Tara Fitzgerald: 'Actors always approach Shakespeare differently. God, it’s daunting'


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The Independent Online

I've played a number of buttoned-up British women There is something in our national characteristic that is naturally repressed, and I do find that fascinating. Why do we repress so much? I suppose I must feel it myself, deep down.

I never watch myself on screen My partner called me into the living-room a few months ago. Sirens [the erotic Australian film in which she starred alongside Hugh Grant] was on. I just thought, "Oh God, no. No." I turned and walked out of the room.

I've yet to read 'Fifty Shades Of Grey' – but I probably will What appeals to me is that, because of this book, women have been given the green light to have such fantasies. Culturally, I find that very interesting.

My phone was bugged years ago but fortunately nothing bad came of it. Generally, being famous is hard work. I only ever wanted fame on my own terms, which was naïve. I didn't understand the rules of engagement, that networking was an essential part of it. I was never very good at that.

I'm full of admiration for Hugh Grant He's an extraordinary man, but to see him use that self-deprecation of his to the most wonderful effect at the Leveson Inquiry was inspiring. He always was terribly eloquent. I just hope he hasn't decided that this is his métier, because we still need him as an actor.

I used to want to be an air hostess I loved the idea of travel, but it isn't what it used to be. I had the glamour of BOAC in mind, not EasyJet.

I've done Shakespeare on stage twice now First was Hamlet with Ralph Fiennes, and now A Winter's Tale for the RSC. An actor always approaches Shakespeare differently. There's a kind of reverence around him, such history. God, it's daunting.

Appearing in a play night after night is a Herculean task But it's like a muscle, and you develop it. I can't imagine sportspeople training day in and day out, but they do; they have to. Same here. And because theatre is hard, it's also satisfying.

They say they don't make actors like they used to It was all so much more rarefied in the past. But I'd love to carry on like Judi Dench and Maggie Smith. In this industry, you can theoretically go on until you drop, ideally somewhere toward the end of Act Three.

I rarely make good friends on film sets I'll meet the same actors on different projects every few years, but in the interim we just get on with our own lives. I hope this means I don't make enemies, because I certainly don't go out deliberately to do so. But I'm sure they're lurking out there somewhere.

Tara Fitzgerald, 45, is an actress. She appears in 'The Winter's Tale' at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon, from 24 January to 23 February. For tickets: 0844 800 1110. It tours the UK from 13 March to 20 April