British stars have been recognised by Hollywood’s social elite in a new push to make the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences more diverse.
A record 928 members have been invited to join the Academy – which votes on the nominees and the winners of the Oscars each year – which is a significant increase on the 774 new members asked in 2017.
Among the names is a number of homegrown filmmakers, including JK Rowling, who only wrote her first screenplay, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, in 2016. Olivia Colman, who has received BAFTA recognition but never Oscar; Brotherhood actor Noel Clarke; stage and screen actors Celia Imrie, Ben Whishaw, Toby Jones and Game of Thrones star Emilia Clarke have also been invited. Daniel Kaluuya, who earned a Best Actor nomination for his performance in the Oscar-winning Get Out earlier this year, is on the list, too.
Academy officials hope that the new membership will improve the Academy’s much-criticised lack of diversity, which has repeatedly resulted in #OscarsSoWhite controversies during ceremonies in recent years, due to the lack of recognition of women or people of colour by the awards.
The new membership has meant that 38 per cent of the Academy’s new class is comprised by people of colour – boosting the proportion within the Academy as a whole to 16 per cent (up on 13 per cent in 2017). Women, meanwhile, make up 49 per cent of the new intake, raising the percentage of women in the Academy to 31 per cent.
Notable new US members include writers and actresses Mindy Kaling, Rashida Jones and Tiffany Haddish.
Membership to the Academy is notoriously strict – applicants are not welcome, instead potential members must be “sponsored” by two existing members to be considered. If, like Kaluuya, you have received an Oscar nomination, then you can be considered without sponsorship.
However, even then, members must meet certain requirements: directors, for instance, must have two directing credits within the past decade and actors must have racked up at least three theatrical credits in films that “are of a calibre that reflect the high standards of the Academy”.
She plays Hildegarde Schmidt, handmaiden to Judi Dench’s character Princess Dragomiroff, and it sounds like she couldn’t have had a better experience on set.
“It was heaven,” she said, speaking on The Andrew Marr Show. “I sat next to Judi Dench all day, holding a dog. It was heaven!”
The Broadchurch actress was recently announced to be taking over the role of Queen Elizabeth II from Clare Foy in Netflix drama The Crown.
And Colman revealed all about just how excited she was to hear the news about her casting.
“I was on speaker phone in the car with my husband and we’d recently finished watching The Crown,” she said. “And my agent said, ‘Would you go and meet, as a secret, about a tiara?’
“She was trying to be subtle and I went ‘The Crown?! The Crown?! Oh my god yes!’ And my husband was silently clapping in the background.
“So we were quite excited – I was very excited!”
She and Murder on the Orient Express co-star Michelle Pfeiffer also spoke about the recent allegations surrounding Harvey Weinstein, with Colman pointing out that “women in their 20’s are purposefully targeted”.
Pfeiffer added: “I’ve had some experiences. I have to say since this has all come out, there really hasn’t been one woman that I’ve talked to who hasn’t had an experience.
“And it just goes to show you how systemic the problem is.”
Charting the life and times of the Windsor dynasty, The Crown season three will tackle a time jump for the biographical drama, and include a whole new cast.
Speaking to Radio Times, Colman revealed that she was nervous to take over from Foy to play the country’s longest-reigning monarch.
“She was just very supportive,” confirmed Colman. “She said I’ll have a lovely time, everyone on it is amazing; the voice coaching is impeccable… I’m just full of fear because you don’t want to be the one who screws it up.”
But it sounds like Foy is more than happy to leave behind some handy hints, as Colman added: “She’s lovely, and she said I can call her anytime.”
Foy has already passed her judgement on the casting, and thankfully, Colman’s fear seems to be equally outweighed by her excitement to take on the iconic role of Queen Elizabeth II.
“I have remained ridiculously excited since. I’m trying to be cool,” the Broadchurch and Murder on the Orient Express star said.
“My agent was trying to be subtle, not knowing who was in the car with me, and she went, ‘It’s something about a tiara’, and I went ‘Oh, it’s The Crown!'”
Foy will leave after season 2, leaving Colman as an older version of the Queen in season 3 and 4 of the The Crown.
With six seasons expected from Peter Morgan’s historical heart-warmer, it’s expected that Colman will portray Elizabeth II in the middle of her life.
But with season 2 of The Crown still yet to hit the streaming giant, fans of the show will have to wait until 2019 before they can see Colman pick up the sceptre.
The Crown returns for its second season on Netflix on Friday, December 8.
Olivia Colman says Claire Foy will be an “incredibly hard act to follow” on The Crown.
The star of Broadchurch and The Night Manager takes over the role of Queen Elizabeth II from Foy, who portrays her in the early years of her reign.
She said: “I’m so thrilled to be part of The Crown. I was utterly gripped watching it.”
Colman will be in series three and four of the show and is due to be seen in the role from 2019.
She paid tribute to her predecessor, saying: “I think Claire Foy is an absolute genius – she’s an incredibly hard act to follow.
“I’m basically going to re-watch every episode and copy her.”
Foy was equally complimentary, saying she was “apoplectic with joy” when she found out Colman was being lined up for the show.
“I just love her, I admire her so much and the idea that we sort of will be doing the same job but not actually working together is just enough – I’m honoured by that,” she said.
It is yet to be revealed who will play Prince Philip. Former Doctor Who actor Matt Smith is currently starring as the Duke of Edinburgh.
He and Foy will soon be seen in the second series of the show, due for release in December.
Foy, who has won a Golden Globe for the part, has previously said she was aware she would only be in two series.
“This is the last stint,” she told The Graham Norton Show. “It’s over, I’m done.
“I always knew it was only going to be two series and then the part would be reincarnated and someone else takes over. That’s the nature of the part.”
Colman, who won a Golden Globe for The Night Manager and has also appeared in BBC Three’s Fleabag, will play the Queen in the years from 1963, when the monarch turned 37.
Another actress is expected to take over to play the monarch in later life.
Fans were excited by her casting, with one saying it was “amazing news”.
Colman has form starring as royalty. She played the future Queen Mother in 2012’s Hyde Park on Hudson and will be seen as Queen Anne in next year’s The Favourite.
Netflix’s drama started in 1947 with Elizabeth’s engagement to Prince Philip and is expected to continue up to the present day.
Olivia Colman and I are drinking tea in the sitting room of her double-fronted south London home, talking about school runs. Only problem is, I’m distracted. Because on the floor, just inches from my feet, is a pile of scripts. “Second series of Broadchurch,” she explains, with that open, lovable, gummy smile. “I’m so frightened that someone will get hold of them that I burn a few pages every time we light a fire.”
Brilliant, devastating Broadchurch. More than nine million of us were on the edge of our sofas last winter as we watched the terrible truth about who killed 11-year-old Danny Latimer unfold. In the end, the fact that Broadchurch did not disappoint was largely down to the Bafta-winning brilliance of Colman’s performance as DS Ellie Miller. Who can honestly say that they didn’t feel her heart breaking when her boss, DI Hardy (David Tennant), told her the news that it was her husband Joe whodunnit?
And now Broadchurch is back for a second series. But whether it can be improved upon, or what on earth can happen in a tiny Dorset town where most of the inhabitants are now devastated, dead or under arrest, remains to be seen. For there is a danger here — and it is a real danger, let’s face it — that Broadchurch will turn into a seaside version of Midsomer Murders and that the ultimate victim will be its own integrity.
“Well, yes, I must say my initial instinct was to leave it well alone,” admits Colman. “I thought it was perfect as it was, and that it would be a travesty to touch it. But then Chris [Chibnall, the show’s writer and creator] talked us through his ideas for the second series and we all went, ‘Oh, OK… cool.'” Beyond this, Colman cannot — and will not — be drawn. ‘All I will say is that it doesn’t disappoint,” she says quietly, in her distinctive, treacle tone. Colman — “Collie” to friends — looks much younger than her 40 years, padding around her house in leggings and socks, her hair still wet from the shower. She talks constantly, with a rat-a-tat sweetness, as she makes endless cups of tea. And although she’s the very same soulful eyes and heartfelt smiles you see on television, somehow in person she’s smaller, despite insisting “by the time I finished filming Broadchurch last week, I was mainly eating cake.” But her (absolutely false) lament that she is overweight suits her love of jokes and self-deprecation. “You just can’t tell my size because I’m wearing black,” she says. “But I honestly almost cancelled this shoot because I couldn’t bear the thought of being the fattest person in Vogue.”
Whether she’s playing a battered wife (Tyrannosaur) or a vicar’s wife (Rev), the sister of a reluctant salsa dancer (Cuban Fury) or the mother of a murdered child (Accused), Colman draws us in, time and time again, with the sheer force of her humanity. Her extraordinary empathy — “like a watch with the mechanism visible” according to her Rev co-star Tom Hollander – has seen Colman rise from comic sidekick to tragic heroine in the space of a decade. “Olivia absolutely embodies all of our contradictions,” says Chibnall, who wrote Broadchurch’s Ellie with her in mind. “She’s not afraid to cry but she’s also incredibly tough. She’s funny, but she’s able to go into the deepest, darkest emotional territory. She inhabits a character from the inside out and, most of all, she understands what it is like to be alive – how ridiculous it is, how heartbreaking it is and how wonderful it is.”
There’s nothing saccharine about Colman. Her wide-set, brown eyes might well up with the tears at the slightest thing (“I have no armour, I’m afraid”), but they also flash with an intelligent feistiness which is, arguably, the true secret of her success. If a subject that comes up doesn’t sit well with her, she pounces on it like a cat. “Why the fuck should I care?” she blazes, when I ask if she was upset when Gracepoint, the American remake of Broadchurch, was cast with Breaking Bad’s Anna Gunn playing the role of Ellie Miller opposite David Tennant. “It’s not my part. I don’t own it.”
The phrase “national treasure” might make her nose wrinkle with embarrassment, but it does go some way to describing the way that Colman is adored, Judi Dench style, by audiences and contemporaries. “I feel a little bit like I’m not ready to have that very nice title on my shoulders just yet,” she says quietly. “I know it comes from a warm and loving place, but I wonder if it means that I’m at the end of my career, and I feel like I’m only just getting going.” She catches herself “Well, at least, I hope I am, anyway.” Colman’s very British modesty has its roots in a loving, middle-class Norfolk upbringing. Her chartered surveyor father and nurse mother worked hard to send her to Gresham’s School (alma mater of Benjamin Britten and WH Auden), where she didn’t make any particular impression until, aged 16, she took on the title role in a production of The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie and “suddenly felt really at home”.
But Colman came from a sensible world, where people didn’t do things like pretend to be someone else for a living. After leaving school she enrolled on a teaching course at Homerton College, Cambridge to buy herself some time. “I didn’t know what else to do and I still couldn’t quite let myself want to act,” she remembers. An early audition for Footlights (where she met her future co-stars David Mitchell and Robert Webb) set her on the right path. “I suddenly found all these people who were a bit weird and a bit shy like me; people who found being someone else easier, somehow, than being themselves.” Soon afterwards she met and fell in love with her future husband, Ed Sinclair, a law student who also harboured dreams of an acting career, and the deal was done. “We skipped of together into this nice, not-at-all-sensible world, where you were allowed to play forever.”
Once Colman settled on what she wanted to do, the force of her ambition burned brightly. She followed Sinclair (now a novelist) to Bristol Old Vic drama school but success did not immediately follow her 1999 graduation. The 25-year-old did a typing course and worked as a temp (“quite a jolly secretary, but not a very good one”) and even took work as a cleaning lady. At no point, however, did she consider giving up. “I couldn’t and wouldn’t do anything else,” she shrugs, almost apologetically. “Being able to put ‘Actor’ on my passport was all I wanted in the world.” Her parents were bemused but supportive; when her mother suggested she give it a year, Colman replied, with that honeyed steel of hers, that she thought she would actually give it 10.
Her scene-stealing performances in The Mitchell and Webb Situation sketch show in 2001 led to bit parts in comedies such as The Office and Black Books and a larger part, as a frazzled mother-of-four in the hit 2005 Channel 4 sitcom Green Wing. Bigger roles followed (Hot Fuzz, Peep Show), but it wasn’t until actor Paddy Considine cast her as abused wife Hannah in his harrowingly brilliant 2011 directorial debut Tyrannosaur that Colman’s star truly ascended.
Colman’s instincts are spot on; like an arrow to the emotional heart of something, she needs only to read the first few pages of a script to know whether it is for her. “It’s hard to explain,” she says, “but I can just feel whether I can do it or not.” Which is not to say that she doesn’t have a game plan. “I have a sneaking suspicion that audiences have seen me crying a little bit too often in the past couple of years,” Colman admits. “And if people get really fed up with me, then I won’t get more work. And if I can’t do what I love, then I will shrivel up and die.” So she is returning to comedy for the foreseeable future. Although stopping those tears may be easier said than done. “If something touches me, I cry. That’s it. I’m a bit raw, a bit rubbish really,” she explains. “Often a director will say to me, ‘I don’t think this is a scene where your character cries.’ And all I can say is, good luck with that!” In life, it is the same. “It was slightly embarrassing at a parents’ meeting the other day when a teacher was nice about my boy and I started to well up.” However, the thought of people turning on their televisions and seeing her, midflow, makes Colman giggle helplessly, ‘Oh look,”‘ she acts out. ‘Here we go; she’s crying again.'”
Fame, for Colman, has taken a bit of getting used to — “I do find it weird when people I don’t know are looking at me” — but her private life provides the perfect refuge. “As long as I have Ed and the boys, everything is all right,” she says of her husband of 13 years and their two young sons (eight and six), whom she asks, politely but firmly, not to have named. Their home is a happy, light-filled place, decorated beautifully in neutral colours. There are scooters in the newly converted, glass-fronted kitchen and a tree house, built from scratch by Ed, at the bottom of the garden. They don’t go out an awful lot. At the party after last year’s Baftas — at which Colman won the Best Actress Award for Broadchurch and the Best Supporting Actress Award for Accused (and, naturally, cried throughout her acceptance speeches) — she turned to Ed and suggested they sneak home. “We were in our socks, drinking tea by 10 o’clock.”
Every work move is made with her family firmly at the front of Colman’s mind. “I don’t like being away from them. It’s as simple as that.” It is not for this reason, though, that her work has been largely restricted to Britain. “If a script was good, I’d go anywhere for it. Truth is, I’ve never been offered a job in America.” But something makes me suspect that Colman — who will next be seen starring alongside Colin Farrell, Rachel Weisz and John C Reilly in a “bonkers” futuristic sci-fi film called The Lobster (filmed in Dublin rather than Hollywood) — knows as well as anyone that international acclaim is well within her reach.
In the mean time, a new series of Broadchurch will no doubt secure Colman’s place in British hearts. And when she gets on that plane to Hollywood — as she’s sure to any day now — and leaves us feeling bereft, it will certainly be with “Actor” on her passport.
In an era of scant good news, we got some last week: Olivia Colman will play Queen Elizabeth II on the next two seasons of The Crown, taking over from Claire Foy after the upcoming second series. Fans were worried about who would fill the role, but Colman, of Broadchurch and The Night Manager, is BBC’s perfect choice to play the Queen during her middle years.
Let us tell you why: Firstly, she’s used to playing royalty. She played the future Queen Mother in Hyde Park on Hudson with Bill Murray, and Queen Anne in The Favourite, set for release next year. If anyone can pull off extreme regality, it’s Colman.
On top of that, the actress can make nearly anything interesting, and the time period covered by The Crown in seasons three and four, which Colman is now signed up for, are potentially the dullest, so her presence will be somewhat of a godsend. We’ll see her as Elizabeth in the ’60s, ’70s, and ’80s, during which the most exciting event was probably one assassination attempt. (In the ’90s, we’ll get Elizabeth and—gasp—Diana!) Colman is pleasant and sunny in interviews but can make any part unmissable (see the anguish of her character in Broadchurch, her icy bitchiness in Fleabag, or the humor in W1A and Peep Show).
Lastly, Colman does beleaguered, long-suffering wife like a champ, turning what could be simpering roles into simmering ones. Her role in Broadchurch had her dealing not only with a cheating husband but one who was also a serial killer; on Peep Show she expertly played Sophie, who tolerates main character Mark’s quirks as stoically as anyone could. Hence, she’s perfectly suited to deal with the philandering Prince Philip (though we don’t know who will replace Doctor Who’s Matt Smith yet).
Colman’s predecessor is just as happy as we are, if you need more convincing. Claire Foy told Variety, “I just think she’s extraordinary. She’s an extraordinary human being as well. I just think that she will make it her own. And I just can’t wait to see what she does with it.”
An evil godmother who Fleabag’s titular anti-heroine cheerfully describes as a “c***” is not a character you might typically associate with our beloved national treasure Olivia Colman, which begs the question: how did she get the part?
Lydia Hampson, who produces Phoebe Waller Bridge’s BBC3 comedy and is one of 2017’s BAFTA Breakthrough Brits, has revealed that Colman actually befriended Waller Bridge years ago on the set of the 2011 film The Iron Lady, when she requested that Waller Bridge write her into one of her future projects.
“Olivia had said to Phoebe, ‘If you ever write anything please tell me, I’d love to be in it,’” said Hampson.
“Phoebe told me that and I was like, ‘Oh my god! What could she be?’ In the original play version the godmother is literally just a presence at the top of the stairs, she doesn’t have any words, she’s not in it at all.
“So Phoebe kind of wrote up this idea of a godmother character that has a much larger role and Olivia, I believe, had said, ‘I’d love to play a real bitch.’ And so Phoebe was like, ‘I’ve got it!’”
Fleabag is returning for a second series in 2019, but it’s not yet known if Colman and the rest of the original cast will reprise their roles. Hampson couldn’t reveal any plot details, as Waller Bridge isn’t due to start writing until January…
Netflix has cast Olivia Colman to replace Claire Foy as Her Royal Highness in the drama series from Peter Morgan. Colman will take over the lead role for the show’s (not yet ordered but expected) third and fourth seasons. Foy was only set to play the young Queen for two seasons.
According to Netflix content chief Ted Sarandos, the plan is to have the period drama run for six seasons, following the Queen’s story throughout her whole life. “This is going to take Queen Elizabeth from age 29 to, presumably, the current day. We’ll see it lay out over decades,” the exec said last year. “The idea is to do this over six decades, in six seasons presumably, and make the whole show [run] over eight to 10 years.” Every two seasons, new castmembers are expected to be cast in the major roles to account for the years that have passed.
Foy herself spoke to The Hollywood Reporter about exiting the series, for which she won a Golden Globe earlier this year. “I’m quite philosophical about these things, and I think the amazing thing about the show is the fact that it will go on and that it hasn’t ended badly. It’ll go on and have another life,” she said. “I can’t wait to watch it, and I just think whoever they get to play that part, they’ll be extraordinary. I will never watch it with any sense of bitterness or regret. I will feel what I will feel now, which is so happy and lucky for the experience.”
Colman, who has had roles in feature films The Lobster and Hot Fuzz, will be seen next on the big screen in Murder on the Orient Express. Her television credits include Broadchurch, Fleabag and The Night Manager, the latter of which also won her a Golden Globe earlier this year.
The second season of The Crown is set to debut Dec. 8 on the streaming service. Season one castmembers Matt Smith (Prince Philip), Vanessa Kirby (Princess Margaret), Victoria Hamilton (Queen Mother) and Jeremy Northam (Antony Eden) will return. The series also will welcome newcomers Matthew Goode (as Lord Snowdon) and Michael C. Hall (as John F. Kennedy).
Speaking at the Edinburgh Intl. Television Festival, Waller-Bridge said: “Series 2 will be a whole new adventure and I’m beyond thrilled to be coming back.” She originally confirmed plans for a second season in March.
“The first season of ‘Fleabag’ introduced audiences to the brilliant and rebellious voice of Phoebe Waller-Bridge,” said Joe Lewis, head of comedy, drama and VR at Amazon Studios in a statement. “She’s one of the best and most dynamic showrunners in TV today and we’re so excited to bring a new season of the smart and hilarious ‘Fleabag’ to customers soon.”
The international hit comedy, which was adapted from Waller-Bridge’s award-winning stage play, was nominated for six BAFTA Television Awards in May, with Waller-Bridge beating out her co-star Olivia Colman to win for best female performance in a comedy program.
The actress and writer will next be seen opposite Margot Robbie and Domnhall Gleeson in Simon Curtis’ biopic of “Winnie the Pooh” author A.A. Milne, “Goodbye Christopher Robin,” and is currently shooting LucasFilm’s untitled Han Solo “Star Wars” film. She also wrote and is executive producer on BBC America’s 2018 thriller series “Killing Eve,” starring Sandra Oh and Jodie Comer, which began shooting in Europe this week.
“’Fleabag’ signaled the arrival of a hugely distinctive writer with the mesmerizing performing talent to match,” said Shane Allen, controller of comedy at the BBC, who was in conversation with Waller-Bridge in Edinburgh on a panel discussing the show’s creation. “Phoebe’s career has shot up like a firework display in the last year, and the show has been rightly hailed as a modern classic. It’ll be thrilling to see where she takes the character in the next series.”
The first season introduced the dry-witted, angry, cash-strapped, grief-riddled, porn-watching title character played by Waller-Bridge, a young woman trying to cope with life in London while coming to terms with a recent tragedy. It co-starred BAFTA-winner Colman alongside Brett Gelman, Bill Paterson, Hugh Dennis, Hugh Skinner, Jamie Demetriou, Jenny Rainsford and Sian Clifford.
The comedy debuted on BBC Three, the broadcaster’s online channel, in July 2016. Amazon acquired it for Amazon Prime Video in May last year, ahead of its BBC bow, and launched it on the streaming service in September.
“Fleabag” is produced by Two Brothers Pictures in association with DryWrite for the BBC. Waller-Bridge executive produces alongside Jack and Harry Williams. Lydia Hampson is the series producer.
The new season was commissioned for BBC Three by Damian Kavanagh, controller of BBC Three, alongside Allen. Kate Daughton is the commissioning editor.
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Olivia Colman and Olivia Williams, stars of Lucy Kirkwood’s new play Mosquitoes at the National Theatre, will reflect on the acclaimed show in a talk next month.
Lauded by audiences and critics alike, the duo star as sisters with contrasting occupations: one a scientist in Geneva, searching for the Higgs Boson in the Large Hadron Collider and on the brink of worldwide fame, and the other based in Luton, sat by her computer, Googling. But tragedy throws them back together with chaotic consequences.
The talk will take place on Monday 18 September at 3pm, with tickets £7 (£5 concessions) and available through the National Theatre’s website.
Mosquitoes is currently sold out for its entire run, with the exception of good availability for the matinee performance on Wednesday 20 September. It is also still possible to buy seats via day tickets and Friday Rush.
The new play is penned by the Olivier Award-winning Kirkwood, who wrote huge West End hit Chimerica, and directed by the National Theatre’s Artistic Director, Rufus Norris, who will hold their own talk on Thursday 7 September at 6pm.
Further related events can be found through the National Theatre’s website.