Actress Helen McCrory has urged actresses to avoid being too sexy in their roles in order to stop future women in the industry having to rely on their looks.
The Peaky Blinders star, 51, from London, argues that parts which emphasise the sexuality of female characters aren’t reflective of real life and could sustain the issue of women being judged by their appearances.
Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Desert Island Discs, the mother-of-two said: ‘What you do as an actress is you make sure that when you get a part you don’t make it dependent on your sexuality… because that’s not going to make it easier for the women behind you.’
Helen added that actresses need to ‘look to ourselves’ to stop female performers from having to rely on how they look.
Actress Helen McCrory has urged actresses not to make their roles too sexy in order to stop future women in the industry having to rely on their looks. Pictured at the Baftas in 2019
The star, who played powerful gangland matriarch Polly Gray and appeared in raunchy scenes with a toyboy lover in the BBC Two period drama series, has had her fair share of sexy roles.
In 2016, Helen played the sexually infatuated Hester Collyer in The Deep Blue Sea at the National Theatre in London.
In ITV’s Leaving in 2012, she played a hotel manager who has an affair with a man 20 years her junior. The following year she played an aerospace engineer drawn into a passionate affair with a younger male student in the film Flying Blind.
At the time she admitted her Homeland star husband Damien Lewis convinced her to do nude scenes, telling her she was ‘mad’ to turn down roles because of them.
Helen played an aerospace engineer drawn into a passionate affair with a younger male student (played by Najib Oudghir, pictured together) in the film Flying Blind
In ITV’s Leaving in 2012, Helen played hotel manager Julie Ranmore who has an affair with a man 20 years her junior
She explained: ‘He said to me, “I think you’re mad to always say, no, no, no. It’s bonkers.” So I listened to him and I took the role. And I’m really happy that I did.
‘It was totally freeing. In fact, I doubt I shall ever be clothed on screen again!’
However, Helen remains adamant that any intimate scene is key to the story. In 2013, she told The Daily Telegraph in 2013: ‘Just a week ago I was offered a part where I was a bit concerned there was more sex than talking.
‘It’s great to still be offered that stuff. But whatever the part, I’ve always been more concerned about the story I’m telling and telling it accurately than how I look.’
Helen insists male and female actors are still not treated equally, despite many screen writers ‘serving women fantastically’.
Helen, pictured as Polly Gray in Peaky Blinders, insists male and female actors are still not treated equally, despite many screen writers ‘serving women fantastically’
She said on Desert Island Discs: ‘As an actress you know that you’ll have put filters on, you’ll have had makeup on, you’ll have had lighting.
‘I don’t look like I look like on screen in life. Nobody does.’
Helen and Damian met in 2003 while treading the boards of Five Gold Rings at London’s Almeida, with the actress revealing last year it was ‘love at first sight’.
They moved to Los Angeles in the late half of 2007 while Damian filmed NBC-TV crime drama Life, but moved back to north London in 2009.
Helen and husband Damian Lewis (pictured in July last year) met in 2003 while treading the boards of Five Gold Rings at London’s Almeida, with the actress revealing last year it was ‘love at first sight’