Claire I Refuse to Believe All Women Aren’t Strong’
She’ s been something of an overnight success, but claire foy is keeping her feet firmly planted on the ground
Two years ago, Claire Foy was a jobbing actress whose greatest claim to fame was a six-episode arc as Anne Boleyn in BBC’S Wolf Hall. It would take another queen to change it all.
Landing the role of the young Queen Elizabeth II in Netflix’s The Crown, the 33-year-old Mancunian has since become the toast of Hollywood. It’s all thanks to her searing portrayal as the beloved royal, winning this year’s Golden Globe for Best Actress in a Television Drama, while juggling motherhood to two-year-old Sophia. And Claire is reaping the rewards. Reports are suggesting the actress has snagged the highly contested role of Lisbeth Salander in the reboot of The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo. Before that, she’ll star alongside Ryan Gosling in Neil Armstrong biopic First Man. ‘I can think of worse colleagues to have on a job,’ she says, laughing.
Promoting her latest role as Diana Cavendish, the devoted wife of Robin Cavendish [Andrew Garfield], an advocate for the disabled, in obvious awards bait Breathe (out now), Claire admits it’s still all very new and life as she knows it has remained relatively unchanged.
Hi Claire. Have you received any insights into the lives of full-time carers as a result of your latest role in Breathe? Yes. I played a character in Little Dorrit 11 years ago and I couldn’t get my head around the fact that she was entirely devoted to her father and that, even though she could leave, she didn’t. The only way I could understand that was by looking at carers. I admire anyone who can do that, but I admire someone like Diana, who saw the significance of what she was doing and underplayed it. You’ve had a very successful few years… Yes, I’ve been given lots of amazing opportunities. I’ve always enjoyed working and I’ve always loved what I do. It’s amazing. I feel very lucky. Is it hard to deal with the attention? I don’t, that’s the thing. I walked here. There are certain things I really have to get my head around and have a word with myself about and think about and understand, but essentially, no. Have you changed? People’s perceptions of you change. You’ve done something that people think is good, that you’re worthy of these parts. And I’m like, well actually, 18 months ago, I was doing the same acting that I’m doing now and no one really thought I was. So I just have to remember that. You must check and balance yourself all the time. Can you remember what it’s like to be a struggling actor? I feel like I continue to struggle. I really don’t feel like I’ve reached this plateau. I don’t think that ever happens. I had a child two and a half years ago. My life has not stopped since that point and all the parents I speak to just talk about the fact that suddenly their child’s 25 and they don’t know what the f**k they’ve been doing for the past 25 years – apart from wanting more sleep. It just seems that’s all anyone ever wants. I think ultimately it’s really important to remember where you’ve come from, but at the same time you can’t let that define the rest of your life. What did you discover about yourself after becoming a mum? Oh God, all sorts of things I didn’t want to know. I see myself doing things, making decisions, talking in a particular way and I’m like: ‘Who are you?’. I’ve realised I don’t want to inflict myself on my child. I want to be a positive influence. That’s why it’s the hardest thing you’ll ever do. You’ve played many strong women, but would you like to do a rom-com? I refuse to believe that all woman aren’t strong. I wouldn’t say I’d do anything, but my aim in life is not just to do this because I’m here. I want to keep myself interested and I don’t ever want to get complacent, I don’t ever want to take it for granted. So by doing that I just want to play all sorts. Obvs, we’re gutted you’re leaving The Crown – why do you think we’re all so obsessed with it? It’s not [because it’s] royal, it’s British drama. The Crown, to me anyway, was very original in the sense that it wasn’t attempting to put these people on a pedestal – it was very much about them as people and what on earth being royal does to you. Do you ever imagine the Queen sitting watching the show? I can’t think of anything worse than imagining that. I mean as a fantasy, yes of course. It’s hilarious. But you could imagine anyone. I could imagine George Clooney watching it. And I don’t know who I’d spend my time imagining more. That’s a toss-up.
The last two years have been a chaotic whirlwind
A scene from new film Breathe
Claire in The Crown with Matt Smith as Prince Philip