Wednesday, April 27, 2011
10 minutes with Thandie Newton
15 Apr 2011
The fashionable film star talks protests, rehab and practical jokes with Hannah Nathanson
You studied social anthropology at Cambridge, would you have joined the recent protest?
God, yes! I think that protest was hugely significant. The government should take into account the fact that people have taken to the streets unhappy and allow that to be part of the ongoing dialogue.
How are the cuts affecting you?
It's always the arts. It's the most obvious place to make cuts, but it's also the place everyone goes when they need their broken hearts mended.
Who are you wearing today?
Jonathan Saunders. I get a huge amount of attention when I wear his designs. They flatter me and make me feel unique.
Would you feel comfortable wearing John Galliano?
If someone's gone into rehab, I'm not thinking about their clothes. This is a much bigger deal than clothes; this is about a human being who's trying to check out of life.
Would you be willing to forget about what he said?
It goes way beyond what was said and any insults or offence taken. This is a human being who is in pain and I hope to God that he finds a way through that. I will be there to applaud him.
You obviously feel strongly about it…
It makes me emotional to talk about it.
Let's change the subject. What do you do when you're bored?
I play practical jokes.
Do you have a signature prank?
Growing up in Cornwall, we used to play a joke called 'shitty handbag'.
Goodness. How does that work?
We'd scoop up hot, fresh horse poo, put it in an inexpensive handbag and leave it on the roadside. We'd then hide in the bushes nearby until some kind, honest person would come along and pick up the handbag thinking it had been accidentally dropped and look inside.
Did you run away at that point?
No, they'd be hit in the face by this steaming poo and at that moment we'd scream 'shitty handbag!' and then run off. It provided hours of fun. I played a version of it on Graham Norton when I went on his show.
Have you ever had your comeuppance?
Filming Mission: Impossible II, my co-star Richard Roxburgh got me good. It's a gorgeous feeling, though, when you think, 'Oh my God, someone's left a poo in my handbag!' and then you realise that it's actually a squashed Mars bar. It's a sense of relief followed by good humour.
Thandie Newton is ambassador for the British Designers Collective, a unique collaboration between Value Retail and the British Fashion Council (01869 245 618; bicestervillage.com)