Considering the intense security I had to wade my way through recently to visit Helena Bonham Carter at her Manhattan hotel, for a few moments it actually did feel like I might be visiting the Queen of England. (As it turned out, it was just the Israeli Prime Minister’s security detail.) Alas, no — just screen royalty, as proven in her latest effort, The King’s Speech.
The film features Carter as Queen Elizabeth, though to hear her tell it, she would have rather have played Elizabeth’s husband George VI — the King of England who, in the early years of World War II, trains with a speech therapist in order to lose a nasty stammer that’s plagued most of his life. Of course, that part went to Colin Firth, and Carter took a role she admits could, on paper, be considered thankless. A little more than a year later, she’s on her way to her second Oscar nomination. Movieline spoke to Carter about playing a historical figure who only died eight years ago, landing the role as Sonny Crockett’s girlfriend on Miami Vice and her infamous line that was cut from Fight Club.
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.
Finally, someone else has picked up on a fact that we’ve clearly all known for ages – Helena is one of the best dressed celebrities out there! Vanity Fair magazine has named Helena as one of the magazine’s best dressed celebs – much to the amusement of the lady herself! :laughing: Thanks to Ste for posting the link.
HELENA BONHAM CARTER burst into laughter when she learned she had been named as one of Vanity Fair magazine’s best dressed celebrities – because editors lauded the British actress for the same outfits critics had previously savaged her for.The Alice In Wonderland star’s quirky sense of style frequently hits headlines for all the wrong reasons, so she was stunned when she discovered her wardrobe choices had earned her praise from the top fashion publication, placing her alongside Lady Gaga and Dior designer John Galliano.She tells the New York Daily News, “It was a triumph! It made me laugh because I thought it was a joke when I found out. But when I saw the article, I thought, ‘Oh, the photos they’ve chosen are as bad as the ones they print when I’m worst dressed.”But Bonham Carter, 44, insists she won’t be changing her ways as she grows older: “I don’t feel any pressure to dress well. When I was younger, I cared more what people say. When I did do the Oscar thing, I did feel quite a lot of pressure to dress a certain way.”
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 is the narrator for a new interactive children’s book app for the iPad and iPhone. I’ve been looking around for information on it, so far I’ve come across their Facebook page with some information about the app which will be available from the iTunes store in December. You can watch a short preview video below:
The 38th International Emmy Awards Gala were held last night at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in New York, and as we all know, Helena was nominated for the Best Performance by an Actress award, for her performance as Enid Blyton in the biopic, Enid.
The bad news is that Helena didn’t attend the awards, so unfortunately we have no pictures to add of her there, but the good news is… she won! Congrats to Helena on winning the award!
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.
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