Imelda Staunton


Mr Sometime came to pre sweeney he just came out to the you have to play rose other oh no no no it was great because it's a really good play and narrowly intense portrayal of madame rose the emotionally abusive matriarch in Stephen Sondheim's revered classic Gypsy never a Great Imelda Staunton Al Studios here in London for the big interview thank you so much for talking to me only for herself and violent and narcissistic and heartbreaking Imelda Staunton shot to international fame to be daunted by the demands of stage acting she followed up with Edward Albee's equally intense play who's afraid of Virginia Woolf and then another Sondheim well her oscar-nominated turn in two thousand and foles gripping drama Vera Drake by that time however she'd already carved out a cozy position as one of favorite Foley's for on the Harry Potter films to Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland and Downton Abbey she's conquered screens big and small and listen I come from an Irish background Irish people quite happy I think in feel quite at ease performing mass generalization I know but my mum played fiddle and the I walked onto a stage auditory moves dark I thought this is where to be did it take you awhile to feel safe on the stage though I mean I'm obviously not an act I spoken to a few people who have made career themselves on the stage and quite often I don't know I think it's something quite specific theater actors they tend to be able to pinpoint moment nothing you know I was lucky enough to have started out as in our convent we had an elocution teacher who also taught drama and she used to put me in for drama festival so I would I mean I've done school plays and things before which I loved but I wish three trauma schools and two of them the auditions were in a room with people and the third one Britain's leading stage performers she's the winner of four and Livia roads three four best actress in a musical most recently for her extreme wasn't till I met my first long term boyfriend when I was seventeen and they did go to theater and they took me to the theater and I saw Olivier the old vic jump lower there was no exposure you know burnt to fear to going family at all my family Irish working class immigrants and my mom would help it we didn't do that sort of thing what is nothing quite like watching Staunton's quiet brilliance at its best on London's West End Stage I'm pleased to say that I was joined by Darren I can't imagine feeling any less safe I think than on a stage in front of hundreds of people did you always feel like that the first time you walked out on the stage I think I did actually audience you know so quite extrovert as I understand it you grew up in north of London what was your exposure to the arts like when you were younger monolog with another girl Dulag and you would do competitions and that was a good training and that was very young and and I didn't I was going to be an active and I knew I I really enjoy doing that they can say this was the moment where I fell in love with the stage is that true for you I think that might have happened to me at my audition for drama scorer I tonight did start seeing plays with raw crikey this looks good because I although at drama school I then this is just my subject but then you see actors art and acting like that and you just striving to be a good actor nuts at drama school all you're really doing you just want to strive to suffer was it that you manage to have the confidence to look at a career in the arts and see that is a viable option I think it was my teacher. Jackie Stoker alignment that was full of the odds treated you know going into a career on the stage as a legitimate career path one as legitimate as being a teacher or a doctoral how implant pf those parts in my early twenty s just gave me acting muscle What about being nominated for your first big awards under standard the stage when it comes to this production but what struck be looking back at your performance there was that your interpretation seemed to be I'm not sure if it was a deliberate shift for the beggars opera you were nominated for an Olivier well that season that was Richard s first season at the national and yes I was nominated for best actress away from what we know but you seem to be quite careful about putting your own stamp on the role you certainly weren't doing an impersonation of Judy garland now who can hope wbt every single day it certainly seems on paper that it didn't seem to take you very long to really get on a solid career path by the nineteen eighty s you were coming full the National Theatre First Job was at Worcester Swan Theatre Worcester but I was playing a lead role so my first job aged twenty I was playing a lead role now I was getting all of the I want you well because by then I six years of hardcore repertory theatre all over the country but also I suppose when I was taken from dramas given existing notion of what the show could be obviously he was starring as Dorothy these days we have wicked so that is an another way that people have this familiarity certainly the story of the wizard of Oz because one handed is such a you know it's a production where also familiar with but I would anticipate that that would sometimes make a little bit harder because people have these so these children and these adults seeing it today and it was a tough show to do but not too bad because my husband was playing the cowardly lion so that was great we had each other tree playing very big parts not all well at all but my God it was a great experience and I was given a lot of responsibility very early on whether it's playing Saint Joan that is so ever present in much of the performing arts here in Britain eight dollars travel quite well that also means that maybe there's less of a pressure for people musical and best newcomer but Ken Branagan added that year What happened to him so yes that was yeah that was very strange very strange you wanted to get through all the hell all that and to see great performances was a huge inspiration I always wanted so interesting when people say that they didn't necessarily grow up in an you have the confidence in me and also we didn't know what an actor's life was in our family so the idea of going to drama school is me going to the university for my son being used started appearing in films as well I'm coming at this topic from a non British person but it does seem to me that this Britishness didn't think level I remember when I was seventeen when I didn't have a life plan I didn't know what it really meant older I knew was I was going somewhere where I could do what I love to have to wash off their britishness when they become more of an international star and that seems to be the case with you because if you look at your filmography you start in so many productions that are very fantastic to look at all the script I'm doing is the script on the day and you can't go I'm not as good as her of course I'm not you just have to tell this story object so I got into raw which time was you know the top drama school so my parents were very impressed by that although none of us really what it was all these great female actresses who got such theater muscle that easily translates to film when we say something is uniquely British it's easy to understand that as far as how it looks on a screen or how it might seem on the stage but what does that actually mean is part of that that notion television program more and more films I think actors are leave drums schools straightaway and goes straight into a big big film? That didn't happen when we left drums did you know I wouldn't have been able to do the Harry potters without having had deals combination for that and all that so Mike Lee Makes push films about British life in certain hey the California suite in the price of Miss Jean Brodie she was getting Oscar before any of us knew how to spell it so we're very lucky that she and Judy and Helen you missed out of there which was the one film that probably made me a tiny bit international was Mike Lees Vera Drake that's what actually catapult nick certainly Ken loach's and certainly might leers and

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