Olivia Colman was reluctant to play Miss Havisham in Great Expectations because her friends Gillian Anderson and Helena Bonham Carter had already portrayed the character.
Charles Dickens’s classic novel tells the story of young orphan Pip, who meets the mysterious and eccentric Miss Havisham, a wealthy spinster who was jilted at the altar and lives in her decaying mansion in her wedding dress.
The Oscar-winning actress admitted in an interview with BBC News that she was hesitant about taking on a role that her friends had portrayed already.
“I really did struggle with the idea of being compared with my mates,” she shared. “I did want to play (Miss Havisham) so I thought, ‘Well, it’s what happens with all actors. You all end up playing the same parts sometimes, and that’s okay.’ So hopefully Gillian and Helly don’t think I’m doing a terrible job of this!”
Colman’s The Crown co-star Anderson played Miss Havisham in a 2011 TV adaptation, while Bonham Carter portrayed the classic literary character in a 2012 movie version.
The 49-year-old revealed that she was initially worried she had not prepared enough for the series because she had worked on projects back-to-back but she felt the character as soon as she put on the costume and had her hair and make-up done.
“(I said to myself,) ‘Oh yeah, ace. I can feel it now,'” she added.
Great Expectations, starring Fionn Whitehead as Pip, premieres in the U.S. and U.K. on Sunday.
– Cover Media