Meet Laura Haddock, the actor who will rock Downton Abbey in the new movie

This is the date that sticks in the mind of actor Laura Haddock: March 8, 2021. Not only International Women’s Day, but also the day London breaks free from its COVID-19 lockdown during the winter. Like parents around the world, Laura has faced the challenges of distance learning – in her case with her two children, Pip, 6, and Margot, 4, who she shares with her ex-husband, actor Sam Claflin – and is relieved. eventually brought them back to school.

“I drove them across the Kew Bridge in west London to their school and drove them for the first time in months,” he recalls, via a Zoom call from the UK. “It was a sunny day in London, very beautiful weather. And I remember feeling the joy of sharing these moments with other parents, like, ‘Oh my God, we did it. Yes, we did and they are fine. And we’ll be fine.’ We all celebrate this moment like fierce and gentle warrior women.”

Laura Haddocks stars as Myrna Dalgleish and Michael Fox as Andy in Downton Abbey: A New Era.

Laura Haddocks stars as Myrna Dalgleish and Michael Fox as Andy in Downton Abbey: A New Era.

To end her morning, as Laura is enjoying her ride back across the bridge to her house, she receives a call from her agent informing her that director Simon Curtis wants to talk to her about the upcoming film, Downton Abbey: A New Era.

“It was a moment for me that I will always remember,” said the 36-year-old. “When you first start your career, you celebrate every job. I mean, really, really celebrate. You’re like, ‘Yeah!’ You get an adrenaline rush and you’re like a fist pumping the sky. You might go out and have a drink with your friends to really celebrate.”

“But something happens where you forget, you forget how amazing it is to get a job in this game. Because it becomes your career, and you live it in a slightly different way than when you first started when it was everything.”

For Haddock, the pandemic is a reminder of how important it is to never be complacent.

Laura said the pandemic brought her back to the shaky feelings she experienced when she started in the industry, after leaving school at 17 and moving from Hertfordshire to London to study drama before landing small roles in British TV series such as My family and Palace. The pandemic is a reminder of how important it is to never be complacent.

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“One year can look very successful and the next year can be very lonely. This is truly a turbulent career choice. And when we can’t work, we can’t make anything, we can’t tell a story, we can’t do anything. It was a very, very strange and relaxing time.” He stopped. “Actually I don’t really know much about serenity,” he added with a laugh.

Haddock: “I love listening to accent melodies and seeing how they change my body language or rhythmically how they change me.  The accent tells the posture, the way you walk.

Haddock: “I love listening to accent melodies and seeing how they change my body language or rhythmically how they change me. The accent tells the posture, the way you walk.”Credit:Willow Williams

A phone call on March 8 led to Laura being offered the role of Myrna Dalgleish in the first sequel Downton Abbey film, which itself follows from the hit TV series.

A huge fan of award-winning period dramas, Laura was relieved to get the role for one other reason. “It’s always complicated when you’re sent a script, and you’re like, ‘Oh no, I’ll know what happened.’ So you are sure that it will work because otherwise you have ruined it for yourself.

“It happened with [BBC drama] Luther. I got an audition for it, and I had a very serious conversation with my agent. I was like, ‘No, I’m a big player. I’m a big fan of this show. So if I don’t understand, then I will be very upset.’ So you do everything you can to get the job done so you don’t ruin it yourself!” And yes, he got that role too.

With spoilers in mind, Laura hesitates to reveal too many details about her character Myrna in Downton Abbey: A New Era, but it can be revealed that she played a silent movie star, all platinum blonde and vintage Hollywood glamour. Sitting with the rest of the cast in their tan outfits on the promotional poster, Myrna glows in a pale mint dress and bright red lips – a visual clue to viewers on what to expect.

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“In terms of films and characters that are so well established, Myrna Dalgleish stepped in and was electrifying,” Laura said. “He’s a very, very different energy, a very different character to anyone else in the film. He’s a bit of an anomaly. He just walked in with an unapologetic energy. ”

It’s rare for an actor to play the role of an actor, and although Myrna’s diva-like qualities feel far removed from Laura’s off-screen personality, she finds a way to relate to her.

“If your character does something you personally wouldn’t do, then there comes a hard point where there has to be forgiveness.”

“I really enjoy connecting with this character on multiple levels, one of which is having empathy and acknowledgment for him,” says Laura. “You always have to be in a world where, if your character does something you personally wouldn’t do, then there’s a hard point where there has to be forgiveness.

“I always have to find things that I like. I’m obsessed with the women I play with. Myrna is a complete diva. But there were things he was very insecure about. That insecurity sometimes comes in in a way that looks godlike or demanding, but it’s all about the insecurity.”

Without giving too much away, Myrna’s most distinctive trait is,
well, best suited for silent movies. But it was the aspect of the character that Laura liked the most.

“One thing I’ve realized as an actress is that I love doing accents,” says Laura, who recently adopted a northern English accent in her starring role as Zoe Walker in the Netflix hit. White line.

“Maybe I feel more free in the accent. I love listening to accent melodies and seeing how they change my body language or rhythmically how they change me. The accent tells the posture, the way you walk.”

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“I’ve been doing accents since I was a kid. Very helpful because I have a job I can use, because I don’t know where else it will come in handy!”

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But Laura has found another use for her special skill: it brings added fun to bedtime story sessions with her two children. “Do you know Curious George book?” he asked. “So there’s one about Curious George going to the toy store. There were lots of kids in the toy shop, and they all asked George to buy them all these toys. So I gave all the kids a different accent. One of the kids, I gave him a northern accent – ​​a pretty thick Yorkshire accent.

“I overheard my six-year-old one day reading a book to my four-year-old, and he did the accent I did for the characters in this particular book. He even did a little boy in a northern accent! And he was quite right with it. ”

Could this be a harbinger of the future in the entertainment industry or just a little fun? Laura suggested it could mean something else entirely. “We’ve spent quite a bit of time in America, and it’s really interesting to me how quickly they’re starting to copy. That’s definitely a sign of great empathy. Emotionally, a child aged six and four will very quickly use the same accent as the person they are talking to.

“Yeah, maybe it’s just a nice thing, but it’s a way of making the person they’re talking to feel comfortable,” he added, before the interview ended and he said goodbye – with just a hint of Australian. .

Downton Abbey: A New Era in theaters on April 28.

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