In Yorgos Lanthimos’s “The Favourite,” Olivia Colman delivers a searing and wild performance as Queen Anne, whose tempestuous relationships with courtiers Sarah (Rachel Weisz) and Abigail (Emma Stone) are depicted on screen as wildly sensual.
This marks a change for Colman as an actor, because when Colman spoke to IndieWire in 2016 about “The Night Manager,” one thing she said she loved about the Emmy-nominated role of intelligence operative Angela Burr was that she was never pushed to perform love scenes on the level that co-stars Tom Hiddleston and Elizabeth Debicki were.
As she said then, “We all know each other. We’re friends, we chat after filming, we all have dinner. And they had to touch each other’s bits! I don’t know how they did it. Well done, them. I couldn’t. I’d have to have it rewritten. Just, ‘Cut to post-coitally, not having to do anything onscreen.'”
At the time, this awkwardness wasn’t too much of a problem for Colman, because then, she said, “I don’t play those characters. Thankfully. I’d be too embarrassed. And when I’ve had to do little notes of it, I find it to be so excruciatingly embarrassing because I just forget the line.”
As she added then, “In all other aspects of my job, I feel completely in the moment and committed, but suddenly when you’ve got to pretend to be in love with someone, I find it so embarrassing.”
Here’s what changed for “The Favourite”: her romantic interests were women. “Love scenes with women are much easier,” she said backstage at the Golden Globes, following her win. This is because, she said, “in my head, I was being unfaithful to my husband.”
For Colman, “kissing a man just feels awful because you feel like you’re being naughty. Kissing a woman feels much more fun.”
So, for those hoping to work with Colman in the future, make a note.