Gwendoline Christie has been in a whole host of incredible shows, but the star has just admitted that her character in the new Netflix production Wednesday was actually the first time she ever felt “beautiful on-screen”.
In a new interview with Entertainment Weekly, the forty-four-year-old opened up about the realities of filming the new Tim Burton-directed show. Christie plays a character called Larissa Weems, who is the headteacher of Wednesday Addam’s new school, Nevermore Academy.
“This idea kept coming to me of Larissa Weems being someone who was an outcast, who went to a school for outcasts, that was always second best and was always in Morticia’s shadow,” she said.
“What kept coming to me was this idea of this Hitchcock-style heroine, this screen siren, that maybe that young woman would look to our mystic portal, the cinema, to be an incarnation of her fantasies.”
Christie noted that both Burton and costume designer Colleen Atwood had “exactly the same idea” as her, and so off they went looking at classic horror stars such as Kim Novak and Tippi Hedren for inspiration.
“I wanted to push that idea. I like to transform into characters and people that are very far away from myself and I would never be cast as this part,” she went on to explain. “It was an opportunity to create that and to inhabit that sort of impenetrable, imperious character with that classic idea of femininity.”
However, there was one key difference between Christie’s character in the Netflix show and Hitchcock’s classic heroines. The Game of Thrones star explained that his women “tend to have all sorts of trauma being exacted upon them,” but that Weems was different.
“For this to be a woman who was in charge of her own fate, who was ruthlessly ambitious and who was willingly putting herself into dangerous and extreme situations, was exciting to me.”
Christie did nevertheless use women in Hitchcock movies as a source of inspiration for her acting. “Women in those movies would hold themselves with confidence and grace,” she explained, and so their “different way of moving” can be seen in Weems’ own elegant stance.
The star of The Sandman also credited the hair and makeup department for making her feel transformed in the role. “It is the first time I’ve ever felt beautiful on screen,” she admitted.
“I cannot express my extreme gratitude more heartily to Tim and Colleen and our hair and makeup team. Colleen Atwood is rightfully a legend, and what she does is close to witchcraft in terms of transformation. It is an honour of my life to work with Colleen and to work with Tim.”
Christie continued to explain exactly why Atwood’s work made her feel so different. “The brilliance of Colleen is she is supremely talented. She’s also hugely experienced. That experience cannot be underlined enough because she is able to look at your body and emphasize different elements, emphasize your strong points.
“The way she made me feel was my body felt celebrated and beautiful. Never once did I feel like there was something to hide or something to be ashamed of. She made me feel incredible. She was also enormously collaborative and wanted to know what I thought, which I was quite nervous initially to show her any references, but she welcomed them and she loved them.”
Wednesday is on Netflix and ready to stream for yourselves now.