Felicity Jones Comes up Roses

Felicity Jones has been acting for well over a decade at this point, but everything has suddenly clicked into place for the actress, thanks to her highly acclaimed performance in this year’s biopic The Theory of Everything. Milk Made had the good fortune of chatting with the actress about the whirlwind year she’s had, working with Eddie Redmayne on this film, and the invaluable help provided by the real life Jane Hawking.

This story of Stephen Hawking is seen though your character Jane’s eyes. Did this attract you to the role?

What I loved about the script was that it wasn’t a straightforward biopic. It was telling the story of a very famous person in an unusual and intimate way. At the center of it all was a formidable female character that was just as important to the story as Stephen Hawking. As an actress I thought this was going to be an adventure.

When did you know you had got the part?

I went to the audition and something in the room really worked with James, Eddie and I. James actually said after that he’d love me to do this which was a huge compliment. Him saying that gave me such confidence because it meant he was instinctive and open from so early on. That openness continued throughout the whole filming process.

Did you know Eddie prior to auditioning?

Eddie and I knew each other from theatre. That’s what was so great about making this film. We both had very similar ways of working and approaching a film which is what made it a very harmonious experience.

How helpful was spending time with Jane ahead of shooting?

When I met Jane early in the process it made my job so much easier. She’s such a character. She’s very much the embodiment of the ideal 50’s woman where it was about being very presentational and unthreatening but at the same time she has a formidable determination and toughness. I love having the opportunity to play somebody who’s vulnerable and loving but also someone who’s tough.

She showed me things such as her private family albums of her time with Stephen. She wanted to give everything she could to benefit the performance. It was very much a collaboration between Jane and I. She has to suss me out and determine if she could trust me to play her life.

Can you speak on the Oscar buzz surrounding the film and your performance?

It’s always a surprise. Before the premier in Toronto we had no idea how the film would be received. We had only seen a few cuts. After the screening though it was a really special moment. I can’t see into the future but I’m just so proud of this film and care about it deeply. If I can just keep on playing interesting and complex women in films then that’s my priority.

Do you know what you are working on next?

I’m working on a film now called A Monster Calls with Liam Nesson, which is directed by Juan Antonio Bayona who made The Orphanage and The Impossible. It’s interesting because after learning so much from Eddie’s performance as Stephen in this new role I have to play a woman with terminal cancer. With Jane the performance was very much emotional so it’s an exciting challenge to take on a more physical part.

Be sure to check out our interview with Eddie Redmayne as well as ‘Theory of Everything’ director James Marsh

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