She is known as much for her acting as for her distinct dressing style but Oscar-nominated actor Helena Bonham Carter, who is competing to take home the golden statuette for her portrayal of the Queen Mother in The King’s Speech, slams critics for poking nose in her gypsy fashion sense.
“On the whole I get things deliberately wrong. I provide a service because people don’t feel intimidated. Perfection is completely overrated. At least I make someone else go, ‘Yay, it’s OK to look catastrophically dressed’,” she says.
“Like the two shoe thing (at Golden Globes) – that was indecision. I don't think I dress eccentrically. I'm just not conservative, I guess - I dress according to what like. And I'm not a mannequin, as you can tell,” adds the actor, who predicted her Oscar dress will be a ‘catastrophe’ after her Golden Globe stint.
“There's always indecision. Of course I want to have fun. But I promise you I'll wear the same colour shoes,” says the Vivienne Westwood regular.
Coming to her role, the 44-year-old reveals playing the Queen Mother was not easy.
“It’s always tricky to play someone who actually lived. With the Queen Mother... she has a soft, sweet, gentle exterior and underneath she has quite another personality going on and I wanted to play that duality and that underneath she was very strong,” she says.
Bonham Carter also had to undergo a lot of preparations to get into the skin of the character.
“I did meet people who knew her quite well and I read some biographies. William Shawcrass happened to publish the official biography just when I got the part, but it was so bland that it gave me no hint to the real woman,” she says.
“Hugo Vicker wrote another one that was much more astute. He gave me the Cecil Beaton quote that described her as a marshmallow but made with a welding machine… And by meeting lots of people, I’ve built a picture of her but… I had to work out what was suitable to the story,” she adds.
The actor was also gaga over director Tom Hooper. “Tom is very clear, very clever and it’s quite good playing the Queen because I get treated like the Queen. He was very polite to me. He is someone who sees the picture in his head,” she says.
“He works incredibly hard and expects us to work incredible hard too. There’s something unstoppable about Tom. A bit like Tim, you never know what’s in the head until you see it,” she adds.
Collin Firth mentioned a ‘triangle of man love’ existing on the sets of the film. Asked how was it working with him and Geoffrey Rush, she quips: “Well, on the set it was really about the two boys, Colin and Geoffrey. As long as Geoffrey was there Colin didn't even notice me, not until Geoffrey finally finished his scenes and went off. I said to Colin when he realised I was there, 'Well, I have been playing your wife, love'.”
She has also been described often to play pre-20th century characters. Asked if it doesn’t stereotype her, she says, “It is good for me to be seen as vaguely normal in a film (The King’s Speech) instead of being dressed as a witch or some strange character.”
Bonham Carter is also excited about her next outing, the last installment in the Harry Potter franchise.“It's such fun to be involved, to be part of that world. I love witches and magic and dress-up and make-believe,” she says.
A regular in her filmmaker partner Tim Burton’s outings, she will be also seen in his Dark Shadows.
“He casts me with great reluctance because he doesn’t want to be so obvious and he’s worried about nepotism and all sorts of things,” she reveals.