theatre, film & tv past and present 2001-2008 & 2013…
Joely Richardson sits in a café in south-east London, just around the corner from where she’s rehearsing for what she describes as ‘the biggest role of my life’. In the past, she’s played Lady Chatterley, Wallis Simpson, Catherine Parr, and Marie Antoinette and starred alongside Mel Gibson, Daniel Craig and Judi Dench. Her most recent appearance on stage was a two-hour solo performance as Emily Dickinson in an off-Broadway theatre, which she described as ‘a baptism of fire; nothing could ever be as terrifying.’
But now, at 50, she’s embarking on a role even more demanding: Margaret of Anjou, the warrior queen in The Wars of the Roses, which has just opened at the Rose Theatre, Kingston. The three-part adaptation of Shakespeare’s Henry VI plays and Richard III requires Richardson to be young, middle-aged and old, as well as to rage, ‘Ah, villains, villains!’ while carrying her lover’s severed head (she’d had a problem with that scene the day before we met: ‘I hadn’t paced myself’). Margaret is the only character that…
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