adidas mens running shoes Julie Walters on cutting off her hair to step into shoes of heroine politician
Julie Walters on cutting off her hair to step into shoes of heroine politicianROLE of Mo Mowlam in new TV drama was impossible for Julie Walters to turn down.00:00, 30 JAN 2010Updated16:33, 1 JUL 2012Get daily updates directly to your inbox+ SubscribeThank you for subscribing!
Could not subscribe, try again laterInvalid Email
Most actresses would wear a bald cap. They’d spend hours in make up until they were transformed into someone who could portray a middle aged woman losing her hair to chemotherapy.
Not Julie Walters. If she was going to portray Mo Mowlam as she battled the brain tumour that had grown inside her for 30 years, she wouldn’t be using prosthetics. She’d shave her hair off.
The actress had reservations about how convincingly she could portray the politician.
She said: “She was the exact opposite of me physically. I thought it would be like asking Daniel Craig to play Gerry Adams.”
Once in the make up artist’s chair, she feared a dodgy scull cap would rendering her interpretation unbelievable.
She said: “I didn’t have even my glasses on and I could see the line of the cap.
“So I just thought, ‘This is dreadful,
we can’t do this. What if I shave my head?’
“I think they were waiting for me to come to that conclusion myself, because it’s a lot to ask someone.
“I wasn’t completely bald, so I look very, very weird. They wanted me to keep hair at the sides, so I was bald on the top, had white hair round the side and brown at the back. I looked like a badger.
“It felt terrible being bald. It was fine at work, but when I got home I didn’t want the family to see me.”
Julie’s dedication to the part of the former Northern Ireland Secretary of State didn’t surprise those who gave her the part.
The Channel 4 drama’s director Philip Martin said: “It was the best thing to do, because high definition filming is so remorseless in its scrutiny,
and you’d be able to see the joins on any fakery.
“But she just did it without any fuss. She’s an extraordinary person, to do something like that. That’s why she is who she is.”
The drama took two years to make. Commissioned by ITV, it was written by Neil McKay, whose See No Evil: The Moors Murderers was one of the most talked about British dramas of the last decade.
He wanted to tell the story of a woman battling a disease, who happened to be one of the country’s most high profile politicians, one who married Jon Norton later in life.
Neil said: “We thought her story was pretty remarkable, even if she had not been Secretary of State for Northern Ireland. Here was a woman who had a serious illness, much more serious than she let on to people.
“She dealt with it soon after she’d married Jon and then this illness happened.
“If you add on the fact she had to cope with illness as well as trying to unlock the conflict in Northern Ireland,
we thought it was a pretty extraordinary recipe for a drama.”