When I spoke with the acclaimed British actress in January, as we both recovered from Golden Globe parties, I discovered that she loves describing other actors that way. Yet the adjective fits her like a glove. "Versatile" would be another apt descriptor. She's equally at home in drama, comedy or in period epics. You'll find her in French, British, American and even Romanian cinema. She also treads the boards. Her recent performance in the Broadway run of The Seagull could bring her her first TONY nomination this summer. Her film career from Prince's odd con artist flick Under the Cherry Moon (1986) [think of his "Parade" CD if you're drawing a blank -ed.] through the Oscar stamped The English Patient (1996) to the recent French hits Tell No One and I've Loved You So Long (2008, just out on DVD!) has been alternately celebrated and underappreciated.
She likens her past twenty years in the spotlight to a rollercoaster
You have moments of complete grace and glory and heaven. Others of failure or rejection... So much of it is out of your control
That zen like acceptance of the ups and downs of a screen career threads itself throughout our conversation. She's benefiting from France's affection for mature women but she understands the irresistible beauty of youth. She credits much of her screen performance to what's built in the editing room but doesn't discount her own efforts in front of the camera "If you haven't got good raw material you can't create anything". She's just as willing to discuss that first high profile Prince dud ("a baptism of fire") as she is to chat about how proud she is of a small French/Romanian film An Unforgettable Summer. When asked about future roles she's interested in, there's also a little bit of the up and down balancing...
Once you've done something you're not really interested in doing it again. I'm quite glad to be rid of 'the withering remark'. But then on the other hand I really enjoy the withering remarks, the witticisms and the puff of the cigarette.Despite the rich variety of characters she's essayed I half expected her stickiest screen persona, the initially icy aristocratic beauty familiar from Gosford Park and The English Patient, to bleed over into our conversation. Not so. She was congenial, down to earth and in great humor -- hardly ready with a "withering remark". Her co-stars performances are often deemed extraordinary but after our quick run through of her career, she does allow herself a minor pat on the back.
You know, I look back at the list... 'You haven't done too badly, old girl'It's an understatement.
*Go to iTunes for the enhanced interview or listen to the simple mp3
Listen and discuss.
What's your favorite screen memory of Kristin Scott Thomas? Are you excited for her pas de deux with Sergi López in Partir? Do you prefer those 90s arthouse films Angels and Insects, Bitter Moon or the big hits Four Weddings and a Funeral, The English Patient? How drôle was she as "Alette" in Confessions of a Shopaholic? Finally, if you've just seen her Golden Globe and Cesar nominated turn in I've Loved You So Long (the film just hit DVD) what did you think of her performance as the withdrawn ex-con?