Entertainment

I still cry when I watch my Breathe role – Claire Foy

The actress plays the wife of a man suffering from polio in her latest film.

Claire Foy has said she has still not recovered from playing the wife of a man suffering from polio in her latest film, and cries every time she watches it.

The Crown star takes on the role of Diana Cavendish in Breathe, the true story of Robin Cavendish, whose life takes a dramatic turn when the illness leaves him paralysed.

Foy’s Diana brings him home from the hospital to encourage him to lead a long and fulfilled life, and the actress told the Press Association: “I always feel a responsibility to any character I’m playing, if people are going to be watching it and they are going to be feeling, and they want to see the truth of what their lives are like reflected back at them.

Breathe Screening – BFI London Film Festival 2017
Foy, front right, and the Breathe team at the Odeon in Leicester Square (Ian West/PA)

“They don’t want to see me going ‘aaaah’ so I always feel that pressure and responsibility but I suppose with this I just felt the responsibility of doing that for Diana, I didn’t want to let her down.”

Foy said a particular challenge came from maintaining her character’s stiff upper lip and composure, adding: “That was hard. I was exhausted. I had several days where I was genuinely bawling my eyes out and then when we had to start acting, I had to go (deep breath) and it was beautiful but really I haven’t recovered, I cry every time I watch it, it’s ridiculous.”

The star, who is best known for playing the Queen in Netflix series The Crown, said playing another period character gave her pause, because she was worried they were too similar.

The Crown Premiere – London
Claire Foy at the premiere of The Crown (Ian West/PA)

She said: “I was quite concerned. Obviously it was different circumstances and context but I was slightly concerned by the fact that I was playing someone who was very strong and from the same era and who had amazing strength and an incredible keep calm and carry on spirit, I was a bit worried about that but then I just had to look myself in the mirror and say ‘don’t be an idiot, get on with it’, and know they are different people and just accept it.”

The movie marks the directorial feature debut of Lord Of The Rings star Andy Serkis, who was in post-production on a version of The Jungle Book starring Benedict Cumberbatch, Cate Blanchett and Christian Bale when the window to make Breathe opened up.

The actor, who has pioneered motion capture techniques as Gollum in the fantasy series and as Caesar in Planet Of The Apes, said: “I’m so glad it’s worked out this way actually because, as Robin and Diana thought outside the box and smashed preconceptions, I feel this does for me because people did expect me to make a performance-capture film first and foremost, so I like bucking expectations.”

Breathe is released in UK cinemas on October 27.

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