Marianne Gray talks to the down-to-earth Oscar nominee Brenda Blethyn about her latest film
Brenda Blethyn doesn’t really understand why people continually ask her why she plays dowdy, often downtrodden characters, like Cynthia, the despairing mother in Secrets & Lies, or James McAvoy’s heartbroken mother in Atonement, or Mrs Bennet in Pride and Prejudice, who horse-trades her daughters. Or, indeed, like her latest role, the anxious Elizabeth, an ignorant, conservative, prejudiced woman, in London River.
‘I just don’t see it like that,’ says Blethyn, who has made a brilliant career out of playing understated, restrained women. ‘Everyone must be portrayed. Everyone must have a voice, even the flawed ones. I don’t try to smooth out the edges.