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Olivia Colman, Jessie Buckley, Dakota Johnson and Peter Sarsgaard hav joined the cast of Maggie Gyllenhaal’s feature directorial debut The Lost Daughter, which Endeavor Content will introduce to worldwide buyers at the EFM in Berlin net week.
As previously announced, Gyllenhaal adapted the Elena Ferrante novel, and is producing with Talia Kleinhendler and Osnat Handelsman-Keren through their company Pie Films, and Charlie Dorfman. Endeavor Content and Dorfman, through his Samuel Marshall Productions, are financing.
Colman will play a university professor on a seaside summer hoiday who becomes consumed by Nina (Johnson) and her young daughter, as she watches them on the beach.
Unnerved by their compelling relationship, and their raucous and menacing extended family, she becomes overwhelmed by her own memories of the terror, confusion and intensity of early motherhood.
Forced to consider the unconventional choices she made as a young mother and the consequences they had for her family, she begins to unravel.
“When I finished reading Elena Ferrante’s “The Lost Daughter,” I felt that something secret and true had been said out loud,” said Gyllenhaal. “And I was both disturbed and comforted by that. I immediately thought how much more intense the experience would be in a movie theatre, with other people around. And I set to work on this adaptation.
“I find that the script has attracted other people interested in exploring these secret truths about motherhood, sexuality, femininity, desire. And I’m thrilled to continue my collaboration with such brave and exciting actors and filmmakers.”
The 2020 BAFTAs had an emphasis on sustainability this year. The academy went to great lengths to ensure that all aspects of the evening were as eco-conscious as possible – from a fully recyclable red carpet to the organic, locally-sourced dinner served to guests in the evening – in an effort for the event to be carbon neutral. BAFTA also requested that guests make “sustainable choices” when it came to dressing for the ceremony – suggesting that they might like to rent a dress, buy vintage or rewear something they already own.
Olivia Colman adhered to the sustainable sensibility of the evening by partnering with Atelier Swarovski on some beautiful bespoke jewellery created from lab-grown diamonds – widely considered a more eco-friendly option than using labour-intensive mined diamonds. The actress debuted Swarovski’s first pink created diamonds on the red carpet, in the form of a striking pink cocktail ring.
The piece featured a 2.03-carat cushion cut Fancy Purplish Pink Swarovski Created Diamond with an intensity of colour and style of cut that is rare in a lab-created diamond of that size. The hero stone was surrounded by Cabochon Star Rubies and pink Swarovski Genuine Topaz.
On her other hand, Colman wore a stunning blue cocktail ring consisting of a 42-carat antique cushion-cut Swarovski Created Sapphire.
When she stepped out on the red carpet, the actress added a third ring, calling for equal representation for actresses, with “50:50” written in the middle.
“I share the same passion for conscious luxury and sustainability as Atelier Swarovski,” Colman told us, of her decision to partner with the brand. “It is a true pleasure to debut these bespoke jewels featuring the first pink Swarovski Created Diamonds, which prove that beautiful fashion choices can still be kind to people and planet.”
The rings were complemented by sparkling cluster and droplet earrings, featuring eight Swarovski Created Sapphires totalling over 28 carats, enhanced with additional Fancy Purplish Pink Swarovski Created Diamonds.
Colman’s stylist, Harper’s Bazaar contributor Miranda Almond, worked closely with Swarovski on the design of the jewellery, to ensure that it perfectly complemented the actress’ floral-embroidered Alexander McQueen dress.
“We wanted the shape of the earrings to be an addition to the style of the neckline and not compete against it,” Almond explained. “I think they add a sense of playfulness and look super cool, too.”
The droplet part of the earrings were designed to be detachable, so they also could be worn as simple clusters, allowing Almond to make a call on the night as to which version of the jewellery looked better. The stylist added that it’s vital more high-profile stars highlight sustainable practices on the red carpet.
“The more sustainable we can be with fashion and jewellery production the better for everyone,” she told us. “To shine a light on those brands that do is an important step to making it the norm rather than the exception.”
“Who did your make-up? You look like a badger,” might be one of the best lines from the film The Favourite, for which Olivia Colman won the Best Actress Oscar in 2019. When it comes to red carpet make-up, however, she’s quite rightly a little less experimental. Take Sunday night’s BAFTAs 2020 make-up look: drawing on the purple, blue and pink tones in her embroidered Alexander McQueen gown, her look was softly romantic yet modern, with pink and lilac eyeshadows accented with dark, glossy lashes and defined brows.
“Olivia is so trusting and open to ideas, and I’m also partial to her make-up having a ‘fresh factor,’” her make-up artist Sarah Uslan told British Vogue. Uslan first worked with the star when she came to Los Angeles in 2011 for a screening of her film Tyrannosaur. “Even if we go for a bold lip and big doe eyes, it’s always balanced with her natural-looking skin and a feathery brow.”
The getting ready process is delightfully fuss-free, Uslan insisted. “Getting Olivia ready certainly does not feel like work; it’s lots of laughs, some yummy snacks and a pot of tea,” she said. The hard work starts beforehand. “The conversation always starts with the dress. Miranda Almond, her stylist, will send a picture to her hairstylist Marcus Francis and myself, sharing her thoughts for make-up and hair, and then letting us run with it. Olivia is so trusting that once she’s in the chair and we’ve talked through some ideas, she sometimes doesn’t even look at herself until the very end, by which time she gives us a smile and says, ‘Well done.’”
Uslan made Colman’s naturally big, beautiful eyes the main feature of the actress’s beauty look for the BAFTAs. Keeping the complexion bare until after the eye make-up had been completed – “so that if any shadow falls, I can quickly clean up with some moisturiser and keep the skin fresh and flawless before foundation” – she administered a quick facial massage using a tool like a Gua Sha.
Then, Uslan opted for the Marc Jacobs pink and lilac Provocouture Eye Palette. First, she applied the “You Might” shade all over the lid followed by “Otherwise” in the crease; then “Sat It” over the centre of the lid to add a pop of highlight. Accenting the eyes with Marc Jacobs Highliner Gel Eye Pencils, she used “Ro(cocoa)” at the lash-line and then double-lined with “Plum(age)”. “I then used a small brush to blend the seam of the liner and give a smoked-out effect.” Uslan followed with “Luna(tic)” to give a subtle lilac highlight at the corner of her eyes, adding a little more “Plum(age)” and “Ro(cocoa)” at the bottom lash-line to accentuate her eyes. To complete the look, she used Marc Jacobs Velvet Epic Lash Primer to build up the length and volume of lashes, and then applied Velvet Noir Major Volume Mascara.
Creating a perfect base with Marc Jacobs Under(Cover) Blurring Coconut Face Primer and Shameless Youthful-Look Foundation, as well as Fair 10 concealer in the inner corner of the under eye mixed with Light 20 across the undereye to conceal and lift, she kept the rest of the make-up natural but glowing, with a touch of Glow Stick Glistening Illuminator on her temples and cheekbones.
How does she ensure the look lasts all night long? “I usually send Olivia out of the door with a bit of powder for the T-zone, her lip colour (last night’s was Marc Jacobs Lip Creme in “Kiss Kiss Bang Bang”) and sometimes a pea-sized amount of concealer,” said Uslan. “The trick is making it all fit in her teeny-tiny beautiful clutches. It’s always like a Tetris challenge.”
Award season started on Sunday with the Golden Globes, and as has become the norm, actresses used the event to make a political statement, whether on stage – like Michelle Williams defending abortion rights – or on the red carpet, like Olivia Colman.
The Crown actress wore a red dress by Emilia Wickstead, with puffed sleeves and a loose train. But the statement she made was in her jewelry, which you may have completely missed at first glance.
Olivia wore a ring with the ERA 50:50 logo, an organization campaigning for gender equality on the British stage and on screen by 2020.
The winner has voiced lack of representation in the past, recently stating that she “hopes bloody well” that she will pay the same price as her Crown co-star Tobias Menzies, who plays Prince Philip.
She is not the only actress to campaign for equal pay in the United States, with Frances McDormand, Patricia Arquette and Halle Berry all dedicating their Oscar speeches to the issue in previous years.
With the BAFTAs and the Oscars coming up, we can expect a lot more debate, and we are there for that.
Hollywood producers are yet to cast Eleanor Tomlinson in a remake of The Great Escape. But the actress has taken matters into her own hands.
The star, best known as Poldark’s Demelza and most recently seen in the BBC adaptation of The War of the Worlds, chose Steve McQueen’s daring wartime hero Virgil Hilts when asked by the artist, Joe Simpson, to name her dream role.
The result will be on display in ACT, a new exhibition featuring portraits of 10 actors in the roles they wish they had played.
Among them are Matt Lucas as Don Lockwood in Singin’ In The Rain, Paddy Considine as Randle McMurphy in One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest, Gugu Mbatha-Raw as Cleopatra and Olivia Colman as Bess in Breaking the Waves.
Michael Sheen said he had played all of his dream roles already. Instead, he opted to be painted as Max, the little boy in Maurice Sendak’s children’s book, Where The Wild Things Are.
Initially, Tomlinson did not choose The Great Escape. Simpson explained: “Originally she wanted Gone With The Wind, because she loved Scarlett O’Hara. I was just about to get cracking and she had a change of mind and said she’d done so much period drama – she was constantly in frocks, and she wanted to do something different.”
Lucas had planned to be the title character in Annie, the musical, before settling on Singin’ In The Rain.
The project has taken Simpson five years in total. Persuading famous names to take part was the first challenge. His first sitter was Considine, who was a friend of a friend. Considine then introduced him to Colman, as the pair had worked together.
“It was 2015, so it was pre-Oscars [Colman won the best actress award last year] but she was still pretty big. It was very nice to get a voicemail message from her out of the blue, saying she was interested.”
Others were contacted via their agents, or via social media: Simpson approached Sheen on Twitter, sending him a picture of the Considine portrait and inviting him to take part. Sheen responded immediately.
“Some people were hesitant, and in the beginning it was a bit of an unknown,” Simpson said. But all the actors who took part embraced the idea. In the case of Colman and Breaking the Waves, Lars von Trier’s bleak 1996 film, she told Simpson that “she had only seen it once but it had a huge emotional impact on her and she couldn’t stop thinking about it”.
After discussing the character and how the actors wanted to be depicted, Simpson photographed them with costumes and props.
He then added the backdrops using Photoshop on a computer screen, before going into the studio and painting them in oils.
The results are “like a film still from a film that doesn’t exist”, Simpson said. “These are the most researched pieces I’ve worked on, where I study each role and create a scene from scratch – which includes making costumes, referencing cinematography, genre conventions and character profiles and visiting authentic locations – all to build a single frame story.”
It also deepened his knowledge of film, as he had to watch each one several times: “Embarrassingly, I had never seen Singin’ In The Rain.”
The show opens at Stockport War Memorial Art Gallery on January 25 and will travel to Theatre Clwyd, North Wales and Alfred East Art Gallery, Kettering.
Simpson has been in discussions with Phoebe Waller-Bridge and Dame Judi Dench about further portraits for the ACT project.
British actress Olivia Colman was seen in a sneak peek at her beauty routine before she hit the red carpet at the Golden Globes last night.
The Crown actress, 45, who went on to win a Best Actress gong for her role as Queen Elizabeth in the hit Netflix series, was seen on her hair stylist Marcus Francis and make-up artist Sarah Uslan’s Instagram accounts, where they revealed her style secrets.
Taking to Instagram, Sarah Uslan – a former assistant to make up founder Bobbi Brown- wrote: ‘Different QUEEN this year but just as fantastic’, before adding ‘Final touch ups with this Golden Globes nominee and downright amazing woman’, revealing the Pat MacGrath Labs make-up she used for her look.
Sarah revealed she had used the Pause Well-Aging face tool, a stimulating toner aimed at menopausal skin which aims to improve elasticity, before using Emma Hardie Plump and Glow facial mist.
Moving onto her make-up, Sarah prepped Olivia’s skin with the Pat McGrath Labs Skin Fetish: Sublime Perfection Primer, before using the brand’s Skin Fetish: Sublime Foundation in shades 4 and 5. The base was then set with the Skin Fetish: Sublime Perfection Powder in Light 1.
Completing the look, she applied the Pat MacGrath Labs’ PermaGel Ultra Glide Eye Pencil in XtremeBlack, which was ‘smudged on the upper lash line’, and then added a dark shade from the Mthrshp Sublime: Golden Opulence palette ‘for a soft smokey liner effect’.
Finally on the eyes, Sarah applied the FetishEyes Mascara, before moving onto the lips, which were plumped to perfection using the PermaGel Ultra Lip Pencil in Buff and the BlitzTrance lipstick in Full Fantasy.
Meanwhile hairstylist Marcus Francis gave her a new pixie cut for the night using Kevin Murphy products, and British fashion editor Miranda Almond styled her in a red puff sleeve Emilia Wickstead gown.
The British actress looked delighted as she was honoured for her role as Queen Elizabeth in The Crown, as she confessed that she had drunk too much ahead of making her acceptance speech.
‘I said I had money on this not happening, I feel like I’m living someone else’s life and I definitely think I’ve won someone else’s award.
‘Thank you so much. I’ve had the loveliest time doing this and to all my fellow nominees who are just marvellous.’
She added: ‘I don’t know what to say, I’ve already got a little bit boozy because I thought this wasn’t going to happen. Thank you completely sums it up.’
Olivia portrayed the Queen in the much-anticipated second season of The Crown, which was released last month.
Long live the queen indeed. Olivia Colman maintained her perfect Golden Globes record on Sunday, taking home Best TV Drama Actress for “The Crown.” The Oscar winner previously won for her supporting turn on the AMC limited series “The Night Manager” three years ago and for her eventual Oscar-winning performance in “The Favourite” last year.
While many stars have gone 2 for 2 at the Globes, including last year’s TV drama actress winner Sandra Oh (“Killing Eve”), it’s much more difficult to bat 1000 at three-plus nominations for acting (this excludes defunct Globes categories, like New Star of the Year and the Henrietta Award, that don’t have a project attached). Martin Landau also went 3 for 3, prevailing for the second season of “Mission: Impossible” in 1968 and then on the film side for his supporting performances in “Tucker: The Man and His Dream” (1988) and “Ed Wood” (1994), the latter of which earned him an Oscar.
Neither Colman nor Landau have anything on Rosalind Russell though. She converted all five of her nominations into wins: Best Actress for “Sister Kenny” (1946) and “Mourning Becomes Electra” (1947) (this was before the Globes split the race into genres), and Best Comedy/Musical Actress for “Auntie Mame” (1958), “A Majority of One” (1961) and “Gypsy” (1962).
Colman, whose “The Crown” predecessor Claire Foy also won this award three years ago — aka the same night Colman won for “The Night Manager — was in second place in our odds behind Jennifer Aniston (“The Morning Show”), who was aiming to become the first woman to win the drama and comedy/musical actress TV categories.
In third in our odds was Emmy champ Jodie Comer (“Killing Eve”), followed by Nicole Kidman (“Big Little Lies”) and “The Morning Show’s” Reese Witherspoon.
Landscapers comes from Sister – the same team behind massive 2019 hit Chernobyl – and will be helmed by Nebraska director Alexander Payne, with a script written by none other than Colman’s husband, Ed Sinclair.
The four-part limited series is inspired by real events and will focus on convicted killers Susan (Colman) and Christopher Edwards, a seemingly mild-mannered couple who were accused of murdering Susan’s parents and burying them in their garden.
Sky promises a “blackly comic, narratively playful true crime drama” which apparently follows extensive research into the case, including direct access to the accused.
Colman said, “I love Ed’s scripts, which is just as well as he cooks many of my meals. No, the truth is it’s quite rare to be desperate to play a part on the first reading of a script, but that was the case here. The writing is brave, but subtle and tender too – a joy for any actor.”
Sky Studios director of drama Cameron Roach added, “Ed’s scripts are a riveting and sensitive exploration of what could drive such an ordinary couple to commit murder and I’m delighted that Olivia Colman will bring Susan to life in what promises to be a compelling series.
“And after the success of the multi award-winning Chernobyl, we’re pleased to be working with Sister on another original drama inspired by true events.”
Further casting for the series has not yet been announced, but it will begin filming in 2020 and air on Sky Atlantic and NOW TV.
The Crown is back! The drama series, which follows the life of Queen Elizabeth II, comes back on November 17th on Netflix, with lots of news – including the planned changes in the cast. Claire Foy, who garnered significant acclaim for playing Elizabeth in her early years on the throne, leaves the post for Olivia Colman, who won the 2019 Best Actress Oscar for playing a different queen (Anne) in The Favourite and was a recent Emmy nominee for her role in Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s comedy Fleabag.
In season three, which focuses on 1964-1977, Queen Elizabeth II (Olivia Colman) and her family struggle to meet the challenges of a rapidly changing Britain. From cold war paranoia to the jet-set and space-age, the season follows the royals as they navigate the flamboyance of the swinging ’60s and the long hangover of the 1970s. Ever-present is the need to adapt to a new world, more liberated but also more turbulent.
On the show, Olivia Colman’s similarities to Queen Elizabeth are striking, as are those of Helena Bonham Carter to Princess Margaret. To uncover the secrets behind these transformations, L’Officiel spoke to Cate Hall, the makeup and hair designer for the series.
What was your initial reaction when you were called to work on this third season of The Crown?
It was obviously a dream come true. It’s the kind of thing I’ve always wanted to do, especially with reference to historical periods and with characters so real that they were part of contemporary British history. But I joined in to replace Ivana Primorac, which is incredible but also comes with a lot of pressure and anxiety.
What is the research, preparation, and attention to detail like in order to create the looks of the series? What was it like to dive into that?
I am very thorough with work and have always been a fan of The Crown just for that. So for me, actually, research is part of who I am and what I like to do. I had just had a baby, so I was on maternity leave and spent four months working part-time. The research was done while breastfeeding all night, so it was kind of crazy in the world of The Crown.
And specifically with Olivia’s work to become the queen in such a striking look…can you tell us how it went?
The most iconic element we know of the queen is the shape of her hair, which hasn’t changed for sixty years. So the most important thing was to establish the hair shape for the 1960s. The wig contains at least three or four different colors of real human hair, made by Alex Rouse. We had to take a lot of weight out of our hair to give it a kind of lightness over the previous period, because part of the character’s achievement is not just the obvious type, it’s the queen, but it’s how the queen behaved from 1964 to 1977 with as few fake devices as possible.
Now, talking about the wigs and their variety, are different wigs worn for different occasions, even for the same character, or are they the same?
We have repeated wigs for all the main characters because we depend so much on the schedule of the day. Sometimes the scene is rainy, and the wig is wet. To get it back takes time, so we always have some extra ones.
And roughly how many wigs would you say you worked on for this third season?
I did the math here and I think it was about 47. And that includes repeated wigs and partial wigs for backup terms.
What about Princess Margaret. How did you create her hair and style compared to Elizabeth?
Her hair and makeup really relate very well to the narrative in terms of her characters. Elizabeth is all about consistency, sameness, and reliability, and basically her hairstyle doesn’t really change. The type of development and change is very subtle. While Margaret was in fashion, she followed the arts and culture and changed her hairstyle and makeup regularly. So we were able to approach Helena’s character with a little more versatility and a little more variety.
How was it for you to work with Olivia Colman and create this new Elizabeth?
Magic! Olivia is extremely instinctive in her acting and she had absolute confidence in my work. To Olivia, it seems that this moment of makeup and hair is very valuable as a process for her to get into character.
And was Helena Bonham Carter like that too?
No. Helena is a very different actress. And it’s interesting because it’s fascinating, it’s one of the unique privileges of our role: watching actors transform into their characters. Helena had many opinions and ideas of things to try because she loves to get involved in everything. Margaret goes through a lot at this time and Helena was excited to transform, to test contact lenses, to test different wigs.
Is there any makeup, hair, or overall look that you are most proud of this third season?
Several! But I’m really proud of how Olivia has aged very subtly from beginning to end of the season. Suddenly, she is this much more mature queen in the 1970s.
Oscar-winning actresses, like royalty, normally require a certain protocol. There will be the entourage to manage, the punishing schedule to work around and a long wait before one is ushered into the Presence with a list of pre-vetted questions. Having spent most of the previous day immersing myself in an intriguing, very early cut of The Crown‘s third season, in which Olivia Colman steps into the Queen’s sensible pumps, I am expecting her to be a daunting combination of both Hollywood and Windsor. As a result, I almost miss her when she slides shyly into the foyer of the Ham Yard Hotel, a few minutes early, alone, and anonymous in jeans and trainers. ‘Oh gosh, I’m not wearing any make-up,’ she says, apologetically, when I introduce myself. ‘I thought I’d get here in time to put some on!’
Perhaps it isn’t so surprising that I don’t recognise her at first. Colman’s ability to embody different roles is unsurpassed, her range extraordinary. Having made the nation howl with laughter in Peep Show and Rev, she traumatised us with searing performances in ITV’s drama Broadchurch and the 2011 film Tyrannosaur, while the passive-aggressive stepmother she portrays in Fleabag somehow causes you to inhabit both states – laughter and distress– simultaneously. How does she do it?
‘The fierceness, the sadness, the darkness and despair that emerge in her work seem to issue from some other source, and make her gorgeous talent, whether it draws from real or imagined pain, undeniable,’ declares Meryl Streep, her co-star in The Iron Lady, when I email to ask. ‘I think she is one of our GREAT actresses, I felt so lucky to have worked with her; and I can’t wait to see where that antic, brave imagination takes us with the Queen. Because it will be imagined, as there is no more private, and hence mysterious, personage than Queen Elizabeth. But I am sure Olivia will lead with her heart and be guided by her unerring intuition and intelligence – and draw as accurate an essence as can be divined.’
While Colman put on more than two stone to play Queen Anne in The Favourite, the part for which she won her Academy Award for Best Actress this year, her genius is less to be found in imitating a character’s physicality and mannerisms than in mining their inner emotions. ‘The joy of playing that part was I got to be almost 15 people in one. Such extremes! That was so much fun!’
By contrast, I expect that her new role playing our current monarch, while highly anticipated by Streep and the rest of us, may well be the toughest of her career.
‘I don’t really enjoy research,’ Colman admits, as we chat over breakfast on the hotel’s roof terrace. ‘But for this, I have to accept it. I can’t just sit like me, I have to sit like her, and look like pictures of her. They have been teaching me how to walk – I’m really terrible at that, I have no physical awareness. I walk a bit like a farmer, one of the directors said.’
The voice was another challenge. ‘I thought that general“posh” would do it, but apparently not. Really unusual vowel sounds,’ she says. Like what? ‘Well, it’s not quite this, but if you’re saying “yes”, you say “ears”.’ She bursts out laughing. ‘It’s fun to do, isn’t it? Very hard to stop. Ears.’
Still harder for her, I would imagine, was perfecting the Queen’s all-but-unshakeable imperturbability, so beautifully embodied by Claire Foy, that offers barely a hint at the passions that maybe raging beneath. Colman, by contrast, seems to be lacking a protective layer of skin that has been granted to the rest of us. It is what makes her so compelling to watch on screen – you can see the emotions chase each other in succession across her mobile features – but can she play blank? ‘Claire was so brilliant at it that for the first few months, I just thought, “What would she do?” and I did that,’ agrees Colman, humbly. ‘I’m not very good at not moving my face.
‘There’s one episode where they tell the story of Aberfan –which, shamefully, I didn’t know – and it was so awful, tragic and harrowing, and I really struggled with it.’ (In 1966, a colliery spoil tip slid down a mountain onto a primary school in the Welsh village of Aberfan, killing 116 children and 28 adults. Famously, this appalling tragedy elicited one of the Queen’s rare public missteps, when she refused to visit for eight days, giving rise to public criticism. In 2002, she admitted that this was her ‘biggest regret’.)
‘So they gave me an earpiece and put on the Shipping Forecast and I just listened to that and pretended that was all that was going on,’ says Colman. Even so, watching the episode in question, I could clearly see her eyes welling up.
Colman’s middle-period Queen has fewer of the grand set-pieces of Foy’s reign – much of the drama and glamour goes to Princess Margaret, played by Helena Bonham Carter, who cavorts on Mustique with Roddy Llewellyn while her sister grapples with drearier issues such as Churchill’s funeral, Prince Philip’s mid-life crisis, Wilson’s resignation, the rise of Margaret Thatcher and the Falklands War… a period the monarch herself might have termed a ‘tempus horribilis’, perhaps?
Ironically, Colman’s own existence is a good deal more glamorous by comparison, right now at least, following her Oscar win this year. ‘I can’t register that it’s happened – it’s bonkers!’ she says, laughing in disbelief. ‘It’s in our sitting-room, on the sideboard, and we keep laughing at it. It looks fake, it’s so shiny. And it’s really heavy! I could do some amazing weightlifts.’
Watching again the moment when she was proclaimed the winner, I note with interest that she seems almost appalled to hear her name read out. ‘I was terrified, because I was going to have to say something in front of all these people,’ she acknowledges. ‘Ed [her husband] sent me a text saying, “Please, just think of these points,”but I was like, “It’s not going to happen, Eddie.” It feels unlucky to prepare something.’ Who did she expect to win? ‘Glenn Close. She was sitting right in the middle, wearing gold, so I thought she must know something.’ Prepared or not, Colman’s spontaneous, witty address was one of the highlights of the night, as, breathless and seemingly on the verge of tears, she sang the praises of her co-stars Rachel Weisz and Emma Stone– ‘the two loveliest women in the world to fall in love with’ – and then blew a raspberry at the continuity person telling her to wrap it up. She also declared that, even while she was working as a cleaner to make ends meet, she had dreamt of such a moment. ‘Everybody does, don’t they?’ she asks. ‘A bit?’
Born Sarah Olivia Colman, the daughter of a nurse and a chartered surveyor, she had a happy childhood in north Norfolk – itself, of course, a favourite Windsor stamping ground. ‘Well, they never came round our house,’ she jokes. She went to a girls’ school in Norwich, where she discovered her love for acting playing the title role in a production of The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie. ‘I was so shit at everything at school, but I did the play and thought, “Oh, I like this!” I actually had the urge to do the homework and learn the lines,’ she says. ‘I was quite a jolly kid, but not particularly confident, and suddenly being someone else was amazing. And I could do things as someone else that I could never have done as myself. But I didn’t know if I was allowed to be an actor. Nobody knew how to be in that world.’
Instead, she decided to apply to a teacher-training college inCambridge, and acted in university productions alongside David Mitchell and Robert Webb, who became her close friends. Realising that teaching would never be her métier, she supported herself working as a cleaner – ‘the job satisfaction was amazing!’ she declares with sincerity – and continued to perform, eventually winning a place at the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School. In her final term there, she was asked to attend an audition for a TV show, and arrived to find Mitchell and Webb waiting for her. ‘And then, they were basically responsible for all my work for years…’ she says.
This bouncy summary suggests that Colman’s rise to fame was unclouded by any of the issues highlighted by the Me Too and Time’s Up campaigns, but she is unexpectedly vehement on the subject. ‘I am thrilled that it’s happening, and I hope that it doesn’t lose momentum, and people don’t get bored of it,’ she says. ‘People are so used to the norm, and they don’t want to rock the boat – if you put your head above the parapet, you can be seen as difficult. And if a woman’s seen as difficult, then people don’t employ her. Deeply unfair…’
In her own case, she says, the discrimination was subtle yet nevertheless present. ‘I wasn’t preyed on in that way,’ she says, ‘but when you’re doing comedy, the girl never really gets the punchline… that sort of stuff, which is very annoying.
‘I loved being part of it all, and I sort of understood, because I hadn’t written it. But if I had, I’d have shared out the punchlines. At the time, I was just thrilled to be working with really great people; it’s only afterwards that you look back and go, “Oh, hopefully that will change.”’
We talk, too, about equal pay, in the light of the revelation last year that Foy was being paid less than Matt Smith, who played Prince Philip. Is Colman getting as much as her consort Tobias Menzies? ‘I bloody well hope so! It’s not called Philip, it’s called The Crown!’ she expostulates. Still, she admits a little ruefully, ‘as we know, there isn’t equal pay, so Oliver Colman has probably paid off his mortgage, but Olivia hasn’t. The idea is that you get an Oscar and suddenly – boom! You’re a multimillionaire! No –I definitely can’t complain, but I’m nowhere near the realm of paying everything off yet.’
Colman lives in south London with her husband, the writer Ed Sinclair, their three young children, aged between 13 and three, who are ‘deliciously uninterested’ in her work, and two dogs, Alfred Lord Waggyson and Pockets. She tries to keep her home life as normal as possible, and routinely refuses jobs that take her away for any length of time. ‘I get homesick. If it isn’t in the school holidays, so we can all go together, I don’t want to do it. I did a little film in Ohio for two weeks, and that was the longest I’ve been away from Ed in 25 years.’
But the accolades and leading roles have inevitably led to a loss of anonymity, which troubles her, despite the public’s huge and uncomplicated affection. ‘I’m very shy and private,’ she says. ‘I find it very, very difficult to be stared at.’ How does she cope? ‘I don’t go out! I find that fixes it. I was talking to a friend of mine who’s a therapist, and I said, “It’s fine, I just don’t leave the house any more.”As soon as I said it out loud, I realised it sounded quite weird,’ she admits. ‘It’s not what you expect, the other side of it.’
It was in a vain attempt to keep a lid on her ever-growing fame that when she was given a CBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list this year, she had it awarded in her married name, Sarah Sinclair. ‘I was thinking it would cause less fuss, and be nice and private,’ she says with a sigh, ‘but now everyone just knows my real name.’
Still, I say, trying to cheer her up, it might mean that she meets her alter ego in the flesh… ‘I imagine she has other stuff to do,’she says wryly. ‘I’m trying not to get my hopes up – but I really want it to be her.’ I bet the feeling is mutual.