by Matt Grobar
Breaking out with a Golden Globe win and an accompanying Emmy nomination for her portrayal of Queen Elizabeth II in critically acclaimed Netflix drama series The Crown, Claire Foy has quickly risen through the ranks to become one of the most well known and busiest actresses not only in the UK, but in the entertainment community at large. Recently announced to be taking over the role of Lisbeth Salander from Rooney Mara for the upcoming Girl in the Spider’s Web, Foy will vie for a chance at an Oscar this year with her turn in Andy Serkis’ directorial debut, Breathe.
Based on a true story brought to Serkis by producing partner Jonathan Cavendish—the story of the producer’s own parents—the romantic drama centers on Robin Cavendish, who contracts polio while abroad in Africa, attached to a respirator for the rest of his life and supported throughout by his adoring wife, Diana.
Having just completed production on the first season of The Crown when Breathe came around, and with a new baby in tow, Foy initially was looking for a way to say no to the project, hoping to take time away to be with her family. Running into Serkis, her Little Dorrit co-star, in a café and catching up briefly, Foy soon found herself with an offer for the role of Diana—set to star opposite Andrew Garfield—and reading William Nicholson’s script for the film, the opportunity proved too great to turn down.
“I was like, ‘Maybe I just won’t read the script, because I know I’m not going to do it, because I haven’t got the time. I want to go on holiday.’ And the worst thing [my team] ever did was read the script. Bill Nicholson’s script was the most beautiful script I had ever had in my life,” Foy said, sitting down on Friday morning opposite Deadline’s Nancy Tartaglione at the inaugural Contenders London event. “I just read it, beginning to end, and cried—and then I found out it was a true story, and the producer was the child in the story. Then, I met Andrew and I was just like, ‘Oh, god. I walked into this,’ and I just couldn’t not. It was just the most beautiful experience I’ve ever had, really.”
In preparing for the role of Diana, Foy found it crucial to understand the illness of polio and what is required to care for individuals who contract it, speaking first with her own family about the illness, and ultimately meeting with Diana Cavendish herself. “I talked a lot with my family because obviously it’s within living memory, and it’s still around today. I didn’t feel like it was massively important for me to go and meet people who were on a respirator,” the actress shared. “It was important for me to meet Diana, who pretty much is the expert in caring for someone who is on a respirator. It was very important for me to get the technical aspects of caring for someone like that right, but from her perspective, as opposed to polio as a whole.” Continue reading ‘Breathe’s Claire Foy On Lessons Gleaned From Inspirational True-Life Story