SPIEGEL ONLINE: Ms. Colman, last year you were voted the most powerful personality on British television. What do such attributions mean to you?
Colman: I have no idea what that means! If I was really the most powerful person in the telly, then I would definitely not have to work on the weekend - or beyond 17 clock. I have to. So ... ...
SPIEGEL ONLINE: Suppose you have an influential office. What would you do if you had power?
Colman: I would demand equal casting: man, woman, man, woman - across all areas, especially behind the camera. I would like to change that in my industry, television and cinema. Thankfully, it's already changing. Although slow.
SPIEGEL ONLINE: How could you practically achieve more equal rights?
Colman: I would find it interesting if screenplays were sent under neutral names. So many women start as authors, but then drop their careers because their scripts are rejected, in favor of men. I wonder if the result would not be much more balanced when doing a kind of blind test. It would be worth a try.
SPIEGEL ONLINE: In the film "The Favorite" (read our film review here) you play Queen Anne, soon for the second time in her career Queen Elizabeth II. Do you consciously choose Regentinnen roles?
Colman: No, I do not really, they ... just show up. And so far these roles have been the most interesting. On "The Favorite", Yorgos ( Lanthimos, the director ) sent me the script. I read it - and quite frankly, I would not have been quite right in mind if I had declined to play that role. That being said, I do not always have five projects on the table to choose from. "The Favorite" was there, and that was exactly what I wanted to do.
SPIEGEL ONLINE: How difficult was it for the film to transform into the numerous mental and physical afflictions plagued Queen Anne?
7 pictures"The Favorite": pineapple and rumors
Colman: Oh yes, Queen Anne was a real heavyweight. I had to spend a lot of pounds to fill out the costumes - and also to match their curves on the face. Which was more fun than getting rid of all the stuff afterwards. I am all the happier to see this effort on the screen.
SPIEGEL ONLINE: How big is your respect for a historical role? Did you know about Queen Anne and her precarious constitution?
Colman: No, I did not know anything about her. I got a rough historical overview, the rest came from the script, it was all there. Especially the grotesque, that sounded like a lot of fun. Of course, it was also helpful that it is not a classic historical drama, but dirty, garish and disrespectful in its approach. And then it was really just about getting completely involved in this character. If there are things that I regret in my career so far, then it is only those in which I was not with body and soul. Only when you really completely give yourself over to the character you are playing is nothing embarrassing anymore.
SPIEGEL ONLINE: Is it easy for you to immerse yourself in the emotional world of your characters?
Colman: Well, as you surely know, my feelings are always very open anyway ...
SPIEGEL ONLINE: You mean, because your tendency to emotional outbreak is already legendary? It is said that you could cry at any time at the push of a button - or laugh out loud with a snort.
"The Favorite" movie trailer:
20th Century Fox
Colman: Well. In fact, it is a lot of fun to bathe in feelings uninhibitedly when the characters offer it. It has something cathartic and it is very easy for me. For me it is much harder to hide feelings.
SPIEGEL ONLINE: So, is the part of the eternally controlled, emotionally thrifty Queen Elizabeth in "The Crown" maybe the biggest challenge for you?
Colman: The Queen has been trained from an early age to be a rock for the whole country. Normally I start crying right away when my character has to say something sad, so you can say that I'm not necessarily predestined for this part. That's going to be hard. Let's see how it works. If necessary, they only have to film from the back of my mind the whole time.
The interview with Olivia Colman took place last September at the Venice Film Festival on the occasion of the world premiere of "The Favorite".