|Born||Helen Elizabeth McCrory
17 August 1968
|Spouse(s)||Damian Lewis (m. 2007)|
Actually, I'm looking forward to being 50. Because to me, that's when a woman is at the pinnacle of her femininity and her womanhood.
As I've got older, I feel more confident in my body, so wouldn't want to tamper with it.
The only time I ever spend alone is when I am working or when my husband is away filming. I put the kids to bed and have an hour and a half in the evening for myself.
I was lucky to learn early in life that you need money for food and shelter, but there's no ambition in having money in the bank for the sake of it!
Literature is reflecting what is happening in life. More and more women are having relationships with younger men. It's partly that women are not losing their figures now.
If I were in politics, I'd make both left and right sit down and make good decisions about national health. It's a huge problem, and it is something we all should be part of.
I was very lucky. I left college, and Richard Eyre was in charge of the National Theatre. I was offered the lead in 'The Seagull' with no experience and went on to do five plays there.
I'm a very positive person. My grandmother taught me that happiness is both a skill and a decision, and you are responsible for the outcome.
Childhood has definitely been invented, hasn't it? I think that's because people had children later, and we appreciate and cherish childhood a lot more.
When I was 14, I told my mother I intended to be in the House of Commons in the morning, in court in the afternoon and on stage in the evening. She realised then a fantasist had been born.
My own parents were very un-neurotic, so I never thought that I had to change enormously in order to become a parent.
The benefits of feminism for someone like my husband are fantastic. He can stay at home with the kids, he can take them to a park, he does the school run.
A perfect weekend in London has to start on Friday night, by going to the theatre, the Donmar or the National. It's a cliche for an actor, but I enjoy going as much as possible.
I've become more confident as I have got older. I care less what others think.
I use my awards as doorstops. Others are in the office or in little cubbyholes in our library – they go between the books, because they actually look like arty pieces.
What interests me about life most is people, and the why of the world. That's what theatre looks at: it examines life, and gives it a cohesiveness that life doesn't have.
If you think you are beautiful in a scene, you will come across as beautiful. I don't think looks are important; I think what's important is if someone is sexy.
People who are exceptionally intelligent are often lonely because there are few people as intelligent as them. I have two little children, and everyone says: 'I hope they're doing well in school. I hope they're bright.' And I think: 'Why would anyone want their children to be the brightest?' Academia is a lonely world.
You can be moved by a performance on set, but when you see it on screen, it does nothing. Yet there will be someone you simply didn't notice on set that on screen: bam!
In the area we live, there's a large show of children who run from one house to another house to another house. That's lovely because it means all the children play together, and all the adults get to sit around and have coffees and read the papers or go to the park.
I spent my teenage years in Paris when my dad was stationed there, and I'd look at women in their forties and think, 'That's the age I want to be.'
I've often sat down with people talking about a film I've been in, and they haven't realised I was in it.
I feel as though my life is bathed in golden sunlight. And the really wonderful thing is that I know it.
I can sleep anywhere! I can come off stage during the interval of a play, lie down for four minutes then wake up feeling better.
If you're constantly frightened of being unhappy, how bloody exhausting must that be?
I think it's very important not to grow up with the unhealthy amount of attention that is sometimes put on people because they are 'actors'.
There are a lot of little lessons that can be taught around the home without sitting a child down and boring them to death with your philosophy of life!
I think change is good because it teaches you that it's nothing to be frightened of.
Every time, at any point of my life, I think now is always the best age to be.
I used to say that theatre was my favourite thing. But the more I do film, the more I appreciate it.
America is such a nation of suppressed emotion, and when you arrive in L.A., you can smell the fear. It's the most alien country I've ever been to.
I love theatre because it's just me and the audience. It's the litmus test in acting, to be able to sustain a performance over one, two or three hours.
Theatre is liberating because it only works if it's truthful – that's what it requires. That's not true of film: the camera does lie.
I think I was brought up with an innate sense of responsibility because my dad was in the Foreign Office where you were in somebody else's country, and you were aware of your behaviour. And my mum worked for the NHS, so you were aware of your responsibility to your country.
I love dressing up. But I'm very low-maintenance; the week before an event, I'll choose something as quickly as possible and that's that. If I can do my own hair and make-up, even better. I like it to be fun.
People are not considerate of others. They tend not to consider themselves as all living together, but see themselves only as individuals.
I really love my food. My favourite thing is artichokes. I am not so much interested in desserts or chocolate, though. I also like to cook with my husband Damian.
You don't learn from good people – they've found what works for them and are completely original; you learn from the people who are bad. You think: 'Oh dear, I'm not going to do that.'
I had a great start in television; the first thing I did was an episode of 'Performance' called 'The Entertainer' with Michael Gambon playing Archie Rice.
I listen to Radio 4 all the time. I didn't go to university, so that's my further education.
So often when you meet child actors, they're weird – they're freaks. No, I mean it, they're really odd people.
Appallingly, I hadn't thought about it one jot. I never daydreamed as a little girl of getting married and having children. I was as surprised to discover I was getting married as I was to discover I was up the duff.
I love live performance and have huge admiration for people who can really do it. It's the same with music: I'll play a record and think that I'm not really into country or ragga. But, if it's live and the musicians are good, I'll listen to pretty much anything.