Lindsay Duncan. I highly recommend that you stop whatever you’re doing, and google this woman. If you do, I can almost guarantee that you will have the same sudden realization as I once did that Lindsay Duncan is everyone, and in everything. She is a brilliant Tony-awarded Scottish actress with an exceptional career on stage, television, and film. I won’t try to list the unbelievable array of roles that she’s taken on in her uniquely prolific career (they are all fabulous – I particularly recommend Under the Tuscan Sun, just for her).
Instead, I would like to voice my appreciation for her often under-rated performance(s) in the 1999 Mansfield Park. In this film, as I didn’t realize when I was younger, she plays both the opiated, pampered Lady Bertram, and the struggling, and very much awake, Mrs. Price. By double-casting these two characters, this film thickly underscores what might be Austen’s later-in-life attempt to qualify the lessons of her earlier works: while marrying for love is ideal, it isn’t everything, or, as Mary Crawford puts it: “A large income is the best recipe for happiness I ever heard of.” Lindsay Duncan perfectly plays these contrasting characters, and every other role, as no one else could.
Oh, and here she is in Merlin:
And Doctor Who:
“If I’m lucky enough to get the choice, it’s the writing, primarily. I suppose that’s always been my guiding light. […] Nothing formulaic. I just want to be in something where somebody’s got something to say, and maybe I can help them say it.
-Lindsay Duncan on how she chooses projects to work on