She has been called one of Britain's most promising young actors, but SAMANTHA MORTON says she's in the wrong business. Words: Judith No
’I’m like, yeah, there are stupid women out there, but we don't need every part for women to be a stupid bimbo.’ Samantha Morton’s rage seems somewhat at odds with the gawky heroine she plays in Dreaming Of Joseph Lees, not to mention the antique cream lace in which she is currently clothed. Then again, it’s the world’s inability to see past her latest
‘There are stupid women out there, but we don't need every part for women to be a stupid '
biMbO.' Samantha Morton
role that is so grating upon her temper. Despite having played everything from Jane Eyre to a teenage prostitute in Band Of Gold, it would appear that bags of talent and a bulging CV are no match for the forces of typecasting. After Under The Skin, in which she
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played a grieving nymphomaniac to rapturous acclaim, she was inundated with ’similar’ parts. ’They were very sexually provocative or hungry~for—Iove characters,’ says Morton, ’but I found them underwritten. They didn’t have a reason, they didn’t have any meanmg.’
As a result, when the part of Eva in Joseph Lees popped up, she was desperate to play it. ’Even though it was a quiet role, she was still doing very controversial things,’ explains Morton. ’The control she was taking of her own life was inspiring — strong and forthright and trying to make choices that other people would be scared to make.’ Despite a tense seven-week shoot, working with director Eric Styles
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Taking control: Samantha Morton in Dreaming Of Joseph Lees
and the rest of the team was, she says, ’brllliant, and the girl who played my sister, Lauren Richardson, was just one of the best actors I’ve ever worked WIIIT She was incredibly truthful.’
This is no faint praise. Morton has dealt with a good few actors and a few great egos — she scornfully mentions a ’famous Brit actress’ who sent along her portfolio to an audition instead of herself. She has acted alongside Richard Harris and Gabriel Byrne, and more recently spent eight months in New York with Uma Thurman and Sean Penn on Woody Allen’s forthcoming Sweet And Lowdown. (’I still haven’t come across the politics of Hollywood,’ she says.) The buzz is already audible: both Morton and Allen’s fIIm returned from
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this year's Venice Fllm Festival, struggling to bear home the weight of all the praise
Morton flnds the media attention something of a burden, She’s been twrce bitten, haying taken two newspapers to court, and at 22 years of age IS already press shy. Her ChlIdhOOd, spent dodging trouble and foster care, gave the gossip-lovmg tablouds plenty of ammunltlon and provided 8 them wrth handy parallel with Band Of Go/d. ’I’m In the wrong industry in a lot of ways,’ she says, summing it up. Ongoing critical acclaim for her actlng may yet prove her wrong.
Dreaming Of Joseph Lees opens Fri 26 Nov. See review.
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