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‘There was cruelty and unpleasantness’: Emily Watson on school, stardom and *** scenes in her 50s

The actor grew up in an alleged cult and was expelled after her explicit role in Breaking the Waves. She discusses method acting, the #MeToo movement and mixing work and family

Emily Watson had big plans to turn up for our interview looking immaculately made up, but then family members started getting sick and her morning fell apart. “When my husband’s ill, chaos descends,” she says, with a sigh. Despite this, she doesn’t seem ruffled. If anything, she is serene and calm, her skin glowing and those expressive blue eyes as piercing and soulful in life as they are on screen.

We meet at the BFI Southbank in London, a regular haunt of hers over the years, to talk about her new film ***’s Creatures. Dressed in a short black dress, a black corduroy jacket and a black and white scarf, she has a gentle presence. In the film, she plays Aileen, a devoted mother whose love for her son, Brian (Paul Mescal), is tested when he is accused of **** by an old flame, Sarah (Aisling Franciosi).

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