Ozark star Laura Linney on working with ‘titan’ Dame Maggie Smith

Laura Linney stars in The Miracle Club (Matt Crossick/PA)
Laura Linney stars in The Miracle Club (Matt Crossick/PA) Laura Linney stars in The Miracle Club (Matt Crossick/PA)

Oscar-nominated actress Laura Linney has spoken about the “real privilege” and “total joy” of working alongside Dame Maggie Smith in The Miracle Club film.

Ozark star Linney, 59, cited Downton Abbey and Harry Potter actress Dame Maggie, 88, as part of the reason she wanted to do the Thaddeus O’Sullivan-directed film, which also stars Misery’s Kathy Bates, and follows a group of women from Dublin who go on a pilgrimage to the French town of Lourdes.

Appearing on The Graham Norton show, Linney said: “She (Dame Maggie) was a big reason for me to do the movie.

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Graham Norton Show Laura Linney during filming for the Graham Norton Show (Matt Crossick/PA)

“She is a titan and every second I had with her I adored. They say don’t meet your heroes, but I was lucky because she is extraordinary. It was a real privilege and a total joy.”

Speaking about being able to promote The Miracle Club amid the US actors’ strike, Linney explained: “Smaller production companies have been granted an interim agreement.”

She added: “I hope it can resolve soon because it is heart-breaking for all of us.”

Actors have been striking since mid-July over issues of fair pay and the use of artificial intelligence (AI) in films.

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Graham Norton Show Dawn French and Adrian Edmondson were also on The Graham Norton Show (Matt Crossick/PA)

Comedian and writer Dawn French also appeared on the show, and promoting her new book, The Twat Files, told Norton: “I suppose I’m trying to start up an anti-perfection league.

“We carry a lot of shame, humiliation and guilt about our mistakes, and I thought, ‘These mistakes are where I have learnt the most and where the fun is’.

“So, if you can wrangle back some of that shame and shine a light on it, it dissipates. If you own your mistakes, it’s very empowering.”

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Graham Norton Show Adrian Edmondson spoke about comedy partner Rik Mayall (Matt Crossick/PA)

The Young Ones star Adrian Edmondson, whose autobiography Berserker! was released last month, spoke about his late friend and comedy partner Rik Mayall, saying: “Ours was a dangerous partnership – we called our stuff ‘absolute bollocks at 100 miles an hour’.

“It was about hysteria and that meant hitting each other. There was an awful lot of stunt work.”

Mayall, also known for TV hits such as Bottom, The New Statesman and Blackadder, died aged 56 in 2014 and had also appeared as part of the Dangerous Brothers duo with long-term collaborator Edmondson.

BBC sitcom The Young Ones, about an anarchic group of student housemates, first aired in 1982, and Edmondson said of the show: “People thought they had seen nothing like it, but I just thought we, as a double act, were in a long line from Laurel and Hardy, Morecambe and Wise and Peter Cook and Dudley Moore.”

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Rik Mayall death The Young Ones (left to right) Vyvyan played by Adrian Edmondson, Neil played by Nigel Planer, Mike played by Christopher Ryan and Rick played by Rik Mayall (BBC/PA)

“In our heads we were Wile E. Coyote and Roadrunner, but now when I see it, I think we were insane.”

Other guests on the show included comedian London Hughes, with a performance from the Sugababes.

The Graham Norton Show airs on BBC One at 10.40pm and is also available on BBC iPlayer.