more. Wild child‘.’ Possibly. (‘rashed and burned'.’ Not quite.

‘I just understood her.‘ she says of Morvern. “It was something to do with tny age. dance culture. music culture that feeling you get en tnasse. All of that. When I first started listening to music. it was either 'l‘ransvision Vamp. hip hop or

rave. and at that time you‘d drive out to a field in the middle of

nowhere and just have this brilliant. brilliant time.‘ Samantha Morton is still only 25. Go figure. l'nlike Morvern. Sam found salvation in acting. ‘lt was

something I was good at.’ she says. all matter of fact. ‘and if

you‘re encouraged you get better.’ So much better. it seems. that she was on prime time grown—up telly before she was in her teens. Without being explicit. Morton suggests these were both the best and worst of times. like if you behave badly or whatever] she says. that ‘whatever' implicating her every action. ‘some people call you a prima donna. It’s not that at all. It‘s because you‘re not an adult yet. and you don't know how to articulate why you can‘t achieve what you’re attempting.’

Still barely an adult. but with several features under her belt. including the teen cry for help of (Hider the Skin. Sam took a year out to decide whether it was 'healthy‘. the way she was approaching acting without any training. ‘I wasn‘t just doing it because it was a calling.‘ she insists. '(iod forbid me saying this. but it's almost like some kind of sick talent. to be other people. which almost borders points where you wonder whether you‘re well. What is that‘.’ I mean. some people train to be that. and to be able naturally to do it. to feel other people’s pain - it's a bit of a curse sometimes.‘

just went in and did my thing. and let it be a

‘Acting is almost like some kind of sick talent,’ says Morton, ‘it’s a bit of a curse at times’

Morton considered university. Something safer. 'Then I thought. no. It makes me very happy.‘

Which is a beautiful. accidental contradiction. that says everything and nothing about Sam. (‘omplex and protective. but utterly without guile. Sam’s chameleon-like qualities have long since been noted. Largely this is down to her face a blank. undemonstrative if slightly troubled canvas upon which directors can project any particular muse they fancy. In this respect she’s possessed by the same eerie calm as Isabelle lluppert. Intense. (ilacial. Haunted. Aloof. All the usual words. Words Sam‘s sick of hearing. however much they may or may

not apply. So. I suggest. let‘s try a new one on for size. Star. for

instance. A word that might apply to anyone who‘s worked with Spielberg and Woody Allen. .lust like Sam.

‘A star'.’ Mel” She ponders it awhile in silence. 'l‘m in a very fortunate position. but I‘m not at that horrible stage where you get recognised going down the shops or whatever. I’d hate that. you know.’ '

.\'or. indeed. would she even consider such a thrice-weekly vehicle propping up the bar at the Queen Vic or the Rover's Return.‘.\'ever.‘ she says with something close to venom. ‘1 think its fodder. Soul— destroying fodder.’

She reckons she‘s grown enormously as an actress. does Sam. ‘Rather than suddenly deciding that you’re going to change your whole approach. I think the characters you play will teach you if you let them.'

Which brings its back to .llo/‘t‘t'rn ('u/lur. in which Sam gives one of the most natural looking performances of the year. ‘I


Natural looking. but planned just—so. ‘It

wasn‘t contrivedf Morton insists. 'It just is.

It‘s like a wild garden. You can think it looks

ama/ing. then realise that someone spent hours and hours making it look wild.‘

She pauses. and looks off into the middle distance as she scoops tip the last of her Alpen. 'And you know. that‘s the hardest thing of all.‘

The closing credits of Samantha Morton‘s new movie are rolling. ln silence. The hip soundtrack’s played its last euphoric-but-downbeat note. .\'o rapturous applause. no air- kissing. arse-licking after-show glitz. The lights go up and Sam is nowhere to be found. As the audience file out. the only sound you can hear is the patter of tiny high-heeled feet. stumbling onto the next thing. already halfway home.

Morvem Callar is on general release from Fri 1 Nov.

understood her —— it was something to do with my age, d ahce cult tire’


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