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Ana   /   December 26, 2015   /   0 Comments

What were your initial thoughts when the part of Irene came your way?
My agent rang me and said, “So I’ve got this offer for you, you might be interested,” being sarcastic.
Then he said, “Richard’s doing it and it’s Anthony Hopkins and Ian McKellen.” I was completely
blown away. I love Irene, because she reminds me of every actress I’ve ever known in the beginning
of their career. I imagine every actor has considered those things and stayed up all night worrying
about what it is to be an actor, why do we do what we do, and what do we lose, what’s the cost of
doing that and why?


Tell us about Irene?
Irene plays the map bearer / pageboy [in King Lear], she’s a very young actress who is desperate to
be Cordelia, and she has admired Sir her whole life and it’s a dream come true to be in his company.
She can’t believe that Her Ladyship, played by Emily Watson, is playing Cordelia because she thinks
she should be. It’s been a lot of fun, getting daggers from Emily Watson’s character!


What are your thoughts on the Sir/dresser relationship?
Well the dresser and Sir have learnt to live together. It’s the most beautiful kind of amazing
relationship they have because there’s so much love there and yet it’s a sort of unspoken,
unconditional love between them and they almost can’t live without each other. I feel that the love
for Norman is almost beyond even talking about it, he discusses it with Her Ladyship and Madge in
the play but Norman never really gets recognition from Sir.


Have you enjoyed the make-up masterclass that everyone is talking about?
Yeah it was really interesting, because Irene appears at the beginning with all her hair down and in a
dress, and changes straight away into the pageboy, so we were looking for how they would have
made a girl look like a boy. Jenny [Shircore] literally puts on the makeup with her fingers so she does
it exactly how they would have done it, it was actually really fun to explore how far we could go
either way, we just wanted it to look as neutral as possible.


Richard is one of the greatest theatre directors, what’s the experience of coming to work with him
on this?
Richard trusts actors so much and it’s so amazing to know that he trusts you to do it. When he
directs he kind of just gives tiny directions that move, shift the whole scene, he’s so clever, but you

know it just feels like all of them, Anthony, Richard, Edward, Ian, they are so experienced, they so
know what they’re doing that there’s just no fuss, no stress, everybody’s having such a lovely time
that it feels like a little family, and I feel so lucky to be a part of that.


Are you enjoying working with Anthony and Ian?
For me it’s not hard feeling completely in awe when I’m acting with Tony to be honest, it’s really not
hard. There was this scene that we have together where Irene finally, finally gets this moment alone,
I feel like she’s been building up to this for weeks, you know when Norman’s out the room she’s
timed it exactly so she can slip in with the crown and have just five minutes with Sir, she plucks up
the courage finally to say, “I just wanted to thank you for the performance this evening…” I felt
honoured to be on the stage standing in front of him.
Anthony is the most generous, kind, open, supportive actor I could ever hope to be inspired by. I was
really nervous when I first met him because I had no idea, but he’s just so kind and brilliant. I’ve
watched him my whole life and working with him is a dream come true. Ian is so playful and amazing
and kind and he’s got such a twinkle in his eye, but you can see that in all his performances.
I asked Tony the other day, I said, “Tony, what’s been your happiest time on a film set?” and he went
“This one.” I was so, just so happy when he said that, and I went “Really?” and he said, “Well no, the
last time I was
this happy was on Silence of the Lambs!”


What do you think there is for a modern audience in this story?
I think the performance that Tony is giving is just the most incredible thing, so it would be so exciting
for anybody to see him playing a role where it’s looking at his career in a sense, and why he is one of
our beloved and best actors of our country.
Ends.

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