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Sunday Herald Sun - Stellar - - Front Page -

ut all that is be­hind her now – and Foy tells Stel­lar she is happy to hand over the frocks and furs to Olivia Col­man, who will play the Queen from Sea­son 3. “I am very proud I was part of it and I feel very, very lucky,” Foy says. “It’s so lovely to have been act­ing for 10 years, then to be in some­thing that peo­ple en­joyed, watched and were moved by. That’s a once-in-a-blue­moon kind of thing in my job.”

She pauses: “But I have said good­bye to that part, as you do to ev­ery part you play. I’m in­cred­i­bly sup­port­ive of Olivia. She’s amaz­ing, and I’m glad the show is con­tin­u­ing. I’m not sure how I’ll feel when it comes out, but I’m sure it will be odd.”

Foy’s com­pelling per­for­mance in The Crown is all the more ex­tra­or­di­nary when you con­sider what she was go­ing through away from the cam­era. She be­gan film­ing the show four months after giv­ing birth, and on one oc­ca­sion found her­self halfway up a Scot­tish moun­tain with en­gorged breasts and no way of get­ting down to feed her daugh­ter. “It was like some­one had stamped on my heart and, as I sat in a Land Rover try­ing to get a bro­ken breast pump to work, I felt I’d made the worst mis­take of my life,” she has re­counted.

The worst was yet to come. Dur­ing film­ing of the sec­ond sea­son in 2017, Foy’s hus­band Stephen Camp­bell Moore un­der­went life-sav­ing surgery to re­move a brain tu­mour, his sec­ond in five years. Seven months later, the cou­ple an­nounced they had sep­a­rated.

Foy con­tem­plates how she has coped. “I’ve learnt a lot about my­self and had a lot of knocks and as much pain as any­one else. You can take one of two ap­proaches: you can make it a fight or a war, or you can sur­ren­der to it and go with what life is throw­ing at you and hope that ev­ery­thing will pass. Ev­ery­thing will end, even the good stuff will spec­tac­u­larly fall to pieces, and all you can do is know that at some point the sun will come out and then it will go back in again. We’re just lucky to be alive.”

It’s a re­mark­ably san­guine ap­proach to suf­fer­ing borne, per­haps, of fa­mil­iar­ity. Foy’s par­ents di­vorced when she was eight and her mother strug­gled to make ends meet. A few years later the then 13-year-old was di­ag­nosed with ju­ve­nile arthri­tis and had to cope with swollen knees and hob­ble around on crutches. Then, just as she was round­ing out her teens and de­cid­ing what ca­reer path to fol­low, she dis­cov­ered she had a be­nign tu­mour grow­ing be­hind one eye. She was on steroids for 18 months, claims she looked like Cy­clops and suf­fered bad skin and weight gain as a re­sult of the drugs.

So when she was asked at her au­di­tion for The Crown whether she had any­thing in com­mon with the Queen, it is lit­tle won­der she replied: “I guess we can both be tough old birds.”

If you probe a lit­tle more, Foy will de­scribe the com­plex­ity of emo­tions that jos­tle un­der the poised fa­cade and ar­guably make her so spellbinding on the screen. “You have to wake up ev­ery day and see some beauty in the strug­gle. There is some­thing to be learnt from ab­so­lutely ev­ery­thing. Ill­ness doesn’t have to be a bad thing – it can ed­u­cate you for the rest of your life.”

A year ago, she con­fessed she was a “deeply an­gry” per­son. Asked if she still is, she ad­mits, “Oh yeah, now more of­ten than not. Anger is some­thing you’re taught is bad and peo­ple shouldn’t be an­gry. Ac­tu­ally, the worse thing is pre­tend­ing you’re not. For a long time, I was mas­sively pas­sive ag­gres­sive and keep­ing a lid on ev­ery­thing, but I now gen­uinely be­lieve get­ting it out

there is the best thing. Ev­ery­body has got anger, but even­tu­ally I’d like mine not to be some­thing I carry around but some­thing that comes and goes.”

When Foy speaks to Stel­lar, she is at the end of eight months film­ing away from home and won’t go into the de­tails of how she and Moore share child­care, but says her daugh­ter has been with her the whole time. “It’s com­pli­cated, isn’t it? But I make it work.”

After The Crown made her hot prop­erty in Hol­ly­wood, life only be­came more com­pli­cated; she filmed First Man, play­ing the wife of Ryan Gosling’s astro­naut Neil Arm­strong, Breathe with An­drew Garfield and Un­sane, a psy­cho­log­i­cal hor­ror film di­rected by Steven Soder­bergh and shot en­tirely on an iphone 7 Plus. Suc­cess may have brought a flood of op­por­tu­ni­ties, but Foy is care­ful to carve out space for her­self. She can still pot­ter anony­mously around her North Lon­don neigh­bour­hood and en­joys play­ing the pi­ano and bak­ing cakes. “I can’t work con­sis­tently; it does me in,” she con­fesses. “I need to take care of my­self and the peo­ple around me.”

Top of that list is, of course, her daugh­ter. Asked the mes­sages and lessons she wants to in­stil in her, Foy laughs and replies: “That’s an ex­is­ten­tial ques­tion and a half. I want her to see that I’m a hu­man be­ing and I make huge mis­takes, but I pick my­self up again and apol­o­gise, then carry on. Love is the an­swer, re­ally, and she’s got that in buck­et­loads.”

So, it seems, has Foy. In two years, she may have gone from job­bing ac­tor to di­rec­tor’s dar­ling, but she’s ad­vo­cated for her col­leagues along the way. On The Crown she stood up for the rest of the cast, ar­gu­ing they needed Sun­days off, and fought for pay par­ity after learn­ing she was earn­ing less than her co-star Matt Smith, who played Prince Philip. Smith sup­ported her and, as she tells Stel­lar, if some­thing isn’t fair she will con­tinue to speak up.

Asked if she took home any me­men­toes from her time play­ing the monarch – say, a brooch from wardrobe, or a Corgi need­ing a home – Foy gives the cheeki­est an­swer pos­si­ble. “Yes, I took Matt Smith! I planted him in my gar­den and there he shall stay.” She sounds whim­si­cal. “No… there were no me­men­toes ex­cept friend­ships. And I’ll have them for­ever.” The Girl In The Spi­der’s Web is in cin­e­mas na­tion­ally from Novem­ber 8.

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