), Netflix

The actor went on explain that he took matters into his own hands and opted to consume natural and organic products to strengthen his immune system because he felt like he didn’t need to get vaccinated to treat a potential infection when he was playing a role in Jez Butterworth’s Jerusalem play.

“I was not convinced I needed it,” Rylance said. “I took a very distilled garlic solution every morning, and vitamin C, and I sailed through Jerusalem,” before admitting that he eventually made the decision to get inoculated before entering America to visit his father.

James Halliday (Mark Rylance) thanks Wade (Tye Sheridan) for playing his game in Ready Player One (2018), Warner Bros. Pictures

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From there, the conversation would shift to the armed conflict between Russia and Ukraine, at which point Rylance both placed the blame for  the entire affair on The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) for “moving in on the Russians” and criticized how the former nation’s efforts during World War II are often ignored in favor of an anti-Russo narrative.

“Look how vulnerable your Jewish people are having lost six million — the Russians lost 26 to 40 million people killing fascism in Europe,” the Ready Player One actor declared. “We didn’t do it. The Americans didn’t do it.”

Peter Isherwell (Mark Rylance) explains that the comet approaching Earth contains trillions of dollars in rare materials in Don’t Look Up (2021), Netflix

He elaborated, “[England] stood back until the Russians had really knocked the s—t out of them. And yet all my life, have we ever celebrated and thanked the Russians for dealing with fascism? No, we’ve just glorified ourselves.”

“Of course the people will fall for a dictator like Putin and believe his narrative… because of the way we’ve behaved,” he concluded.

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Similar comments pushing back against the COVID-19 measures imposed by nations worldwide were made earlier this year by Silo star Tim Robbins, who decried the “extraordinary and questionable choices” made by world leaders during the pandemic.

“I always look at that as a terrible no-win situation. And I often wonder if those measures that they take, that are immoral, are necessary,” Robbins questioned.

The Covid Redemption with Tim Robbins via Russel Brand, YouTube

“I’m talking about politicians that compromise themselves and make decisions that they believe are for the good of people, but those decisions involve censorship or lying or deception of some kind that leads to people getting hurt,” he would go on to clarify, noting that his character in Silo was inspired by world leaders making questionable decisions during the pandemic.

“And I wanted to play that guy,” the actor said. “I want to deal with that moral complexity in trying to understand where the human being is. I think we’ve been through three and a half years of extraordinary and questionable choices made by people that are supposed to be leading their countries.”

Common as Sims and Tim Robbins as Bernard in Silo (2023), Apple TV+

What do you make of Mark Rylance’s comments about the COVID-19 vaccine and the war in Ukraine?

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