Helena Bonham Carter spent years trying to get away from her reputation as the queen of corsets, but she stepped back into period garb to play Queen Elizabeth, the wife of George VI and future Queen Mother, opposite Colin Firth in The King’s Speech. In person, she dresses more like Madonna circa Lucky Star, with a half-dozen silver chains slung around her neck and her nest of curls topped by a lopsided maroon bow. As she talked about her relationship with professional filmmaking oddball Tim Burton, her own arrested development and the Queen Mum’s acid wit, she negotiated a forest of drinking glasses filled with varicolored liquids on a nearby table (a penchant that earned her the nickname “Cups” from her “King’s” director Tom Hooper), pausing slightly to dispatch her mother to a nearby Duane Reade drugstore for vitamin supplements.
It’s tricky to play a figure as revered as the Queen Mother. You have to play her as an ordinary person but maintain an air of royalty, almost otherness. Playing her is a bit slippery because she’s so well loved and she’s so well known and she’s lasted for so long. She’s so ingrained in people’s heads. I don’t look like her, neither does Colin look like … [laughs] what’s-his-name. I went in search of her essence. It’s like finding the essence to a perfume. Something that’s recognizably her. She was a very complex character, but she would try and pass herself off as this charming, rather vague exterior — in a way, the archetypal woman. She played very low status. The head was always cocked, and she looked thoroughly sweet and cozy — which she wasn’t.
I have to say, I chucked to myself when I saw the title of this! :laughing: A rather…random interview with Helena about her role in The King’s Speech and Tim Burton. Enjoy!
Thanks to her many collaborations with her partner, Tim Burton, Helena Bonham Carter is now best known for eccentric, dark roles in such films as Sweeney Todd and Corpse Bride. However, as Emily Blunt noted after she starred in the royal drama The Young Victoria, “As an English actress, you have to don a bonnet at some point,” and this is Carter’s time to step into the House of Windsor: She currently stars in The King’s Speech as Queen Elizabeth, who encourages her husband, King George VI (Colin Firth), to overcome his devastating stutter when he has to make a public address announcing that England is declaring war on the advancing Nazis. We sat down with Carter, who was clad in anti-Queen chic (goth-goddess spiderweb tights, lace-up boots, black Anthropologie dress, and fingerless gloves) as she talked about balancing this queenly role with Harry Potter’s Bellatrix Lestrange, what Burton and Johnny Depp talk about that she just doesn’t get, and why Brits aren’t as fascinated by the royal family as Americans think they are.
You shot The King’s Speech simultaneously with Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, didn’t you? On set for one of them one day, the other the next?
It was funny, my son would ask, “Do you have to play the witch or the queen tomorrow?” so that pretty much summed it up. It was interesting because Harry Potter is quite slow as a process, so I had a lot of down time. I was reading William Shawcross’s biography of the Queen Mother, dressed in my witch outfit! And you know what? It was a really good mix; it was a therapeutic mix.
The official UK poster of Helena’s upcoming film, The King’s Speech has just been released and it’s much better than the US poster! Unfortunately Helena doesn’t feature on the poster, but it is still a beautiful poster, nonetheless. View the poster below!
Helena’s upcoming film, The King’s Speech has received a strong reaction from the Academy, The Wrap reports.
“The audience loved the film … It played as well as anything I have seen this year,” reported one Academy member who attended the screening at the 1,000-seat Samuel Goldwyn theater, which the member estimated was 85 percent full. Another person in attendance said that the credits brought “lots of applause” for director Hooper and stars Colin Firth, Geoffrey Rush, Helena Bonham Carter, Guy Pearce and others, plus “solid applause for the writer, cinematographer, costumes, all down the line.”
A short but sweet article about Helena’s time on the set of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.
In deference to those who’d like to remain spoiler free, let’s just say Helena Bonham Carter certainly leaves her mark as the diabolically dark witch Bellatrix Lestrange in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows — Part 1. But the actress, who already terrorized young audiences this year as the Red Queen in Alice in Wonderland, wasn’t originally supposed to play Bellatrix. Helen McCrory (The Queen) originally had the part for 2007′s Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, but had to bow out after she got pregnant. “So they came to me,” says Bonham Carter. “And I loved it. I love magic, I love witches, I love the whole [Harry Potter] world. I was all too happy to play a witch.” (McCrory was eventually cast as Bellatrix’s sister Narcissa Malfoy for Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince and the two Deathly Hallows films.) So how did Bonham Carter bring one of Harry Potter’s biggest enemies on screen? When she first showed up on set for the fifth Harry Potter film, “There wasn’t a huge amount on the page originally,” says the actress, 44. “I think I probably made her a bit more insane and unhinged then she was meant to be. I wanted to be conspicuous. So the [rotten] teeth was my idea, because she had been in prison so long. I wanted her to be quite savage. And I wanted that corset. It was sort of an Amazon thing. Bellatrix means a warrior. I wanted her to be sexy and revolting at the same time. At one point she might have been attractive, but no longer.” Most important of all: Bellatrix’s dense thatch of hair. “Here’s the thing: If you have messy hair, you don’t have to worry all the time about making it all perfect. It was a lot to do with keeping [all the hair and makeup people] away.” Of course, playing one of Voldemort’s most eager minions wasn’t just about the look; you also had to get the magic right. “We went to wand school for about three weeks,” Bonham Carter says of herself and her fellow Death Eaters. “We took it very very seriously. I actually got a wand blister on the [middle] finger. They kind of had different names for all the different moves, Latin ones. It was sort of based on fencing. You also always have to have an intention behind the spell. You just feel totally emasculated on set when you’re waving a bit a wood around and nothing’s coming from it. It’s very difficult to remember that you’ve actually got the intention to kill behind it. It’s not all fun and laughs; it’s actually quite hard work.” So when Bonham Carter got to cast a spell as Bellatrix actually setting Hagrid’s hut ablaze in The Half-Blood Prince, the chance to get to see the fruits of her magical labor with her own eyes was, according to Bonham Carter, quite like a rather popular iPhone game about a pack of furious fowls. “I actually pointed my wand and it blew up! The power! The power was just like Angry Birds, but big [as] life.” Naturally.
Source: Entertainment Weekly
ComingSoon.net sat down with Helena for a fairly brisk and casual interview with her lounging on the couch before a day of TV interviews, and they were able to cover a lot of ground including her working relationship with Tim and whether she might appear in one of his upcoming projects. Read one question below, and click [full-link]here[/full-link] for the rest of the interview! :laughing:
ComingSoon.net: How were you approached to play…
Helena Bonham Carter: The Queen Mum? Tom asked me to do it. He sent it to me, pretty certain, and I said, “Wow, great part for the boys.” (laughs) But I did think she was written with great wit and dryness, but I did have other obligations and duties, because I was doing “Harry Potter” at the same time, so I did say, “No.” It’s kind of like the Queen Mum turned Bertie’s marriage proposal down twice and the third time she accepted, and that was kind of like me and Tom really. I kept saying “No.” In fact, I don’t think I said “Yes” but I ended up on the set, dressed as the Queen Mum. Continue Reading…
Helena has revealed that she took a huge risk taking on the role as the Queen Mother in her upcoming film The King’s Speech as she was still contracted to play Bellatrix Lestrange in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, a predicament that could have ‘brought down’ the film that is now a front runner for the Oscars next year. When Tom Hooper, the director, asked her to play Queen Elizabeth in the film she initially turned it down; “Tom asked me to do it… but I did have other obligations and duties, because I was doing Harry Potter at the same time, so I did say, ‘No’… I kept saying ‘No’. In fact, I don’t think I said ‘Yes’ but I ended up on the set, dressed as the Queen Mum…”. She admitted that it was risky as the Deathly Hallows team could have called her away from the set at any time, and she’d be legally obliged to comply: “You know what they did? It was completely illegal and really quite risky. In fact, fantastically risky. Harry Potter never released me. They said ‘Even if you work on weekends, we get first choice’, so potentially, I could have brought down The King’s Speech.”> You can read an interview with Helena in Jamie’s post above.
Source: Contact Music