Things are different these days for Olivia Colman. When Vogue met the actor (and October cover star) in London this summer, she was awaiting guests in a palatial townhouse crowded with paintings and plush, gilded furniture. “It turns out, you play the queen a few times and then they give you this,” she explains. No matter, however: She could still spare a moment to answer our 73 Questions.
Meandering through her manse, the actor, who will appear as Queen Elizabeth II in The Crown’s much anticipated third season (out this November), humorously describes her rollicking career path, unpacks various Britishisms, amends her wonderful Oscar acceptance speech, and makes a show of pronouncing Yorgos Lanthimos’s name the right way.
But first, the basics: Her first-ever acting role? Jean Brodie (as in, The Prime of Miss…) at 16. The show she grew up watching constantly? ABC’s soapy, Denver-based drama Dynasty. How does she know when she’s nailed a scene? “I think you know when you haven’t nailed it,” she says.
Colman isn’t too keen on self-description (“I think it’s peculiar to describe oneself,” she demurs), but she knows precisely what her brand of humor is—“Quite dark, a bit culty, probably not for your mum”—and what she needs to make a character work (“Good lines and comfy shoes”); not to mention what she likes (big, comfy pants; Barack Obama) and dislikes (the red carpet; selfies).
In other words, she’s not so different from you or me, right? Well, perhaps not. Who is Colman expecting over, anyway? “My mum and some rowdy friends, the Rolling Stones, and some Danish royalty.” Why, of course.