What does the quintessential British woman look like?Beloved British actor Kristin Scott Thomas thinks she knows – at least in comparison to the French.Well, scratch that – and not just because that kind of thinking can lead you into trouble in the bedroom.
I doubt she’ll miss the devotion of an anonymous British woman.One thing’s for sure: she’s certainly no fan of mine."I think that sort of stuck and it was very, very difficult for me to shake off for a long time," she sighs."It put me off doing a lot of work in England, because I just got bored playing 'Lady this' and 'Lady that'.Kristin Scott Thomas can still remember the first review she ever read of her own work.
It was in 1986, for her film debut, Under the Cherry Moon, a bizarre vanity project starring the diminutive artist formerly known (and now indeed known again) as Prince. "It said: 'Kristin Scott Thomas is a better cure for insomnia than a glass of warm milk.' " Almost a quarter of a century later, she still looks hurt by it. "Today, we're back in Paris, the city Scott Thomas has called home for the past 30 years.It was a most extraordinary experience, and I was aware of that because I was working with Anthony Minghella and Ralph Fiennes and all these extraordinary people. And I never really got to enjoy the pain." She blushes for a second. " In truth, it was not a film that changed things for her but a play.Appearing in the title role in a 2001 Parisian production of the Racine tragedy Bérénice, the experience "made me braver and loosen up towards things that are maybe going to hurt for a bit", she reflects.Needless to say, I used to be a Kristin Scott Thomas fan.But I’m reconsidering every tear I shed for her classic doomed love story with every reread of this dispiriting attack on us Brits.Not long out of drama school, the then 25-year-old actress was plucked from a routine Parisian audition by the purple one to play a topless socialite. While we may regard her as the most terribly English of actresses – with her cut-glass accent and her vaguely haughty air – in truth she has been adopted by the French. "I feel like I'm French now." It's not just that this is where she shared a flat on the Rive Gauche (along with a Burgundy farmhouse, an hour and a half south of the city) with her former husband of 17 years, the fertility doctor François Olivennes.