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As Vera Drake, I feel Mike has used all of me as a dramatic actress, in a positive sense.


Well, my parents were working people. You just worked. I've always wanted a long career, not an instant one. I left Rada, I worked in rep for six years, then I came to London and came to the National Theatre. What's better than that? I don't know what's better than that. 'Oh, but surely you wanted to be a big film star when you were 21?' No, because I would've been rubbish. Because I spent a lot of time in rep being OK, being very bad, and then being quite good. And I could practice my craft. You know, being exposed that early, to be brilliant in your first job, where do you go from there? It's given me time, which is a luxury.


Agents and producers have to get you into a box to accommodate their limited imaginations.


We're all unique as actors. To yourself, you are unique, you have to think 'I'm me, I'm not going to bunch myself with other people.' Agents and producers have to get you into a box, to accommodate their limited imaginations.


I reached the point now, where I have become as comfortable on a movie set as I am on stage. Before, I was trying to figure it out, how much should I emote, where should I stand? But now I know more about the camera, and what goes into the mix, technically. I'm much more comfortable doing film now.


After the creation and the filming are over. As you well know, we don't have a script when we're shooting. But after the film, the screenplay gets published and you can read the whole thing


All my heroes-Tim Spall, Lesley Manville-are just so brilliant. And I thought, well, I'm not in that league.


I am a character actress, well, let's say, I am a leading character actress who does interesting, odd parts.


You know you can be very famous without being a great actress, and that's not good for me.


He's the nicest ... because he works so hard, and I think he expects other people to work hard. And in my book, that's enough. We don't roll into rehearsal at 10.30 and have coffee. We start at 8am, we finish at 8 o'clock at night. I mean, you don't want to dither around him. And I think that's fine. I think he's entitled to say what he wants and what he doesn't want. He knows a lot about it. He doesn't have to be nice if he doesn't want to, just to be charming. (On working with Mike Leigh in Vera Drake (2004))


I go up for a job, someone else gets it, what can I do about that? That might be in another league to me, people being competitive. But it's not like running a race. I'm not against anyone. I think that's a much more American thing, that.


I'm not Susan Sarandon. I don't want to bang a drum. I think I'm just going to say 'I'm pro-choice' and leave it at that. (On her view about abortion, something she's been asked a lot after her role in Vera Drake (2004))


It's obscene, isn't it? Just ridiculous. We don't need any of these things! Give it to people who need it. I'll never have to buy moisturizer again. I might start eating it soon. - what she thinks about celebrities getting free gifts at award shows.


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