In this interview Vanessa Kirby talks to BAFTA Guru about scoring the part of Margaret in The Crown and discusses what it's like to play a real person.
Vanessa Kirby, who plays Princess Margaret on The Crown, had a hunch that the role of the Queen’s sister in the Netflix megaseries would be just right for her. In this interview, she talks about the circumstances that led her to take on the character of Margaret, a role she loves.
"learn your lines inside and out before any audition or production until you can say them backwards and while cooking eggs"
Kirby was wary of trying to become exact replica of her character’s real-life counterpart. At the end of the day, she aimed to capture the “fire inside” her character rather than parroting her exact mannerisms, showing off Margaret’s “vivid and vibrant” essence as she grows from lively teen to angsty adult. In preparation for this role, Kirby read up on the lives of the royals between 1947 and 1965 (the period in which the first two series of The Crown take place), watching tonnes of archive footage of the princess and listening to her favourite music.
“the life in between…informs the work that you do”
The royal family, Kirby notes (and show creator Peter Morgan has said something similar), can be hard for many to relate to nowadays. The Crown gives them substance using storytelling and drama, showing us the strain that the rigid rules of the monarchy may put on the royal family and, perhaps, making us feel a little empathy.
Even despite her character’s baggage, Kirby fondly remembers the joy of playing a firebrand such as Margaret alongside Claire Foy as Elizabeth. Her top tips for actors early in their careers are: learn your lines inside and out before any audition or production until you can say them backwards and while cooking eggs, and spend your free time immersed in living life because “the life in between…informs the work that you do.”