Dame Maggie Smith feels a bit wobbly when she thinks of her own mortality.
It’s been a tough start to 2016 regarding famous deaths; not long after David Bowie passed away from cancer, so did Maggie’s friends and Harry Potter co-star Alan Rickman. Both men were 69. Maggie’s former National Theatre colleague Frank Finlay also passed away in January, and the 81-year-old actress admits it can be scary to think about death.
“You get a bit wobbly, you know, when you get to a certain age,” she sighed to Britain’s Evening Standard newspaper. “It (mortality) seems to be too near.”
Luckily her career keeps Maggie feeling young, and after five amazing years on Downton Abbey, the star is once again focused on film work. Her 2015 performance in The Lady in the Van earned her critical acclaim, and the Evening Standard even named her best actress at its annual British Film Awards on Sunday (07Feb16).
“Quite honestly, the things one was up against, it doesn’t seem fair,” she said of the accolade. “Brooklyn (starring Saoirse Ronan), and 45 Years in which Charlotte (Rampling) was so terrific, and Sicario (with Emily Blunt), although I didn’t really get that…
“I just feel ever so humble. It does seem awfully unfair and I can’t help feeling it’s because I am so old.”
She adds that the award should be shared with The Lady in the Van director Nicholas Hytner, writer Alan Bennett, co-star Alex Jennings and even the film’s subject, Mary Shepherd.
The film focuses on eccentric old lady Mary, who lives out of her van and forms an unlikely friendship with a man who’s driveway she parks in. Maggie previously helmed the role on stage, and she’s still at a loss about how Mary coped.
“As I have got older I wonder how the hell she did it,” she laughed. “Honest to God, the filming finished me off and that was sort of deluxe. The van was… cleansed from time to time.”
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