Romola Garai interview

Brit actress Romola Garai takes on her biggest role to date in new movie Angel

Gaining an increasing profile in the UK after roles in Atonement and Amazing Grace, Romola Garai, 26, returns to the big screen with Angel. Her biggest role to date she plays Angel Deverell, an eccentric romantic novelist living in Edwardian-era England.

How did you feel playing a character as ghastly as Angel?

I have to say, for me, the prospect of playing a character who is very beautiful and doesn’t really have any flaws is much more intimidating for a performer. You have to think – am I being as lovely and blank as you need me to be in this part? And with Angel, I could be as grotesque and ugly and real as I liked.

In an odd way, Angel reminds me of Matt Lucas’ character, the monstrous Bubble, from Little Britain. Did you see that?

Not directly, but now you say it, we obviously went on the same journey together!

Do you expect Angel to give your profile a boost?

I don’t know. I suppose ‘yes’ in one way, because it’s an important director [Francois Ozon] and it’s validating for an actress. On the other hand, it’s a strange film. I don’t know what director would watch this movie and go, ‘She’d be perfect.’ It’s a very specific kind of performance and it’s a very over-the-top performance. I may never work again!

How do you feel about success and getting more famous?

I don’t really crave success and I don’t think I’d handle it very well. I haven’t really had to experience it, but I can’t imagine I’d enjoy it much.

Do you mind people comparing you to the likes of Kate Winslet and Keira Knightley?

People are always going to make those comparisons.  Maybe not Kate Winslet, because she’s much more successful and probably four years older than me, and Keira is obviously much more successful than me in terms of her career as well! But in some ways, they’re people who have careers I would be aspiring to follow, and so those kinds of comparisons are always flattering. So I don’t mind them at all.

Angel opens on 29 August.

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