Olivia Williams: ‘I have unattractive knees. They have taken offence at my scathing remarks and decided to stop functioning’

Born in London, Olivia Williams, 53, studied at Cambridge University and Bristol Old Vic Theatre school before joining the RSC. Her movies include The Postman, The Sixth Sense, Rushmore and The Father, and her TV work includes Friends, the British remake of Call My Agent! en The Crown. She is in Marys Seacole at the Donmar Warehouse in London tot 4 Junie. She has two daughters with her husband, the actor Rhashan Stone, and lives in London.

Wanneer was jy die gelukkigste?
People are often traumatised by the sleeplessness in the first years of their children’s lives, but I was insanely happy to be married and have two children. The only dark cloud was how much we were loathed for having babies who slept through the night.

What is your greatest fear?
Complacency.

What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?
Complacency.

Wat was jou verleentste oomblik?
For complicated reasons involving a door that was supposed to be locked being unlocked, my emerging unexpectedly on to the stage, bare-arse first, in the closing scene of The Changeling.

Afgesien van 'n eiendom, wat is die duurste ding wat jy het gekoop?
An electric car.

What makes you unhappy?
Rubbish left out on the street on the wrong day.

Wat hou jy die meeste van jou voorkoms??
I have very unattractive knees. They have clearly taken offence at my scathing remarks and have decided to stop functioning, as well as being ugly. I should have been nicer about them while they still worked.

Wat is u kosbaarste besitting??
My husband gave me a ring that is the only thing he owns that belonged to his mother. She died when he was 11.

What would your superpower be?
Making people laugh.

If you could bring something extinct back to life, what would you choose?
Die Ecnomiohyla rabborum or Rabbs’ fringe-limbed tree frog – relatively recently lost – has a couple of pleasing eccentricities. It fed its young on its own skin, and had a slight ability to hang-glide from tree to tree, thanks to its disproportionately large, webbed feet.

Who is your celebrity crush?
I’ve always had a thing for dancers: Nureyev as a child. Baryshnikov as a teenager. Akram Khan.

What did you want to be when you were growing up?
My mother says I had a plan to be a farmer’s wife and a violinist, going to concerts at the Royal Albert Hall in my tractor.

What is your guiltiest pleasure?
Winceyette.

Wanneer het jy laas gehuil, en waarom?
In rehearsals. The play is very funny about mothers and daughters, but one of the gags hit a raw nerve.

What would you like to leave your children?
No clutter.

Wat is die naaste wat jy het kom dood?
Undiagnosed VIPoma in 2018.

What has been your closest brush with the law?
Emerging from the womb of a barrister.

Wat hou jou snags wakker?
All the things I ought to have done.

Tell us a joke
A man walks into a gym and says: “I want to learn to do the splits.” The instructor asks: “How flexible are you?” He says: “I can’t do Tuesdays.”

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