Whether Acting in Chekhov on Stage or a Bond film, the Star – Who Has Died Aged 52 – Was Incredibly Exciting to Watch, Remembers the Skyfall Director
by Sam Mendes | The Guardian | April 18, 2021
When I was directing Uncle Vanya and Twelfth Night as my final productions as artistic director of the Donmar in 2002, I asked Helen to play the role of Sonya in Uncle Vanya. Word came back that she would love to have a chat about it. She strode into my office, sat on the sofa and immediately told me I had it all wrong. She told me she should be playing Yelena – the other young female role – and then proceeded to spend the next hour telling me exactly why. She left the room with the part. This has never happened to me before or since. All I can say by way of explanation is that it just felt inevitable. She was clearly already half way to giving a superb performance, I simply had to get out of the way and let her complete the job. Which, of course, she did – with utter brilliance.