Colman at the 2014 British Independent Film Awards
|Born||Sarah Caroline Olivia Colman
30 January 1974
Norwich, Norfolk, England
|Spouse(s)||Ed Sinclair (m. 2001)|
I don't think you can cry if the script is rubbish. I have to feel it; it's as simple as that. It's just like if you're watching something moving, and you feel yourself welling up. It's the same thing. You're just being carried along with the story. There's nothing magical about it. I think I'm in touch with my emotions, and I can't help it.
I find Shakespeare terrifying. When Simon Russell Beale does a speech, I understand every word of it, but if I did the same speech, people would be going, 'Huh? What?'
Everything with me is pretty close to the surface, but having kids has completely ruined my emotional equilibrium.
My daughter's still so tiny at the moment; she's just a sweet little meaty thing. But of course, you always think about what you want for them, don't you, and like any parent I want my children to be happy more than anything.
I spent years commuting into London when I was working as a temp, and I hated the monotony of it.
I want to be helpful to the charities I support. I think you can dilute it, the more you do. You have to be a bit strong about what you do… otherwise, you risk spreading yourself a bit thin, and you can be less useful.
When you've got children, it's easy to do that thing of keeping a tally of who woke up earliest and whose turn it is to put them to bed. But I think the important thing is to appreciate and love each other and to show that appreciation.
As a child, I thought, 'Once I am a grown-up, there will be no more fear, no more worries,' and it turns out that's not true.
This may sound mad, but you sort of assume that no one's going to watch what you do. You go on set, have a lovely time, and then you forget anyone's going to see it. So it's always a bit of a shock to be recognized. I get terribly embarrassed.
My mum was a nurse, and her passion was geriatric care. I used to love listening to the old people's stories in her nursing home and picturing myself in their place. They'd say, 'I went to school in a horse and cart,' and I'd just think 'Wow!' I'd picture myself in their place – acting was a natural progression.
I remember doing one of those computer careers tests. It told me I'd make an ideal HGV lorry driver because I've got 100 per cent spatial awareness. I'd be able to back them into tight parking spots.
In general, I'm rubbish in heels. I love them, and I own a lot because it's like being in a sweet shop: they're pretty. But I'm not good in them. I don't walk nicely in heels.
I always assumed I would leave drama school and do 'Lady Macbeth' and all sorts of serious things. It just didn't happen.
If I didn't have children I might be more of a lush than I am. I like booze. I struggle with smoking. And I'm a big swearer. I'm trying to rein it in but I do think it's a nice seasoning of language.
Proper love should be utterly supportive and comfortable, and it feels like a raincoat or a jacket potato.
I was always pretty ambitious, although it probably helps that I can't do anything else – apart from cleaning lavatories. But I remember my mum once said, 'I suppose you'll give it a year and see if you can make it as an actress?' And I said, 'No Mum, I think I'll give it 10.'
If a script is good, you are 10 steps into the part just reading it. But my choices are not all down to my taste. It is about people you have worked with before.
I suppose I have played a lot of put-upon women, but it's never bothered me. They've never been weak – they've always got steel in them.
I want everyone to know what they deserve in relationships: that they can demand equality and kindness. Because everyone will have a relationship at some point in their life. It's what we all do, every day, and we need to know how to do it.
I do sometimes wonder if people think, 'Oh we'll have her because she cries well.' The odd thing is I don't really know where it comes from. If the script is good, I find I can usually cry without too much trouble – in fact, the hard thing is trying to get me to stop. But I'm not really a crier in real life. I'm not a dramatic person, you see.
I always assumed I'd be a terribly patient mum but it turns out I'm not!
I think a good dollop of sadness is quite a useful thing in comedy sometimes. I think if everyone's happy all the time, it's a bit dull. It's like salt and caramel – you wouldn't imagine they would go well together, but they do.
I'm not a pin-up, thankfully. I'm not suggesting I feel unconfident. I am beautiful to my husband. I am beautiful to my friends. I feel sexy and all those things with the people I love.
After those first two BAFTAs, I didn't really get offered anything, which makes you think, 'Oh, no!' And, after I finished the second series of 'Broadchurch,' nothing came up for six months, which really is a long time, and I got a bit panicky.
I am just an actor – all I do is I memorise someone else's words and tart around.
I grew up in north Norfolk, which certainly used to have an enormous sense of community. There are more and more second homes there now, so I'm not sure how that has damaged it. But where I live in South London, there is a beautiful community; it's the friendliest place I have ever lived, which comes as a surprise to non-Londoners.
Actually, lots of women, when they're pregnant, feel like steel. They feel incredible.
I feel fortunate that I'm not a beauty. I'm not a classic beauty. I feel it is harder for girls who are like that. There are fewer parts.
I am a bit sickie happy. I am prone to black clouds too, but… I am embarrassed about them. It's like: 'My diamond shoes are too tight. My money clip doesn't fit all my fifties.' I mean – really. Shut up.
The first time I did a school play was the first time I felt I was good at anything at all. I just loved it.
I eat a bit too much; my teeth aren't perfect; I've got eye bags. I look like a normal 39-year-old woman – but in England, no one minds that.
I used to want to be in 'Downton' because I had never been in a period drama, but then I did 'The Suspicions of Mr Whicher' and had to wear one of those frocks and… I didn't feel very comfortable.
If something touches me, I cry. That's it. I'm a bit raw, a bit rubbish, really. Often, a director will say to me, 'I don't think this is a scene where your character cries.' And all I can say is, good luck with that!
Acting is playing, and it is like being a big kid. Yeah, it's great. You get paid.
I've been with my husband and friends for so long, I've forgotten what is unappealing to new people.
You can over-think things. If the script's good, everything you need is in there. I just try and feel it and do it honestly. I also don't learn things for auditions, because I feel like it's just a test of memorising rather than being real.
In fact I was slightly badly behaved at school and got in trouble. I would get a bee in my bonnet about something I thought wasn't right, and I would ape about too, to make everybody laugh. That was my way through my girls' school, because I wasn't very academic.
I don't like the bullying, do-one-over style of comedy. It's so cheap.
If the script's good, everything you need is in there. I just try and feel it, and do it honestly. I also don't learn things for auditions, because I feel like it's just a test of memorizing rather than being real. Maybe every other actor would think that was terrible, I don't know. But it seems to have worked for me, so far.
I had a lovely, feral, free childhood – out and then come back when you're hungry or it gets too dark. I feel slightly cruel that I'm not offering my children the same.
I've always done drama, but I suppose 'Tyrannosaur' was a bit of a watershed moment for me. It was like when Kathy Burke did 'Nil By Mouth' – suddenly, people were saying, 'Oh, she can do that, too.'
It gets slightly daunting if you're watching the telly and everybody's gorgeous. It's just so rubbish. And I'm grateful that it's not so much anymore – it's great to see.
I love my job and I know I am very lucky but still, if you audition and you don't get it, it still affects you.
I can see why people keep having babies. We were looking at a school for my youngest this morning, and there were all these little boys and girls. So sweet. And then the teenagers walk past, and, my God, they're enormous, and I bet they don't kiss their mummies. I'm just going to force my children to remain lovely.
I was never one of those surly teenagers who doesn't smile. My lovely godfather said it was always lovely to see me because I was the only teenager who smiled. And I was so in awe of him, I thought it was one of the best things anyone had ever said to me. So it made me want to live up to what he said.
You see thousands of films you forget the minute you come out of the cinema, don't you? Because they don't mean anything. It's the tough ones like 'Breaking the Waves' and 'Nil By Mouth' that stay with you, that you never forget. I'd like to leave a few of those behind if possible.
I did a forward roll for the kids the other day, thinking it'd be a breeze like it was when I was six, and I had to lie flat for about 20 minutes afterwards – 'Leave mummy alone; she's feeling a bit dizzy.'