“Tyrannosaur” star Olivia Colman on her searing performance, acting with Meryl Streep, and Oscar hopes – AWARDS ALLEY
By Sean O’Connell
hollywoodnews.com: Most actors would be thrilled to have one film competing in the end-of-year Oscar race.
Olivia Colman has two.
Few of us in Oscar Blogger Land have seen “The Iron Lady,” however, and Colman’s being overshadowed — ever so slightly — by her co-star, Meryl Streep, for the work she does as Margaret Thatcher. (Colman plays Carol in Phyllida Lloyd’s upcoming biopic, and tells me she’s thrilled to share the screen with Streep, as you’d guess.)
But we have seen “Tyrannosaur,” Paddy Considine’s hard-to-handle relationship drama, which is why we can’t stop talking about Colman’s devastating performance. She plays Hanna, a battered and bruised soul who clings to a wavering religious faith and finds herself tested by a surly lout who stumbles into her shop one day.
Weeks ago, I wrote of “Tyrannosaur” that, “like a traditional Irish wake, it is, at times, depressing, celebratory, devastating and boisterous. Yet the script’s honest probes of such taboo subjects as rape, alcoholism and savage, blue-collar violence are unflinching, which pushes ‘Tyrannosaur’ past like-minded, melodramatic Sundance pap.
“What you’ve heard about Colman is true. … The actress allows numerous difficult emotions to flood across her tranquil face. Considine’s focus shifts from Colman to [Peter] Mullan at times, though both are so good at wallowing in the human pain of this raw story that ‘Tyrannosaur’ rarely misses a step.”
Colman made the rounds in Los Angeles in support of the film recently, and I was able to ask her a few questions about the movie, her performance, and the picture’s Oscar hopes. Here’s Olivia Colman:
HollywoodNews.com: Please give me a few things about Mr. Considine’s script that appealed to you?
The main thing was that the characters he’d written were whole, multi-faceted, complicated people. The script was beautiful, you almost never get scripts like that through the post, it was the most affecting script I had ever read.
HollywoodNews.com: I think most audiences will recognize you from your comedic efforts, like Gervais’ brilliant OFFICE, GREEN WING, the hilarious PEEP SHOW or HOT FUZZ. Were you actively seeking something more dramatic as a means of challenging yourself?
I find it funny that people assume their is any element of choice in an actors career. You have to be a fairly hefty, established actor to have that. I had dreamt about this job from about the age of 12, Paddy took a punt on me, and I will be eternally grateful. I got work in comedy and I’m very grateful for it. I have had the best time laughing with some of the loveliest people, but I always wanted to do work like this. But you have no control as an actor, you have to wait for someone to give you the chance.
HollywoodNews.com: At what point in the process of constructing your performance did you finally figure Hannah out? And how did Mr. Considine help you shape the performance?
Hannah was figured out on the page. The moment you read her, you know who she is. Paddy gave me confidence, He made us all feel safe. He has the ability to say just the right words to tap into your head. He was extraordinary. You want to make him proud.
HollywoodNews.com: I’m usually fascinated by actors who turn to directing. What can you tell me about Mr. Considine as a director? And would you ever give directing a try?
Paddy was brilliant because he knows what it feels like to be an actor. He films in sequence as much as possible, [and] he doesn’t make you do a scene over and over. He knows when he’s got it. He inspires and gives you the confidence to throw yourself in. He’s a protective and nurturing force. He’s also hilarious.
I’ll never direct, though. I’d be rubbish.
HollywoodNews.com: Since its Sundance debut, Tyrannosaur has been receiving awards support. The British Independent Film Awards nominations were a particular boost. What does awards recognition mean to you? Did it ever once cross your mind that Tyrannosaur might be in the Oscar conversation when you were filming it? Maybe as you watched Mr. Mullan’s gut-wrenching performance, or dailies of you and he acting together?
No, we had no place in our heads for awards talk during filming. That’s not why it was made. We all felt we were part of something special. This is Paddy vision. He wanted to create cinema. When people first saw it and got it, that was a beautiful thing. To be noticed and recognized by nominations and things, well of course that’s overwhelming. We all feel so proud of this film, of what Paddy has made. It means the world if people recognize it. Watching Peter and Eddie doing ANYTHING is an honor. They’re flawless.
HollywoodNews.com: Lastly, which is more exciting: Acting alongside Meryl Streep for “The Iron Lady” or playing Queen Elizabeth for “Hyde Park on Hudson”?
Ooh, tricky. I’ll be able to die happy that I was even in the same room as Meryl Streep! And, every day on ‘Hyde Park’ was a joy also. Cant compare I’m afraid.
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