Samantha Morton on Catherine De Medici: ‘She was a survivor’

The actor who performs the sixteenth century Queen of France within the drama sequence, The Serpent Queen, says the mysterious monarch permeates popular culture in unimaginable methods 

The actor who performs the sixteenth century Queen of France within the drama sequence, The Serpent Queen, says the mysterious monarch permeates popular culture in unimaginable methods 

Through the course of her analysis, Samantha Morton realised Catherine de Medici permeates popular culture in unimaginable methods. “If you see the depraved stepmother wanting on the magic mirror within the Snow White story, you won’t realise that Catherine de Medici did it first,” says Samantha over video name from the south of England.

Admitting to be just a little bit drained from speaking for a few days, Samantha, who performs the sixteenth century Queen of France within the drama sequence, The Serpent Queen, says, “Catherine at all times had a mirror and he or she was the primary particular person to look into it and ask to see her fortune. The poisoned apple in Snow White additionally comes from her. She was the primary particular person to put on black for mourning, the primary to put on knickers underneath her garments, to put on excessive heels and use a knife and fork.”

Being a magpie

If one is doing a biopic on an individual who’s not too long ago deceased, and even alive, the Academy-Award nominated actor says, there may be video or audio footage and images to seek advice from. “You possibly can go to the supply materials very simply. When someone has been lifeless for tons of of years (laughs frivolously), you may have a look at historic details about them, however it’s actually open to interpretation.”

It’s wonderful, Samantha says, to make use of one’s creativeness and work with writers to create the character. “To look again on the issues which were written about her and collect all of it up like a magpie, any little bits or nuggets of knowledge and convey all of it collectively and switch that into an individual.”

Final survivor

Describing Catherine as a survivor, Samantha says, “Folks needed to kill her from when she was born. She was a baby bride despatched off to marry a prince in France. When she arrived at court docket, being Italian, she was not welcome. She needed to rapidly discover ways to survive.” She says, Catherine had already been doing that for a number of years as a baby. “She learnt many languages when she was residing within the convent. She turned shrewd and astute in all types of various expertise in an effort to persevere and survive.”

The 45-year-old actor says her preliminary analysis course of included listening to the audiobook, Catherine de Medici: Renaissance Queen of France (2004) by Leonie Frieda. “That was the very first thing I did after studying the script. Talking to Justin Haythe, the creator of the sequence, was additionally vital to me. We don’t make a docu-drama, that is nonetheless leisure. That is nonetheless tv. He, as an excellent dramatist, has to take these factual issues that we find out about historical past, and switch it into tv. There was a relentless relationship and dialogue with Justin about how greatest to realize that.”

Telling tales via costume

Karen Muller Serreau, who designed the costumes, is not like anyone Samantha has labored with earlier than. “She works otherwise. She works with the material, the physique and draping cloth over you. Her drawings in her little pad are simply so stunning. She understands texture, gentle, daylight and moonlight and the way cinema lighting impacts and works with materials.”

Every character had a theme, the Candy and Lowdown actor says. “Mary Queen of Scots was in quite a lot of Chanel tartan, which I believed was good, courageous and wonderful. Diane de Poitiers, brilliantly performed by Ludivine Sagnier, was in black and white. There are many emotional the reason why that character solely wore black and white. My character, at a sure level, with out giving any spoilers away, solely wears black. I believed that was thrilling and devastating,” she says.

The present was shot on many precise places together with Château de Chenonceau, the place Catherine lived. “Simply seeing the majesty of the structure, and the truth that she had lived there, touched these partitions, and walked on these paving slabs was extraordinary. I discovered that memorable and exquisite. I felt proud and honoured. You possibly can really feel it within the partitions, in wanting on the gardens that she designed.”

The Serpent Queen is presently streaming on Lionsgate Play

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