McElhone in June 2009
|Born||Natasha Abigail Taylor
14 December 1969
Walton-on-Thames, Surrey, England
|Education||St. Mary’s Hall School for Girls, London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art|
|Spouse(s)||Martin Hirigoyen Kelly (m. 1998; his death 2008)|
|Parent(s)||Roy Greenslade (step-father) and Noreen Taylor|
I always think I love work, and I knew early on that I wanted to be an actress. Then I meet people who have truly dedicated their lives to acting, and I realise that I'm so completely in the back seat.
I play Nitin Sawhney's 'Letting Go' repeatedly, nonstop. I find it transformative. I'm so glad iPods were invented so I didn't have to drive everyone around me mad with the repetition.
I'm not religious. I was as a child, and like lots of people, I suppose, rapidly became very disillusioned with the whole thing. I also feel that organised religion has caused far more problems than it has solved.
My stepfather introduced me to The London Library when I was about 18; the clientele has definitely changed since then, but it is still a wonderful oasis in the middle of London.
My concentration span is truly that of a gnat. Some people have this ladder, and that's all there is – the ladder. I have the ladder, too, but there's a building around it with scaffolding, and lots of windows for me to peek into. Then suddenly I'll remember, 'Oh, there's the ladder. I should be concentrating on that.'
My grandparents never understood why my mother Noreen chose such exotic names for her children: Damon and me. My granny insisted on calling my brother Dermot – a good Irish name – until she died; I was just known as 'wee one.'
I always keep myself busy. I'm writing. Or I'm creating something. Or I'm doing stuff with the kids. I'm up incredibly early in the morning; I go to bed incredibly late at night.
It's how the '70s were for movies, the 2000s are for TV. I think it's a phenomenal time for TV and to be involved in it.
Living with very limited expectations is a much more immediate way of living. You really do just make the best of everything you have. I guess kids have that ability; they wait in joyful anticipation of something rather than that sense of entitlement.
Mum left school at 15, and after a few years of modelling and dating jazz musicians, was married by 21 to my father, Mike Taylor, a journalist on the 'Daily Mirror.' They had my brother and me pretty quickly and had split up by the time I was two. I don't really have any memories of them as a couple.
I was brought up by a Marxist rationalist stepfather, so I don't believe in the supernatural or religion or horoscopes, and the absolute nature of death is quite helpful for me. My husband was there, then he wasn't.
I don't believe in categorising a gender, as it makes for discord. People always say, 'That's what men are like' or, 'That's what women do'; I don't really feel that at all. I think that's because I have two fathers, three brothers, a husband and two sons. I'm surrounded by maleness, and I couldn't possibly summarise them into a type.
I'm very different to my mum. I'm not as beautiful as she is, nor – she probably despairs about this – as groomed. I certainly rebelled against her idea of looking well turned-out. I spent several years with a shaved head in jeans and baggy shirts.
In terms of 'Solaris,' I didn't really think about the religious aspect an awful lot. There's one scene at a dinner party, and it's discussed, but it wasn't an overwhelming theme for me.
Growing up, I wasn't allowed dolls, and my brothers weren't allowed guns. I inherited my brothers' clothes. I was never dressed in pink, and they were never dressed in blue; there were none of those rules that people still bizarrely subscribe to.
Some actors are like flowers basking in the sun – they love the attention, and the fans get what they want. With me it's different. I know the fans aren't getting what they want. And I'm certainly not getting what I want.
My granny was very concerned that we weren't baptised – Mum had been desperate to escape her own Catholic upbringing. But Granny thought we were blighted. Whenever we turned up at her house, she would flick holy water – from the font she kept by the door – over us, in the hope that it would save us from damnation.
I think the difference between finding happiness, or moments of happiness, is how you choose to interpret things. That's a rather shocking responsibility. That we're responsible for our own happiness. It's not those around us.
I happen to find motherhood a very natural state, but I know a lot of other people don't.
My kids always say to me, 'Can we watch TV?' I say, 'Absolutely!' because then I can get something done. But then they say, and I wait for it, 'But can you watch with us?' My moment of freedom vanishes. So not only do I not think TV's that great and I hate sitting in front of it, but I have to with them.
I think it's incumbent on actresses to bring something else to the part which isn't in the script.
I first met my husband when I was 15. He was very cool, in a band, all that kind of thing, but he took a long time to grow up. Our paths crossed again 10 years later, and after about two weeks I knew that was it. I'm glad I met him when I did, even though I was fairly young. Because I think sometimes you can crystallise into singledom.
I have a massive divide between being a competent human being and being completely hopeless, when it comes to logic.
I feel awful for women who are trying to raise kids on their own, with zero income and no fathers present – that's single motherhood.
Death is final. No it is not just final, it's worse than that, it's diminishing: the dead continue to decrease, to occupy less space.
I grew up with my stepfather in Brighton, but I did spend a lot of time with my natural father, and I was loved by both, so I suppose the advantage of this was that I wasn't bound by one set of experiences; I always had an alternative.