Dame Maggie Smith has two Academy Awards, five BAFTAS, four Emmys, and a Tony Award, along with Screen Actors Guild prizes and Golden Globes for days, but that apparently hasn’t always equated to fulfillment for the “Downton Abbey” star. According to a new interview with Smith in the Evening Standard, the actress was especially underwhelmed by her participation in the “Harry Potter” films, dating back to Chris Columbus’ 2001 “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.”
“I am deeply grateful for the work in Potter and indeed Downton but it wasn't what you'd call satisfying. I didn't really feel I was acting in those things,” Smith said of her turn as Professor Minerva McGonagall in the hit series adapted from the J.K. Rowling novels. Smith also said that she pivoted to screen roles such as in “Harry Potter” and on “Downton Abbey” as Violet Crawley — a performance that has earned her a bounty of accolades that the British actress notoriously, rarely shows up to collect — because the work on stage, her true passion, just wasn’t happening.
'I wanted to get back to the stage so much because theatre is basically my favorite medium, and I think I felt as though I'd left it all unfinished,” she said. “But there wasn't anything that came along.” Indeed, Smith has appeared in dozens of plays dating back to the early 1950s, including countless iterations of Shakespeare. Most recently she reprised her iconic “Downton Abbey” role in Focus Features’ fall screen version of the Julian Fellowes series. Fellowes also wrote the original screenplay for Robert Altman’s 2001 “Gosford Park,” which earned Fellowes an Academy Award win and Maggie Smith a Best Supporting Actress nomination.
Also in the Evening Standard piece, Smith talked about the origins of her acting ambitions in a manner that’s very, well, Maggie Smith. “Honest to God, I have no idea where the urge came from,” she said. “It was such a ghastly time and we didn't go to the theatre. I got into terrible trouble once because the neighbors took me to the cinema on a Sunday. But I had a wonderful teacher, Dorothy Bartholomew, who also taught Miriam Margolyes, and who encouraged me.”
The Morning Watch is a recurring feature that highlights a handful of noteworthy videos from around the web. They could be video essays, fanmade productions, featurettes, short films, hilarious sketches, or just anything that has to do with our favorite movies and TV shows.
In this edition, find out how to make Harry Potter potions like Amortentia and Felix Felicis, with ingredients at home. Plus, listen as an astronaut fact checks notable space movies like Interstellar, Gravity, Armageddon, and more using his NASA experience and vast knowledge of outer space. And finally, see what happens what King of the Hill voice star Pamela Adlon creates voices for cartoon characters she’s seeing for the first time.
First up, on a new edition of How to Drink, get some instructions and recipes on how to make three Harry Potter potions: Amortentia, Felix Felicis, and Pepperup Potion. They won’t have the same effects as those in the movie since that would be preposterous, but they’ll probably taste pretty good, and look infinitely better than that goopy and gross Polyjuice Potion.
Next up, Vanity Fair brought in retired astronaut and engineer Chris Hadfield fact checks space movies like Gravity, Passengers, Armageddon, The Martian, Interstellar, First Man, Hidden Figures, Ad Astra, 2001: A Space Odyssey, Sunshine and even WALL-E. You probably won’t be surprised at some of the stretching of actual science facts in some of these big movies.
Finally, if you need a break from the kids, sit them down to listen to Community star Yvette Nicole Brown read Disney’s Elena and the Secret of Avalor, an adaptation of the crossover television movie between Sofia the First and Elena of Avalor. Stay tuned for more storytime videos from even more famous faces in the coming days and weeks during coronavirus self-quarantine.