Chicago Tribune Interview

Helena recently sat down with Dean Richards from the Chicago Tribune and chatted about her upcoming film, The King’s Speech and her performance as Bellatrix Lestrange in the Harry Potter films. It’s a very short interview, but you can read a segment below and the whole interview via the link beneath it!

Q: How much fun did you have creating the wonderful Bellatrix from Harry Potter?
A: Yes, that was fun … really fun because I got complete license to be really naughty. I kind of played her like a psychotic child, and I just thought I could get away with murder — literally. She’s kind of exhausting though because she’s so loud and screamy. I was such an externalized tantrum in Harry and then an internalized and more restrained queen for The King’s Speech. And I played another queen, the Red Queen, in Alice. I just do queens and witches now; big-headed and normal-size head queens. That’s my range.

Q: On the surface, the premise of a man (King George VI at the start of World War II) working with his speech therapist, trying to help him overcome a stutter, doesn’t seem that compelling, but when you watch this story, it’s incredibly moving.
A: It’s not just overcoming the stammering; it’s a story of a real male friendship, apart from the fact that it’s about a very famous period in history, but from a completely different angle. The abdication of Edward running off with Wallis Simpson, leaving his brother to be king when he really wasn’t equipped to be king — and to not only be king but lead the whole country through a world war — is amazing. It’s got the intimacy with just these two human beings. It’s all about Geoffrey Rush’s part as Lionel Logue, who was his speech therapist, and Colin as Bertie (King George), the king and the journey of their relationship and how somebody can fundamentally help another human being out of a deep hole. There’s the story of a man confronted with fear. I mean, you wouldn’t be alive or human without being intensely frightened of experiencing terror at anytime in your life. It’s about him facing it and trying to get through it.

Q: Did you get any help from the royal family in the portrayal?
A: No.

Q: Playing Elizabeth, the current queen’s mother, must have been daunting because we all have an image of who she is, but as an older woman.
A: I know. Everyone has an image of her in their heads, not when she was in her 30s but still, it’s the same woman. I didn’t really look like her. We tried the contact lenses, we tried bad teeth, I ate a lot. … I mean, God bless her, she was a woman not known for her sveltelike figure. She had amazing grace and was a really complex, interesting and clever woman. It was like making a perfume of somebody; you capture a kind of essence that’s recognizable. If you noticed, I was eating throughout the filming. I was kind of tired when we were making this because I was also working on Harry Potter.

Q: How much fun did you have creating the wonderful Bellatrix from Harry Potter?
A: Yes, that was fun … really fun because I got complete license to be really naughty. I kind of played her like a psychotic child, and I just thought I could get away with murder — literally. She’s kind of exhausting though because she’s so loud and screamy. I was such an externalized tantrum in Harry and then an internalized and more restrained queen for The King’s Speech. And I played another queen, the Red Queen, in Alice. I just do queens and witches now; big-headed and normal-size head queens. That’s my range.

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