Fleming, the new mini-series based on the life of the Bond author, started last Wednesday. And already there’s no shortage of vodka martinis and tangled bed sheets. Lara Pulver, who plays Ian Fleming’s wife Ann, reveals how she immersed herself in their world.
I read Ann Fleming’s original diaries. On their second date Ian gave her a book and said, “Amuse yourself because I’m not in the mood.” I swear if he was alive today he would be diagnosed with severe depression or bipolar because he was an odd fish. But her first description of him was “this God-like man” so he obviously pushed a button for her. They were both very playful, spirited characters and they found their match in each other.
We mainly filmed in Budapest. The buildings haven’t been updated like in London – if you pan out of a window in London you’ll see a skyscraper. Then we went to Majorca, which doubled as Goldeneye Jamaica. On the last few days of filming they were doing these beautiful crane shots and they let Dominic Cooper [who plays Fleming] and I loose on the beautiful vintage boat you see at the very beginning of the series. It was just the two of us and an engineer in case there was any trouble. Dom was in his element, he even said, “On my day off tomorrow, is this rentable?”
I enjoyed getting dolled up in Thirties make up. Even at 5am in the morning. I’m not very girly so when the make-up artist said we had to do Thirties/Forties eyebrows I was like, “What’s that?” It means accenting the top and underneath of the brow – a little bit Lady Mary [Crawley] or Ruth Wilson. And no mascara on your bottom eye lashes.
Costume-wise, I had 30 hours of fittings. We hired all the Thirties and Forties costumes but they were delicate and fragile so this brilliant dressmaker in Budapest replicated every one. They were extraordinary. There was a morphing process when I put the dresses on – the stylist said she saw me become Ann.
The way Ann dressed summed up her response to the war. It was too scary to face what was actually going on so she would put on a canary yellow dress and throw the biggest party at the Dorchester. Who knows, if the war hadn’t been going on maybe these two people might not have got together. At the end of episode one, you have the madness outside and they are getting a bit fruity around the corner…
Fleming is on Wednesdays at 9pm on Sky Atlantic HD