Olivia Colman Interview
Olivia Colman Interview
What are your early memories of watching good television, good theatre or good cinema?

Olivia Colman

I remember going to see a school play of Metamorphosis, Kafka. I must have been fourteen or so - and watching these – I think they're amazing anyway but - sixth formers doing Stephen Berkoff's Metamorphosis and just sobbing, you know, watching a school play. And I was thinking, 'God, when you see it live and it's that good, it can't be touched, really, it's amazing.' And then coming to London to the RSC and there was a production of Twelfth Night and sobbing again and standing up and clapping ... And I wanted to do this, if you could do it that well, how wonderful to earn your keep doing that.
What kind of preparation did you do for Tyrannosaur?

Olivia Colman

Mainly I went to meet some lovely women who work at Refuge. And I assumed I might be able to meet some women and talk, but once I was given some of the case studies, I realised I wouldn't be able to meet them because I don't think I would be very brave. And I think I'd probably cry. And that's exactly what they don't want. They don't want to see someone crying at their miseries. So I just read the case studies and what was already written down was so strong and so beautiful. So with that in the back of my mind - and I've been very fortunate, I've loved and I love my husband and the thought of him turning on me is enough to make you – you can tap into it straight away.
What was the hardest scene to film?

Olivia Colman

Weirdly, the hardest scenes were the scenes we'd already filmed for the short. Purely from a technical point of view, it felt like we'd said it before and it felt a bit stilted and quite hard to do. And Peter said the same thing. So I was worried that it looked not very natural, but hopefully you don't notice. And weirdly, the whole shoot was a very comfortable, safe one. It didn't ever feel terribly difficult because Paddy made sure you felt safe and Eddie, who had to do the hardest scenes with me – he and I know each other and straight afterwards, the moment he says “Cut”, he's like [drops into note-perfect Eddie Marsan impression], “Alright? You alright? Sorry about that!”
That was a really good Eddie Marsan impression!

Olivia Colman

Ahhh. Thanks!
Was Paddy's direction different because he comes from acting?

Olivia Colman

Yes. I think, yes, it really did make a difference. And he's such a gentleman and particularly he wanted to make me feel safe, because he knew I felt sort of like a fish out of water.
Once I was given some of the case studies, I realised I wouldn't be able to meet them because I think I'd probably cry...
Why would you be a fish out of water?

Olivia Colman

Well, just because I didn't want to let him down. He was giving me a big, big dramatic role. Although I kind of believed I could do it. No-one else had seen it before, so I didn't want him to have made the wrong decision. He was always sitting very close by, so all the difficult scenes, he might have been sitting there [indicates space very close by] with them in the monitor, he was there all the time and made you feel very confident.
Did he give you any indication of what he'd seen in you that made him think you were right for the role when he cast you in the short?

Olivia Colman

Well, the last time we had to do a Q&A in London, someone asked that and he said [drops into note-perfect Paddy Considine impression], “She was so nice that I thought there's got to be some darkness there somewhere ...”
Is there?

Olivia Colman

Erm, no, not really.
Did you find it intimidating working with Peter Mullan and Meryl Streep [on The Iron Lady]?

Olivia Colman

Well, the thing I am slowly working out, that the bigger the star, the sweeter they are. They've got no ego, there's nothing to prove and within seconds, it dissipates, you don't feel like you're in the presence of something demigod like. The people who are harder to befriend and be close with [are the ones who] feel like they should have got further, do you know what I mean? But Meryl Streep was the sweetest woman in the world. Within seconds you realise she's a funny woman, she's a mummy, she's very close to giggles at all times. She was hilarious. She's lovely to work with and incredibly supportive. You know, watching Meryl squeeze herself behind the cameras so that she can give you the off-lines – I assumed maybe she'd get somebody else to do it, but no, she's very present, she's brilliant.

And Peter is one of the most generous actors I've ever worked with. There was one scene which was cut from the film, actually – my character, he wanted to make me laugh. And he wanted to make sure that I got a spontaneous snort of a laugh, so he was doing a comedy routine that no-one would see. He was behind the camera, he was dancing around and telling hilarious jokes. He was just brilliant and it was never going to be seen, the work he was putting in.
Related Links

Most Read Today

image
01 Vodafone Warriors 2011 Season Preview

What can Warriors fans look forward to in 2011?

image
02 Zack Snyder Interview

Zack Snyder talks about his latest film Sucker Pun...

image
03 Auckland's Best Outlet Shops

We check out the five best spots for outlet shoppi...

image
04 Mads Mikkelsen Interview

Danish actor Mads Mikkelsen talks about his role i...

image
05 Auckland's Best Malls

Check out our picks of the top five malls in Auckl...

Content updated: 25/08/2019 04:56

Latest Features

View's guide to what's hitting the big screen this month.
View's guide to what's hitting the big screen this month.
View's guide to what's hitting the big screen this month.
View's guide to what's hitting the big screen this month.

Engage

Connect

Hitwise Award Winner