“I seem to be incredibly low,” Helen McCrory complains, swivelling in her modish chair. In the arch-tones of a tabloid journalist, she declares: “Helen McCrory seems to have shrunk enormously since I last saw her. So it was no surprise when she told me she was starring in The Hobbit. I knew she was Welsh, but really?”
At a private members’ club, wolfing down breakfast, McCrory, 5ft 3in, looks like an angelic child rather than a woman of 44 who just happens to be married to Britain’s most desirable man – Damian Lewis, 42, the Emmy- and Golden Globe-winning star of Homeland. These days we see her on the red carpet, wearing slinky Marchesa frocks and De Beers diamonds. But McCrory seems enviably normal, with the actor’s gift of intimacy and silliness. In that deep, thespy voice she can segue from Chekhov to contact lenses, and make both sound equally thrilling.
In the past two years she has played a Cabinet minister in Skyfall, terrified as Narcissa Malfoy in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, and was hand-picked for Hugo, Martin Scorsese’s Oscar-winning children’s film. Oh, and she’s just received an Olivier Best Supporting Actress nomination for her role as a fortysomething daughter at odds with her ageing hippie mother, played by Julie Walters, in The National’s The Last of the Haussmans. It was a performance to make you howl and weep with recognition.
Continue reading Helen McCrory: ‘I used to think sexually charged roles were exploitative. Now I’m in my forties, I think it’s art’