Emily Mortimer: Why directing made me feel powerful

The actress is making a BBC adaptation of Nancy Mitford's novel The Pursuit Of Love.

Emily Mortimer says going behind the camera made her feel “suddenly powerful”.

The actress, 49, is directing a BBC adaptation of Nancy Mitford’s novel The Pursuit Of Love.

She told Harper’s Bazaar UK: “As an actor, you are infantilised and told what to do all the time.

“You’re literally given pocket money, woken up by somebody, picked up here and taken there and you’re powerless. I am very good at that.

“But suddenly to be in charge of this whole system… I have a very awkward relationship with authority – I have none, basically.

Emily Mortimer was interviewed by Harper’s Bazaar (Harper’s Bazaar)

“I don’t like to upset anybody, and I find any confrontational conversation really stressful.”

She said of directing the TV drama, starring Lily James: “For the first time in my life, I found myself able to be quite direct.

“I do think it’s important to know that you can do it. It’s cool to be a woman of our age who’s suddenly powerful, in charge, and to feel that’s OK.

“And the amazing thing about directing is that there’s no time to think at all – unlike acting, when you have a lot of time both before and during the process to sit and think about how you’re going to humiliate yourself on an international level.

“I felt weirdly happy doing it (directing). Though it’s going to be horrendous when people judge it, because if it’s bad, it’s totally my fault.”

On novelist Mitford’s writing, Mortimer, who also penned the drama, said: “We’re living in a time when you feel nervous about saying anything, but this female voice is so unafraid.”

The May issue of Harper’s Bazaar is on sale from today (Wednesday). 

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