For years, actor Kristin Scott Thomas has perfected the role of the always-in-bloom English rose. From the Oscar-winning English August, to Four Weddings And A Funeral, to her more recent period comedy Easy Virtue, Thomas has represented to perfection the living portrait of English upper-crust serenity.
Which is why, at her prime, the actor quietly moved to Paris and over the last two years has spent her time playing more experimental characters — including an ex-con and a journalist. That’s also what brought her down to Mumbai. Thomas is presently in town for the screening of her French film Sarah’s Key at the ongoing Rendez-vous Film Festival. On her first visit here, Thomas has already spent two weeks in the country learning yoga and re-grouping her mind in Karnataka.
“I have been staying at the Swassthya Ayurveda Retreat Village at Bommura Agrahara in Karnataka. It’s fantastic all this time I’ve had to learn yoga and meditate. My mind is at peace. Ideally, I’d like to come down every year and do this,” says the 50-year-old actor, glowing in the hot Mumbai sun sitting by the poolside at Taj Mahal Hotel, Colaba. “I like to take six months off filming every year and go on a holiday. This has helped me a lot,” she adds.
The actor moved to Paris to delve more into French experimental cinema because she simply got tired of being pigeonholed as the rich Brit. “It’s much more fun to play characters that are dynamic, energetic and have lot strength. In England, I got stereotyped as an upper class aristocrat. That’s when I did movies such as Partir, Tell No One and I’ve Loved You For So Long,” she says. Thomas has also won many awards for each of these roles.
The actor has also retreated from mainstream cinema to stage and played plenty of roles at Broadway and Westend, including Chekov’s Seagull. But Thomas is now looking for another shift. “Now everyone wants me to play these sad, tragic roles. I want to do comedy,” she says. Her last Hollywood release was the 2009 screen adaptation of Confessions of a Shopaholic. “I’d love to do a funny Hollywood movie,” she says.
Adding to her repertoire though, Thomas’ last release, Nowhere Boy, captured John Lennon’s early years before he became a Beatle. She played Aunt Mimi, the person who raised and parented Lennon. “It’s a bit daunting to play historical characters because you have to respect the memory of those people. I would’ve loved to be cast as Margaret Thatcher, which Meryl Streep is playing, though I think she will do a fabulous job of it,” confesses Thomas, speaking of a role she would have liked to play.
Thomas will be romancing Ethan Hawke in a Polish film by Pawel Pawlokowski, which is an adaptation of Douglas Kennedy’s The Woman In The Fifth, and another French film, Bel Ami, with actor Robert Pattison. “These are interesting new roles of an older woman in love with younger men. I am really looking forward to these two movies,” she says.