A/V Room









InterMission - Kelly Macdonald Q&A

Compiled by: Jack Foley (from an interview with Martyn Palmer

Q Have you seen Intermission yet?
Yes, I was at a screening last night. I’m really pleased with it. Most times when you see a finished film it’s different to what you expect but not in a bad way, but often in a surprising way, but it’s exactly what I was hoping for.

Q What did you like about it?
I know everybody says the same thing ‘I read it and I just couldn’t put it down...’ (laughs) but it’s true. And it made me laugh out loud, like a maniac, the whole way through, I just loved it.
And then meeting (director) John Crowley, I’m not very good at auditions, I just find them really difficult and a lot of the times I think the directors and the casting people find them difficult, too. Because you are expected to go in and give the essence of you in like two minutes and then just read something through once and you are out of the door and it’s like ‘aaahh!’
But with John, because of his background in theatre, he really worked with me and we went through things quite a few times, and he gave me proper direction, actually in the audition.
And he made me giggle because he has a great sense of humour and I just thought ‘I have to do this, it’s looks like it will be such a fun thing to do...’

Q And was it fun?
Oh yeah. Absolutely. John is just a lovely man and the rest of the cast, I mean you couldn’t ask to work with nicer people.

Q How was the Irish accent?
When I’m doing the auditions, I always feel that I’ve got the accent and it’s fine, and then when you actually start having the lessons with a voice coach, you sort of lose it a bit, and you have to get bad before you can get better again.
It’s confidence or something. And then when you have got it adequately enough you just think you are being awful so it was a real worry for me especially at the read through, I was sitting next to Shirely Henderson, a fellow Scot, and I was like ‘thank God!’ because we were both in the same boat.
And then her first line came up before mine and she had it down, she really did have it great. And I was like ‘god damn it! I thought we could both be hopeless together!’ (laughs)

Q Is it easier for a Scot to do an Irish accent?
My theory is that it’s easier for Scots to do accents in general because we’re used to going so up and down anyway that we can modify it.
I think that’s true of the Welsh too, I think it’s something to do with the hills and the valleys, our accents are like up and down. I think it must be more difficult for people who have more flat accents and intonations to start doing other things with it. So there’s an openness there. But I have no idea really (laughs) it’s something that I thought about late at night, and that’s my theory (laughs).

Q. Are you the kind of actor who keeps the accent going when you’re not in a scene?
No! I get really embarrassed. But I’m impressed with people who can do that. I mean, Johnny Lee Miller kept the Scottish accent going when we did Trainspotting.
I didn’t know him as an English guy, I thought he was Scottish. Even at the wrap party he was keeping it going. And I remember going to a photo shoot down in London, I saw him and said ‘hi, Johnny ..’ and he started talking all weird, I was like ‘whoa, what’s going on?’ (laughs) It’s a bit odd and I can’t do that.
I would feel I was being untruthful with the people I was working with. But the thing about accents is I remember doing a Welsh accent in a thing called House and when I came back my flat mates were going ‘why are you talking so funny?’ And I was talking in a Scottish accent with Welsh intonation.
And it happened in Dublin when I was doing Intermission, I was phoning Dougie and he was going ‘it’s weird, you’re not doing the accent, but you sound different..’ And it slips in with different words. It’s funny, but I quite like it.

Q How was working with Colin?
He is the most charismatic, sweet man. He really is.

Q And you’ve worked with a few of the best leading men...
I know, I’ve done fine. Johnny Depp, Ewan McGregor, I’m going great guns. But Colin is not like the person you read about which is great. It’s like an act. It’s like he’s doing a show or something. And you meet him and he is really lovely.

Q He certainly gets the headlines..
But it’s like water off a duck’s back to him. You know he is very tongue in cheek. And he was great to work with. Everybody was. I didn’t know a lot of the actors, just Shirley. And like Colm Meaney you feel that you know him. And Dave Wilmot (Oscar) who is an amazing actor, I think. It was just great and a really great crowd of interesting people.

Q How did this fit in with State of Play?
I did Intermission before State of Play, I went straight on to it. State of Play went really well.

Q That was a popular programme with journalists, I must say...
(laughs) Is that because we made it slightly glamorous for you?

Q Possibly. The characters seemed far more rounded..
I know. When we were filming I was desperate for a pad and a pen but I never got one. That was the only thing for me, I kept thinking ‘I don’t feel like a proper journalist unless I have a pad and pen’ but it never quite happened.

Q Are you going to to do more?
Paul Abbott (writer of State of Play) has been commissioned to do another one. And we’ve all had the phone call asking if we would be interested. It’s so funny, we’ve all been texting each other and I think Bill (Nighy) was the first one to get the phone call and he was texting me saying ‘I’ve got the call, you’ll be getting the call...’ I was like ‘don’t tell me that, in case I don’t!’ (laughs).
We are all in the same position, we had such a ball and we would all do it if it’s the same people but if anything changed then it wouldn’t be the same.
Bill cracked me up. There were certain days when I couldn’t keep my face straight, and I would do the same thing to do. We were all basically in hysterics throughout. Bill is a lovely, lovely man.

Q You’ve just got married I understand?
Yes, two weeks ago.

Q Congratulations...
Thank you very much. It was the best day ever and we had a week away and I came straight here to Toronto. Everybody keeps saying ‘oh my god you are working when you should be on honeymoon..’ But we weren’t even expecting to get that week so that was great.

Q Where did you go?
Italy. Tuscany.

Q The best day of your life?
(laughs) It’s such a cliché but it’s true and you remember your wedding as being the best wedding ever.

Q Where is home?
London. I moved to London about five, maybe six years ago. I waited a while after Trainspotting. It was after Elizabeth, whenever that was. And it has taken me this long to grow to love it.
I mean, it takes a while to understand how London works and to make arrangements like weeks in advance instead of days.
London can be overwhelming. Everyone says ‘but there is so much to do...’ And there is, but you don’t do anything at the start, and then you kind of go out and start to discover things, that’s when it gets easier and becomes a good place.
Suddenly, you know where you are going without thinking. It’s quite seductive. And we’re happy to be there. It would be silly to go anywhere else because it’s the best place for both of us for work, so why make things harder.

Q Will you go back to work now?
I hope so but I haven’t got anything lined up and I haven’t worked since State of Play. It was kind of OK because I was planning the wedding and everything but now I’m kind of ready to get back into it.

Q Gosford Park must have been a great working experience?
It was. I saw Robert (Altman) yesterday and I interrupted one of his interviews to say hello. He’s a great man and he just never stops working.

Q You must be pleased with the way that your career is going?
I am. Totally thrilled. I feel that I’ve been given so many great opportunities and as an actor you can’t necessarily expect them in a career and I hope I’m not running out now.
I hope that there’s not a handful that you are given and that’s it. I kind of want to keep working and every now and then great things sort of turn up. Like if you want them enough they kind of do.

Q Ever tempted to try your luck in LA?
I’m going to LA after this, I’ve got an American agent and everything and I’m just going over there to see what’s happening.

Q But you and Dougie wouldn’t be tempted to move there?
I think London is a move enough for me. I think if you got a job there or if you were working so much in the States, then that’s when it comes into play, but I don’t, I kind of get a bit cringey when people say ‘oh I’m going out there for six months to see what is happening..’
I can go out there for a couple of weeks and then I need to come home.

Q When did you first think you wanted to act?
I was tiny, tiny. I was always doing little performances. Like on my own, not in front of people, I wasn’t that kind of kid. I didn’t have a stage mum or anything.

Q. Were your parents involved?
No they weren’t. But I would say from about seven I knew what I wanted to do and I had dreams about Hollywood and things. But the Hollywood of the forties and fifties. My Mum had a big old MGM film book and I would just sit and read it, well look at the pictures. I just thought it was so glamorous and great. And really, I’m just amazed that I’m here.

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