Jump to Main ContentJump to Primary Navigation
Top

Interview: Dominic West + Helena Bonham-Carter

615x330_BT.jpg
615x330_rexfeatures_1557205a.jpg

Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor’s final tempestuous reunion – the 1983 stage revival of Noel Coward’s Private Lives – is brought to life in BBC Four’s new drama Burton And Taylor. Its stars, Dominic West and Helena Bonham Carter, discuss immortalising the iconic couple.

Liz and Dick are huge characters – were they intimidating to play?

Helena: Definitely. There’s a photo of us in our blue contact lenses on the first day [of filming] and we both look absolutely terrified.

Dominic: With Richard, I only got his voice right once, after a very heavy night drinking and smoking.

Helena: But you didn’t have the stamina to do [that] every day… I relied on the costumes; Elizabeth had signature shapes. She wore lots of make-up; she loved lip gloss. And she liked her Toblerone, Earl Grey teabags and eating mashed potato, fried chicken and chilli from [Hollywood restaurant] Chasen’s. She drank a lot; they had bloody marys at 11 o’clock on set.

Dominic: Celebrities today have to be much more careful and less colourful because they just get into trouble.

Did you remain in character throughout filming?

Helena: I did, practising all the time is the fun of it. I love getting away from myself. It’s a holiday for me, but it drove Tim [Burton, her husband] mad. Elizabeth liked lots of diamonds; I had my birthday during filming and Tim bought me a gift and it cost him a lot of money. It’s funny how things educate you because I’d never have been interested normally.

Dominic: At one of the first rehearsals we had with the director Richard Laxton, Helena was talking about the jewels and said, “We’re going to have to have some real jewels because you can always tell.” And you could see Richard go, “Yeah sure... this is BBC Four.”

Helena: You can tell!

What did you discover about the characters?

Dominic: The revelation for me was that Elizabeth wasn’t this spoilt pain in the arse. She was ballsy and fun and great to be around and that’s why Helena was perfect to play her. And you’re also the same height.

Helena: Five foot three… and I’m fat [laughs]. I eat, I have an appetite.

Related

gjhero.jpg

RED CARPET ROUND-UP

gymherov.jpg

Britain’s most beautiful gyms

Comments

More

Chrissy Teigen just got blocked by President Trump on Twitter

This is what she said to push him over the edge…

by Kayleigh Dray
25 Jul 2017

Susan Sarandon’s life advice for these dark and troubled times

The actor reveals her pearls of wisdom to Stylist

by Helen Bownass
25 Jul 2017

Lucy Mangan: we should “think twice” before considering porn harmless

“Porn has become normalised, placed almost beyond criticism by its sheer prevalence”

by Lucy Mangan
25 Jul 2017

The best A-list Instagrams from the week so far

From inside J Lo's birthday bash to Ellie Goulding's Antarctic mission

by Nicola Colyer
25 Jul 2017

Sue Perkins on the moment she fell in friend-love with Mel Giedroyc

The Bake Off star has a beautiful point to make about platonic friendships

by Amy Swales
24 Jul 2017

Princes William and Harry reveal the last words they spoke to Diana

“That phone call sticks in my mind quite heavily.”

by Sarah Biddlecombe
24 Jul 2017

Pirelli’s all-black 2018 calendar makes a statement about inclusivity

The tyre manufacturer aims to continue shaking off its reputation with a beautiful fairy-tale shoot

by Amy Swales
21 Jul 2017

The best A-list Instagrams from the week so far

From Nicole Scherzinger's glam squad to Reese Witherspoon's hair hack

by Nicola Colyer
21 Jul 2017

Lana Del Rey is changing her aesthetic because of Donald Trump

"I’m not going to have the American flag waving while I’m singing Born to Die."

by Moya Crockett
20 Jul 2017

BBC ever so politely shuts down backlash over first female Doctor Who

Some “unhappy” viewers contacted the broadcaster about Jodie Whittaker’s casting

by Kayleigh Dray
20 Jul 2017