Last call for those Princess Mar­garet ques­tions for The Crown’s Vanessa Kirby; on-set with your next detective-drama ob­ses­sion; St. Vin­cent brings the con­tro­versy.

Vanessa Kirby is pretty heart­bro­ken about leav­ing The Crown.

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to marry Tom Cruise, de­spite what you may have read re­cently. The 29-year-old is not even dat­ing her 55-year-old Mis­sion: Im­pos­si­ble 6 co-star, al­though those ru­mours have been around since the spring, when pa­parazzi shots emerged of the pair “puck­er­ing up” in Paris— for a scene in the movie. In fact, the tabloid tit­tle-tat­tle came as a sur­prise to Kirby (and her BF of three years) since it all started be­fore she’d even met Cruise. h

“It was very strange,” re­calls Kirby over the phone. “It was this whole other world. I have so much sym­pa­thy for peo­ple who have end­less sto­ries writ­ten about them that just aren’t true. The only good thing to come out of it is that now my friends don’t be­lieve any­thing they read in those crap gos­sipy things.” She says that it all just made her laugh­(“it was hi­laaaar­i­ous”), but she also ad­mits there’s a cathar­sis in clear­ing up mis­in­for­ma­tion. “It’s a very weird time we’re liv­ing in, where we be­lieve a lot of lies—I think ev­ery­one can re­late to that in the world at the mo­ment; it feels good to talk about it be­cause it feels like some­one is telling the truth,” re­flects the Brit, whose real-life voice is only half a rung down the so­cial lad­der from the plummy tones of the princess she plays on Net­flix’s The Crown. (Another al­most par­al­lel? Kirby’s bizarre brush with fame echoes that of her char­ac­ter Mar­garet’s “in­va­sive” hound­ing by the 1950s press, which Kirby calls a “pre­cur­sor to Diana.”)

The Emmy Award-win­ning show is back on De­cem­ber 8, and just in case you missed its much-raved-about first sea­son, it’s a soapy-but-in-a-so­phis­ti­cated-way telling of the true story of the House of Wind­sor—a.k.a. the stuff about Queen El­iz­a­beth, her sis­ter, Mar­garet, Prince Philip et al. that you can’t glean from of­fi­cial walk­a­bout pic­tures. Our chat with Kirby is part of her farewell tour for the show: She and her co-stars Claire Foy and Matt Smith will be re­placed by other ac­tors in the third sea­son. Is it true you’re done now be­cause the show is leap­ing for­ward and they don’t think you can play an older Princess Mar­garet? “Yeah. I was very sad to say good­bye to Mar­garet. They put some names by me [of ac­tresses to take up her torch] and I was just like, ‘Me! How about me?’” What was that fi­nal day on-set like? “I cried the last time I took off Mar­garet’s wig. I wanted to take it home! We thought we would have reshoots, so my makeup artist for the show, Gemma Hoff, and I were like, ‘This isn’t the last time!’ But then we didn’t need any reshoots.” Was there any­thing odd about be­ing on a show where you kind of know what hap­pens be­cause it’s based on real events? “I didn’t read any of the his­tory past 1955 be­cause I knew where she ended up and I didn’t want to play the end­ing. I was aware that she be­came quite dra­co­nian—dif­fi­cult, en­ti­tled, rude—and drank quite a lot. I had to for­get that and play the girl who be­came that woman.” This sea­son finds Mar­garet in a dark place: Un­able to marry her first love, Cap­tain Peter Townsend, she is briefly en­gaged to a friend and then breaks that off. There’s an in­tense scene im­me­di­ately after­wards where she’s drunk in her bed­room lis­ten­ing to jazz.... “I trashed that room! I got bad whiplash be­cause I was do­ing weird things. Mar­garet was a per­son who would have these ‘dark nights of the soul’ and have ex­is­ten­tial pain in a way that [her sis­ter] wouldn’t—El­iz­a­beth would just turn off the lights and go to sleep. The script for that scene said ‘Mar­garet does a melan­choly dance,’ but I re­ally wanted to push it.” What is a “melan­choly dance” any­way? “I didn’t know how to in­ter­pret that un­til the day. We had a bril­liant move­ment coach; I wasn’t re­ally sure I needed her to be­gin with, but she was es­sen­tial. She’d shout things at me in the mid­dle of it. It’s so rare to play a char­ac­ter like this who has such a great range of feel­ing. When she’s happy, she’s ec­static; when she’s down, she’s very low. I had doubts about whether I was be­ing too over-the-top, but then I be­gan to trust that that’s who Mar­garet is.” It’s not a spoiler to say this (be­cause it’s his­tory), but this sea­son Mar­garet meets the man she ul­ti­mately mar­ries: Tony Arm­strong-Jones. “Matthew Goode [who plays Tony] is magic! We laughed morn­ing ’til night. We had a plan to go on a night out to all of the clubs that Mar­garet and Tony went to, but we ended up just stay­ing in one pub, so that didn’t ma­te­ri­al­ize. We spent a lot of time work­ing out the dy­nam­ics of their re­la­tion­ship—why they were drawn to each other like moths to a flame.” Tony is this bo­hemian pho­tog­ra­pher type—the po­lar op­posite of any­one Mar­garet has ever been in­volved with. “He’s a match for her. He can ac­tu­ally in­tim­i­date Mar­garet, and no­body else can do that—not her sis­ter, not her mum, not Peter Townsend.” There’s al­most an an­tag­o­nism to their re­la­tion­ship. “This isn’t a love story. It isn’t Romeo and Juliet. I had this ide­al­is­tic view, be­cause I wanted that so badly for Mar­garet, but I re­al­ized that she has this huge wound that still hasn’t healed, and you see that in Tony too. Each is as lost as the other. They’re cling­ing to each other for rea­sons that aren’t about a pure love. That’s so fun to play, and I’m so jeal­ous of the ac­tress in sea­sons three and four be­cause it will re­ally go into de­struc­tive dys­func­tion. I wanted to smash a few plates!” Now that it’s all over, what en­dur­ing mem­ory will you have of mak­ing TheCrown? “Desert Is­land Discs is a ra­dio pro­gram at home where peo­ple come on and talk about their lives and play their favourite songs. Mar­garet ac­tu­ally did one. I used to come into the makeup room in the morn­ing, and I’d play all of her mu­sic so loud, dom­i­nate the space com­pletely. Claire, Matt and I would dance and sing, and Gemma would tell me to sit down and stop wig­gling. The fam­ily el­e­ment to it all was so spe­cial. It was so full of joy and love—a beau­ti­ful gift of a life­time, re­ally.” n


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