Helena was recently interviewed by Architectural Digest about Howards End, Alice in Wonderland, and her home.
Has a house ever stirred up so much drama as the one in Howards End? (Downton Abbey notwithstanding.) The wealthy Wilcox family’s stately English countryside cottage—as depicted in the Academy Award–winning 1992 Merchant Ivory film and the 1910 E. M. Forster novel on which it was based—is, understandably, the object of everyone’s desire. But there’s more at play in Howards End than mere aesthetics: The question of who will inherit the house becomes a commentary on Britain’s evolving class system. The newly restored film, which is being rereleased in New York today (and in Los Angeles on September 2), is also just plain gorgeous to behold. Helena Bonham Carter’s performance as bohemian sister Helen Schlegel is equally admirable. AD spoke with the actress—who called in from a park bench in England—about everything from her memories of making the movie to her own fantastical home. Here’s what she had to say.
Does the movie still resonate with you today? I think it’s a classic. The definition of a classic is that it has something to say in every age. There are things that don’t change in humanity—the lack of tolerance, the class disparity—so the central messages remain true. Of course, the one thing that makes it connect, and that is so fundamental to remember, is that despite any divide, we’re all so fundamentally similar. I should read the book again.