People say to me, you like to play strong women. I like to say: I like to play women who are terrified, but they find a way through their fear. That’s what the tat on my arm is about. We all feel fear. Fear is a part of human nature; it’s a necessary emotion. The secret is not not feeling it, it’s pushing through it. You know?
I’ve been to therapy in the past when I’ve had crisis moments in my life; I think it’s very healthy. I think that’s even a more acceptable attitude in America actually than it is probably back at home [in England]. I think we have to monitor our minds the way we need to monitor our bodies. And that’s part of what I touch on in my [UN] speech—when assaults happen on women and girls in these fragile countries, in these places of crisis, there isn’t the psychosocial support. There aren’t counseling services. It’s not in a lot of cultures to explicitly talk about things that maybe have happened to the body. So, repression of emotion, and shame, and guilt is something that really needs to be handled in humanitarian crises. Women need to have access to counseling services in the way that American or British women can have if something really bad or upsetting happens to them. I think [the stigma] is changing. It’s an evolution. The responsibility lies in people like you, as well as me, to make it a positive and not a negative.
I couldn’t pick just one defining breakthrough role. I like to think that they’re all a part of me. There’s a part of my heart that forever has Anne Boleyn written on it, who I played in The Tudors. Equally, to some I will always be Margaery Tyrell from Game of Thrones, or Miss Julie who I played in After Miss Julie at the Young Vic.
And when I’m on set,
I’m just thinking about the script and of working. I think I’ve stayed
focused on the work so much that I haven’t really noticed my life start
to change except for I’ve gotten busier.
I’m still in touch with reality and I see this business for what it is, which is a playground. I’m playing. I work at imagining things. None of this is real. None of this actually matters. I don’t have a sense of superiority. I feel lucky, but I don’t feel special. I don’t think there’s ever a moment where I feel like I deserve it. The celebrity and fame thing and the acting part of it are two separate things. The celebrity part of it is so predictable. I’m not wowed by it.