Friday, 08 April 2016

FIRST IMPRESSIONS: Elizabeth McGovern

…is an actress and musician who has appeared in film and television roles, including Ragtime, for which she received an Academy Award nomination, and as Cora Crawley in Downton Abbey, which earned her a Golden Globe Award.

What are you working on at the moment?
I’m writing and recording music for a fourth album with Sadie And The Hotheads and going through the play Sunset At The Villa Thalia a little. We start rehearsing at the National Theatre in April.

When were you at your happiest?
Truthfully, right this second. But I’ve had a happy life generally. I am on my knees with gratitude every single day.

What is your greatest fear?
I don’t have many fears, but the prospect of Donald Trump leading the free world would come as close as anything. The fact that the other Republican alternatives are even worse is totally uncomforting.

What is your earliest memory?
My fourth birthday party in the back garden of the house in Evanston, Illinois, where I grew up. I remember my mother spreading the paper tablecloth over the garden table.

What do you most dislike about yourself?
It’s either my terrible sense of direction or my tendency to be introverted. I can’t decide.

Who has been your greatest influence?
I’m always learning from the people I work with. It’s never-ending for me.

What is your most treasured possession?
At the moment: Ashley, a new puppy.

What trait do you most deplore in others?
I’m repulsed by bullying behaviour. Very common on sets. Boring and unforgivable.

What do you most dislike about your appearance?
Oh, God. It’s all going to hell in a handbasket. I’m 54. I don’t really care. It’s liberating.

What is your favourite book?
The Remains Of The Day.

What is your favourite film?
Schindler’s List.

first-imp-590-2Elizabeth’s favourite things include Kazuo Ishiguro’s The Remains Of The Day, the film Schindler’s List, the music of Bob Dylan and chicken Caesar

And your favourite piece of music?

Buckets Of Rain by Bob Dylan.

What is your favourite meal?
Chicken Caesar salad, no croutons.

Who would you most like to come to dinner?
My mother-in-law, Jill, and my sisters-in-law and their families.

What is the nastiest thing anyone has ever said to you?
‘You’ll never work in this business again.’ (A couple of times.)

Do you believe in aliens?
No.

What is your secret vice?
Self-obsession. I hope I hide it pretty well.

Do you write thank-you notes?
Well, now they’re thank-you emails. Not quite the same, but yes. And I really treasure them from other people. It’s important.

Which phrase do you most overuse?
‘I’ll have the chicken Caesar, no croutons.’

What single thing would improve the quality of your life?
I’m pretty content, but I wouldn’t say no to a new kitchen.

Tell us one thing people might not know about you.
I was at drama school in New York with Kevin Spacey and Val Kilmer and Kelly McGillis – among others.

What would you like your epitaph to read?
My daughter Mattie and I once saw a tombstone that read: ‘She was a character.’ I think that’s pretty good.

Elizabeth McGovern stars in Sunset At The Villa Thalia at the National Theatre from 25 May. To pre-order Sadie And The Hotheads’ new album, visit www.pledgemusic.com/projects/sadie-and-thehotheads



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