“There’s a lot of death on television and in film, but very little, certainly at that time, about grief and what happens next. I think that’s partly because in this country certainly, we’re not very good at it — if you cry, the reaction is mostly ‘Oh don’t cry!’ […] As you know from playing Prince Charles, it’s that sort of stiff upper lip, no emotion whatsoever. It’s within all of us I think, it’s ingrained in us not to let that out. Alice is sort of the opposite — emotionally it’s all on the front foot, everything just comes spilling out of her mouth, she’s always putting her foot in it, she’s very quick to cry, and also not afraid to be lost. She really is completely lost. She’s sort of out of control of everything…”
From The Durrells to Bodyguard and Line of Duty, Keeley Hawes has made her name as an actress who delivers poise and nuance to every role she takes on, whatever the genre or medium. Over the next month she’s set to star in three new highly-anticipated dramas, exploring the complexity of grief in ITV’s Finding Alice and the 1980s AIDS epidemic in Russell T Davies’ It’s A Sin, as well as portraying Roald Dahl’s wife Patricia Neal in the upcoming biopic To Olivia.
Covering the SS21 issue of Rollacoaster, Hawes connects with her The Durrells co-star and The Crown actor Josh O’Connor over Zoom a few days before Finding Alice airs. Reflecting on these roles and the universal themes that link them, Hawes and O’Connor talk everything from navigating production through a pandemic to starting her own production company, and why they’d love to work together again.