Anne-Marie Duff: ‘I Hope Suffragette Is A Sign Of Things To Come’

In this month's Marie Claire we spoke to Suffragette star Anne-Marie Duff, who revealed what it was like working on the film, and spoke about her solid showbiz/so-not-showbiz marriage to James McAvoy

Anne-Marie Duff currently has three incredible roles across film, TV and theatre – but she doesn’t think this should be so extraordinary for an actress in her forties. She tells us: ‘We have to make that a positive. I remember [The Walking Dead actor] Lennie James’ brilliant response when somebody asked him about black characters not getting enough parts, and he said, ‘What I want to say to that is, “Fuck off. Ask the writers.”

‘But yeah, it is great that a woman in her forties is getting to play these roles. I hope it’s a sign of things to come. That conversation is getting louder and louder, and now Suffragette is coming out.’

Suffragette is a film very much driven by women – it was written by Abi Morgan and directed by Sarah Gavron. She says, ‘It’s exciting because the film industry doesn’t often encourage a female presence in production, and so perhaps that was needed to get this film made. I don’t imagine a lot of male directors would want to tell this story because it doesn’t resonate with them. But at the same time, I don’t want to be cowardly and say it’s a film in which women hate men. That would be such a cheap shot.’

Despite her success in the acting world, Anne-Marie originally dreamed of becoming a writer. When asked why she chose acting she says, ‘My husband [James McAvoy] thinks it’s hilarious how much I love my job. Of course he feels the same, and he’s a genius at it. But he doesn’t have the unhealthy obsession that I have. He teases me something rotten. I always get pissed off with actors who go, ‘Oh yeah, I mean you know, obviously one day I’m going to be a director…’ and I think, ‘Oh, shut up. This is a really good job!’’

Much is made of Duff and McAvoy being an ‘unshowy’ showbiz couple because of their working-class roots. She says, ‘There is an element of us being careful and remembering how lucky we are, which sounds terribly earnest, but I mean it in a way, like, it wouldn’t occur to James to go out and but a Ferrari. It wouldn’t occur to me to have a wardrobe full of designer clothes… but neither of us have a working class chip on our shoulder. We don’t feel like we have anything to prove.’

From Darkness starts on BBC One this month. Husbands And Sons opens at the National Theatre on 19 October.

Suffragette is out in cinemas now.

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