Archive from Interviews



posted by Dani08.10.2018

It came to public knowledge recently, by Daily Mail, that Claire Foy received less than her co-star in The Crown, Matt Smith, for the role of THE QUEEN!!!!. After all the media noise, Netflix reported they would cover the payment gap and Claire would get the same amount of money that Matt did. But, months after, she is far from putting her hands on her well deserved money, as she told Al Arabiya in a recent interview, check it out below:

Claire Foy may not have received back pay after the pay inequality controversy for her starring role in the hit Netflix original series The Crown after all.

In late April, The Daily Mail reported that Foy would receive GBP 200,000 to make up for the gap between her and her co-star Matt Smith’s salaries for the show, produced by British production company Left Bank Pictures and Sony Pictures Television for Netflix.

In an interview with Al Arabiya for the upcoming film Girl in the Spider’s Web, Foy disputed that report.

“That was what was reported that I was back-paid. I’ve never mentioned anything about it and neither have the producers. The fact that that is ‘fact’ is—not quite correct,” Foy told Al Arabiya.

“Yes it’s Netflix, but it’s a British production company. It happened at the same time as it was coming out with a lot of other people that there was a lot of pay inequality across the board—in the music industry, in journalism, in every industry. It’s across the board that it became part of a bigger conversation, which is an odd place to find yourself in,” Foy continued.

The controversy garnered headlines across the world when it was revealed that Matt Smith, who plays Prince Philip in the acclaimed first two seasons of the show, was paid more for his role than was Foy, who played Queen Elizabeth—the show’s lead.

Both actors, who were recently nominated for Emmys for their performances, have been recast in season three as the series moves later into the lives of Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip, past the ages of Smith and Foy. Left Bank has stated that it will no longer pay its actors unequally.

For Foy, the issue was a learning experience.

“I realized early on that me being quiet about it or me not thinking about it in any way, and not associating myself with it, would be harmful to me and also lots of other people. It’s taught me a lot, and I’m still learning about it. I have not come out the other side and know exactly what I’m talking about. I’m still learning as much as anybody else is,” Foy told Al Arabiya.

The added attention that has come with the success of the show has not affected her work or the work she has chosen to take.

“I’m 34, and before that I had an established career and before doing The Crown I had been working for 10 years. My job was sort of for me, really. I feel so lucky to do it. My only responsibility is to feel things and portray them. It’s very difficult for me, after ten years of doing that, to suddenly change my mind—that I suddenly have to do it for other people,” she said.

“Being known for playing one part and being known is a whole new concept for me, and I’m going to have to sit down and think about that at some point. It feels very separate from me as a person,” Foy continued.

In taking the role of Lisbeth Salander in The Girl in the Spider’s Web, based on the fourth book in the hugely popular Millennium series, Foy was not sure she was making the right decision, but thought it a worthwhile risk.

“I can’t predict the future, so I can’t know if I made the right choice or wrong choice. All I can do is go on my instinct and go, this feels wrong, this feels right, or this feels scary but also could be interesting as a person for me to do. For Lisbeth, I thought seemingly this could be a disastrous move, but you only live once. I feel so lucky to do this. I may as well just have a go, I don’t know,” she said.

It was a meeting with Spider’s Web director Fede Álvarez that convinced Foy to take the role.

“I met Fede. There was such expectation, this is such a well-loved part, and it’s been played so beautifully before, that in a sensible world I would run in the opposite direction. But it provided such a challenge. I loved her already from having read the books, so really I just met Fede and he was like, ‘come on, let’s be brave’. I was like, ‘alright then, fine.’”

The Crown seasons 1 and 2 are streaming now on Netflix and The Girl in the Spider’s Web is in Middle East cinemas this November.

posted by Dani07.25.2018

During the press tour of The Girl in the Spider’s Web in Spain, Claire Foy spoke to eCartelera about her transformation into Lisbeth Salander, the memorable character from the Millenium series. Check out the video below:

posted by Dani07.13.2018

Recently, Claire Foy talked her recent projects, such as The Crown, Unsane and The Girl in the Spider’s Web to Io Donna Italy. She was also photographed for the magazine, check out the pictures below:

Check out the complete interview below:

Berlin, Babelsberg studies. Claire Foy is sitting on a chair with her wrists tied. You can not move. He is undergoing the interrogation of a man who for the moment we only see from behind. A drop of sweat drops from her forehead along her right cheek. He stares intently into his eyes before the order arrives from afar: «Stop». It is Fede Alvarez, the director, who announces a break. The spotlights come on, technicians enter the set and replace various objects and tools. One releases her wrists. The man with his back moves away. Claire Foy instead stays there, on the chair, looking at an unspecified point in the background. He does not notice that we are watching. He is not in a hurry. He seems to need to mentally move away from the role he plays: that of Lisbeth Salander, the heroine of the Millennium series, ready to return to the screens thanks to a new novel by David Lagercrantz, the Swedish writer and journalist chosen by the Stieg Larsson family to carry on the saga, abruptly interrupted by his death, in 2004.

The film, like the book (published in Italy by Marsilio), is titled The one that does not kill and will be released next fall all over the world (from us on October 31st). It is a sequel that chronologically follows what happened in The Queen of Paper Castles. On the big screen, Claire Foy collects the baton of her colleague Noomi Rapace. “Lisbeth Salander is now a symbol, a woman who breaks any kind of cliché: computer enthusiast, motorcyclist and fighter. I had to study and think a lot to represent all the facets ». The thirty-four-year-old English actress has a lot of experience on set. He started ten years ago with several television series, but it is only thanks to the role of Elizabeth II in The Crown, which earned her the Golden Globe, which has gained international popularity. “It’s a period of great work and I almost have no more time to stop for a moment and think about the best look for me, I always go around with my characters”. This is his moment: in addition to what he does not kill, he has been in the cinemas with Unsane, experimental thriller signed by Steven Soderbergh, a film shot entirely with an iPhone.

Piercing, tattoos, leather clothing: how comfortable do you feel as Lisbeth Salander?
I’m not an aggressive looking girl, but I do not consider myself a “quiet” person. Above all as an adolescent I often had to repress anger. Acting was a great therapy for me.

Did you have to struggle a lot to become an actress?
My family has always supported me, but it is true that until I had a serious health problem (at 17 years had a benign tumor in one eye, ed) I had never thought about how precious life is and should be engage in any project where you decide to launch.

What did make you get angry as an adolescent?
I was a girl too responsible, I never really rebelled against my parents (divorced since she was eight years old, Claire was raised by her mother with her two older sisters). I wanted to be an outsider and to be able to make mistakes like many of my peers at the time, but I never felt right. And this caused me to get upset often, sometimes inappropriately. I lacked an outlet valve, a bit as it probably happened to Lisbeth Salander when very young.

Also in Unsane you play a woman victim of abuse, like Lisbeth, who is looking for her own way to rebel against…
They are two very different characters, yet similar in the determination they have in wanting to solve the question. Talking about feminism today also means, and above all, starting from the premise that a woman has no means of a man to take dramatic issues such as stalking and violence in general.

Do not you believe in the proper functioning of the institutions?
Yes, but I think the first step should always come from the victim. Only in this way can the risk of certain facts or situations be re-proposed. To interpret Lisbeth Salander I read several books on domestic violence. What I have discovered is that sexual predators are used to chase people who have been victims of abuse in the past and often do not even know it, they have a sort of sixth sense in choosing them.

How difficult is it to leave your characters behind?
I consider every new film an opportunity for growth. Wearing the shoes of another person teaches to be freer, not to be considered bankrupt when the career is not at its best or if you do not have a “normal” family with parties commanded to pass all together (Claire Foy has recently divorced from husband, the British actor Stephen Campbell Moore, with whom he has a daughter of three years). In these years, reading and studying scripts and people, I understood how the expectations of society are always and only a limit, never an incentive to do.

posted by Dani06.20.2018

Claire Foy talked, recently, to Collider about Lisbeth Salander, The Girl in the Spider’s Web and how her character fits the #MeToo era. Check it out below:

Lisbeth Salander is one of those instantly iconic literary characters that taps into something primal and universal in audiences. Since making her debut in Stieg Larsson’s 2005 mystery The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, the character has been brought to screen by two different actresses — Noomi Rapace in the beloved Swedish trilogy adaptation and Rooney Mara in David Fincher’s 2011 film — and now, Golden Globe-winning The Crown breakout Claire Foy will put her stamp on the punk hacker turned sleuth in The Girl in the Spider’s Web.

However, this version of Salander is a little different than what we’ve seen before. Don’t Breathe director Fede Alvarez takes the helm for the latest spin on the Millenium series, and he turned to the fourth book for inspiration. Written by David Lagercrantz after Larsson’s death, The Girl in the Spider’s Web has never been brought to the screen, featuring a bit older version of Lisbeth, toned down from the extreme punk aesthetic, who takes center stage in a twisting mystery that somehow leads back to her own dark past.

Back in March, I had the opportunity to visit the set of The Girl in the Spider’s Web in Berlin, Germany and sit down for a chat with Foy about how she’s reinventing the iconic character once again. Foy was filming her character’s introduction in the film that day — a ferocious reminder of who Salander is and how she wields her vigilanteism. With a fearsome white war paint like a mask and hair spiked in a ragged mohawk, Foy joined a small group of journalists to talk about her take on the character, from costuming to creating her persona, Lisbeth’s relationships in the film, why she’s the anti-superhero, and how she fits into the conversations surrounding #MeToo, and more.

First and foremost, you’re obviously so transformed, and this look is amazing. I wanted to ask about a) what it feels like to live in that skin, and b) the makeup. It looks a little… superhero-y. Is that sort of a little bit of what’s evoking, or is it a different thing?

CLAIRE FOY: No, she’s not a superhero. I think the most amazing thing about Lisbeth Salander is that she doesn’t have any special powers, you know. She’s sort of an underdog, she has been an underdog her entire life. And the only power that she really has is that she’ll never give up, and she’ll fight to the bitter, bitter end. She’s sort of the most human person I’ve ever played, really, for that reason. This makeup is very specific, it’s not what I have the whole movie or anything like that, it’s partially practical to kind of disguise her face, but it’s also what Lisbeth does a lot, which is to try and scare people away so that they don’t underestimate her, I suppose.

As regards to living in her skin, she’s a huge contradiction and she’s incredibly strong and intelligent and sort of powerful in her own right, but at the same time she’s so vulnerable and she has so, so damaged by what’s happened in her life. And she doesn’t necessarily work from an entirely conscious level, you know what I mean? Because of all the things that have happened in her past, she lives her life in a kind of… she’s very, very closed off, and very, very- got her defenses up the majority of the time, and I suppose this sort of film is about her growing up a bit.

Does she do a lot of vigilante work?

FOY: Vigilante- do you mean to sort of suggest that she’s against the establishment? Or to mean she’s against government? She has no respect for authority whatsoever, because when have they ever helped her? Why would she have respect for them, really? They let her down at every single opportunity in her life.

So, I don’t think she’s a vigilante. And I don’t think that Lisbeth, in my head, when it comes to this story, as the story of the end of the 3 books, which was the fact that she was free of her identity that had been created for her. That she was a ward of the state and that she was in some way not like everybody else, that she was a menace to society. That she didn’t have the intellect that other people had, that she was somehow lesser than everybody else. And she doesn’t have that around her anymore, that’s been got rid of for her, in a way. And then she’s got to find her own identity and what she is, and I think you see her at the very beginning of the film doing what she can’t help, which is that she can’t help but get drawn into the injustice of the way women are treated, or the way powerful men take advantage. I think that’s what she’s just like, “I have to right that wrong.”

She’s moved to do it, she’s not just like, “What cause can I fight now, what can I do now.” It’s very specific, what she finds galling and she wants to right that wrong — I keep forgetting that I’ve got this face and I’m really sorry! I forget that I’ve got loads of wet paint on my face, so sorry, it’s been a bit intense.

When it comes to the look, her look is very extreme and I could see some people stepping into an outfit like this and the face paint and just feeling really out of sorts. How do you command her look?

FOY: Well, for me it was very, very important that it’s me playing the part, I can’t just put the costume on and go, “This is the character.” Because that’s a lie. We’ve always, all of us together, have questioned and gone, “Did this feel right? Does it look right, is it too much of a cliché, is it too much of a- does this actually fit with who she is?”

I think I have always, from the very, very beginning of any character, start with nothing, start with the basics. I never like to put stuff on because it’s what people expect or anything like that. I always think less is more, so I always start with the bare bones, and then as time goes on you sort of think, “does that feel right or not?” So yeah, it’s been a process that we’ve all sort of done together. But I love the Lisbeth that we’ve created in the sense that she’s really, really composed and in complete possession of herself at some points, but at other points she’s like a 12-year-old girl who has been a victim and treated like a victim her entire life, and she’s like, “I’m not. I’m not a victim, I’m not, I’m not, that’s not who I am.”

Something that- when I was reading the books- that I really, really understood and made a lot of sense for the character for me was that from the outside, people, especially with victims of sexual assault, things like that, they find the victim, they find the person. It’s that the predator finds the victim as opposed to someone just walking around being a victim, they find the person that they want. And Lisbeth, to me, is that. From the outside she’s so easy to underestimate and say, “She’s vulnerable, I could take her.” But then if you try she’d cut your balls off.

This Lisbeth is way different from the one in the previous movies. How do you approach that, you are talking a lot about in books but I meant in previous movies. Obviously, you saw them, I guess, but the whole purpose is to do something different here?

FOY: No, I think this is character and this story has been told before, I think our version of this film is obviously the fourth book, so you sort of have a little bit more leeway in the fact that it is a different story. You’re not telling the story which was, especially the first book, which was the story of the murder and the thriller element of it, which was trying to find out and the investigation and those things. We’re not retelling that story, obviously, because everyone’s seen it and they’d go, “We know the ending!”

But I think by virtue of someone else playing a part, it’s always different, as story is always different. I don’t think we have attempted or tried to make it different, because I think if you try and do that then the audience will just see straight through the fact that you’re like, “Look, guys, we’re trying something crazy here.” I don’t think you can- you have to accept the world that you’re living in and I think people do that with this character. They are immediately drawn to her and her circumstance and what she’s going through as opposed to anything outside of her.

No, is the answer. I don’t know. I think the Swedish versions were incredible, I think the David Fincher version was amazing, and I think Rooney and Noomi are amazing. It’s just I’m doing it this time, which is weird for me, but so many things about it haven’t felt weird, which I find encouraging. I think that Fede is incredible, I think he is genius. I think Pedro, the DP, is genius, and I think it’s exciting for that reason, it’s a really exciting combo.

We’ve been talking to people obviously about, this falls within a certain period in the entertainment industry, with #MeToo, and how do you feel about this coming out in November and this presenting a very strong female, action-led drama, with real weight to it, as well. It’s not just kind of an action hero. In the midst of that, who is specifically a vigilante for women who have been victims of abuse.

FOY: Well, I think to say that, you can’t underestimate the fact that, when did the books come out? I don’t know the exact date of the books coming out, you know, this story’s been around for well over a decade. With that, I think the film was out 8 years ago… I think you can- I’ve done period drama where I’ve been asked that question. “What’s relevant about this story today?” And the point about stories and the point about dramas is it always is, because there’s people in it, and we’re all people.

I think that it sort of, to say that Lisbeth is around and that the story is around because it’s popular or it’s part of the zeitgeist, is slightly wrong. Because she’s, this character, has always been around, really essentially. I just think it’s the fact that it’s about people want to see women in the central roles, and she just happens to be a woman who has experiences what a lot of women experience. But she’s able to right the wrongs, I suppose, and it’s about seeing that fulfilled, really. But this film hasn’t come out yet, so I don’t know what the reaction’s gonna be, and I don’t know where it’s gonna sit, this conversation. You know, 6 months ago we wouldn’t have been having this conversation, so, you know, I live and hope that in 6 months time it will be an even bigger, wider conversation as well. So who knows, really.

What are Lisbeth’s feeling towards her sister? I always think they’ve been estranged for quite a long time, do you think that’s kind of needling at her? Is there a desire to reconnect there, or has she left her sister behind in a way?

FOY: I think Lisbeth has left herself behind, in the sense that as soon as she left the children’s hospital, that was it. Whatever happened pre- that date didn’t exist anymore, because it was too painful and too awful and how can someone live with that and think about it, actively think about it? And so I think that she genuinely has cut everything out of her mind and her life that would make her feel pain or make her feel anything, really. That’s one of the most fascinating things, I think, about her, is how much she feels or whether how much, it’s all just up here. You see that change. That’s why I think that the film really works, because you do see that crack and that, hopefully, letting in of the light a bit into the heart.

I think the relationship that anyone has with a sibling or a family member is always going to be something that your subconscious is in charge of and not you. I think she thinks, “No, I can- whatever, I don’t care, ugh.” But, deep down, you know, it’s always there, like little kind of… yeah, broke her heart a bit.

I think this a character that maybe on the surface might seem easy to oversimplify, because of the look and the intensity. You talked about it in your early process stripping it down to the basics, what were the keys that helped you understand her?

FOY: I think it’s always really, really luck when you’ve got some books. Because you have an insight. But there were things about her that I really found incredible, I really admire about her. I admire her lack of judgment, I don’t think she judges anyone. I think she finds people sort of interesting and bit weird, and there’s a lot of detail in the book about how when she’s hacking into people’s computers, she finds all sorts of things. Whatever people’s sexuality is, what they’re sexually- what gets them going, she’s just like, “Huh. That’s interesting.” She’s not judgemental, and that’s why I think people like the books. It’s because she doesn’t really give a shit. She doesn’t live within the realms of what society tells you- you should be married, you should have kids, you should be doing this. She’s just like, “Should I? Don’t want to.”

She doesn’t have to fit within that idea, and therefore she can work outside of that. She’s sort of on the fringes and she can observe society for what it is, really. I love that about her, I love that she’s bisexual and she just loves sex and has absolutely no qualms about enjoying it with whoever she enjoys it with. And Fede was very about this as well, she’s just not comfortable in her own skin. Although she puts up a defense and although she seems like she knows what she’s doing, she’s very easy to find her buttons, I think. She’s very easy to find what would make her feel uncomfortable and vulnerable and she has a purpose, really. It’s like people, places, and things. She has avoided being in situations with those people at those- you know, that’s what she does, she avoids them.

The look is a defense, it’s not like, “I’m super cool and I’m amazing and I belong to this group of people.” It’s not that. It’s a porcupine, it’s like, “Don’t come anywhere near me. Don’t even think about touching me.” That’s what it is, it’s not a statement. If someone said she was cool, she’d be like, “Huh?” She just wouldn’t get it.

There’s an interesting moment in the book where she’s just hacked into the NSA and left a message for Ed Needum. And in the moment, she feels really self-righteous and then afterwards she feels kind of empty, I think it says. Do you think she’s kind of a character who needs to constantly be doing something?

FOY: Yeah. Well, that’s what I mean about the fact that I think at the beginning she’s a bit bored. She has survived for so long fighting that when she has money, she’s like, “What’s next? Hang on. Oh, it’s me. I’m next, dear God, no! I don’t wanna think about myself!” And that’s why I think she then goes into that whole situation and why playing always helps her get a new job or whatever. I think the interesting thing with Lisbeth is what happens when she doesn’t have a task. And I think what I found really great about the second book was that after she solved that whole story and she’s fallen in love with Michel a bit and she’s had her heart broken, she just goes to Granada and reads about mathematical theorems. She has to engage her brain in something to distract from what she’s really, achingly needing to figure out, which is herself. She sort of goes into all these things, and that’s the thing with life, unfortunately, or fortunately, whatever way you look at it, that it catches up with you. There’s a line in this script which is that “You can’t outrun the darkness.” Or, “you’re in shadow.” Which one is it. Can’t remember. “You can’t outrun your own-“

Either one applies.

FOY: Yeah. You can’t outrun it, it’ll always find you. And that’s definitely in the story of this, that she tries her best to look in the other direction.

You said that Fede is a genius, can you elaborate a little bit more?

FOY: He just is. He just is, and I sort of knew from the moment I met him, really. He sort of is like a concert trained pianist. He’s incredible. He just has an understanding of film and story and audience that I think very few people do. It is studied in a way, but it’s not studied. He loves film and he is able to see, to go, “It needs to be …” He sees the rhythm of it. “It needs to be this, this, this. And then that. And then

the-girl-in-the-spiders-web-claire-foy-fede-alvarez
Photo by: Michael Campanella. Getty Images for Sony Pictures Releasing International. 2018 Getty Images it needs to be this, this, this. And then THAT!”

He creates a beautiful image with Pedro, they’re just an incredible team, they just have such beautiful eye. And it’s always slightly different to what you would think it would be. I haven’t done a single shot in this which has been like, “Well now we have to cross you and we have to get you all close…” That hasn’t been the case at all. It’s never felt like a formulaic way of making anything. I think he’s full of heart as a person, and really cares about this movie, which is very, very rare. It’s not a vehicle for him, he’s in it, and that’s lovely.

Can you just quickly talk about how her relationship with Blomqvist has evolved, and being ex-lovers and the tension and the intimacy in working together, how is that playing out?

FOY: Well, I think it’s that thing that she- from the outside as a spectator you sort of are like, “Go on! Get together! Be happy!” If that was the normal, commoner garden story. But it sort of diminishes how interesting they both are as characters. I think it makes it slightly different, the [inaudible 00:18:54] were close, much closer in age. I mean obviously I’m not supposed to be able to say, slightly younger than I am. But, I think that makes it sort of more interesting in a way because it’s not an age difference thing, it’s not like “Young girl, older man.” It’s actually that we have a deep connection and a deep understanding of one another, but it’s like, in what world would these two people ever make it work? And it’s not just the fact that she’s a vigilante sort of person, but it’s more the fact that… how do you even begin to cross that bridge of differences between them?

But I think in this one they have a shorthand, they’ve gone past that point. I think it’s at the end of the third book where he sort of, he’s at her front door and he’s like “Alright, can I come in?” I think Steig says something about letting her back in, she let him back into her life. And I think we haven’t don’t that in this one, what we’ve said is the fact that they haven’t seen each other for three years. And where have they gone? He’s missed her and she’s got over him, you know what I mean?

So that’s the interesting thing, where you find that she’s like, “No, no, no! I don’t care about you at all, I don’t care!” And he’s like, “Come on!” And whether she goes for that or not is the thing. They’re certainly not gonna walk down the aisle, yeah. That’s never gonna happen.

posted by Dani01.29.2018

The Sun – Having won a Golden Globe last year for her plummy-voiced portrayal of the Queen in Netflix TV series The Crown, the 33-year-old British actress appears to be the princess of Tinseltown.

But she is far from royalty.

She was born in Stockport, Greater Manchester, raised by her single mum, worked on the checkout in Tesco for five years and described herself as “a massive commoner”.

Claire’s childhood was marred by illnesses, one of which — a tumour in her eye at the age of 17 — could have shattered her dreams of becoming an actress.

Instead it made her more determined to succeed.

She said: “It was horrible and debilitating, but it made me realise that I needed to grab the life I wanted.

“If that hadn’t happened, I don’t know if I would have been brave enough to throw my cards on the table and say I wanted to study drama.”

Fortunately the tumour was benign and could be treated without invasive and potentially disfiguring surgery.

She said: “I’m quite lucky to have a face. I was a bit like Cyclops and it was all a bit scary.

“I was on steroids for about a year and a half afterwards that makes you put on a lot of weight and have really bad skin.”

Claire grew up in a huge Irish extended family — her maternal grandparents, who came from Dublin and County Kildare, had 22 siblings between them.

Her mum, Caroline, was an office worker, and her dad, David, was a salesman for photocopier giant Rank Xerox.

Claire had an older brother and an older sister, and her parents found paying the bills was already difficult.

But when she was eight they divorced, and her mum became a single working parent.

Claire said: “I don’t know how she did it.

“She took a job that meant she could be there for us when we got back from school. She is an extraordinary mum.

“There is not anything that she has not given us.”

But with money tight, Claire found work in a pub in her teens and said: “I was always very, very aware of money and not having any.

“I always knew there was no money coming from anywhere else, so it was a case of ‘Well, I’ve just got to get out there and make it myself.’”

Pulling pints was just the first of a long line of menial jobs she took in her youth.

She said: “I did telesales, I gave out magazines at Tube stations, I worked at Wimbledon as a security officer. I was a piano teacher for a while, I worked in sales.

“And for a long time I worked at Tesco, which was actually a dream job because I’d always wanted to work on a till.

“Seriously, when I was younger I used to look at tills in the Argos catalogue, I was so obsessed with them.

“So when I started working at Tesco, I was thinking, ‘OK, here we go. Ping! Ping!’ I loved it.”

But Claire’s ultimate job was always going to be as a performer.

Her first ambition was to be a ballet dancer, but soon after the family moved to Longwick in Buckinghamshire, that idea was crushed.

At the age of 13, the previously sporty girl developed juvenile arthritis which left her temporarily crippled and in agony and set her apart from the rest of her schoolgirl pals.

She said: “I was on crutches while the other girls were running around. My knees were swollen while theirs were being shown off in miniskirts.”

The experience gave her confidence a knock.

It was only after the eye tumour at 17 that she applied to study drama at Liverpool John Moores University, and later at the Oxford School of Drama, but it did not automatically transform her into a confident actress.

She said: “I was never the prettiest or the most talented girl. It was always an uphill struggle. I’ve loved drama, but somehow I just thought everyone else was better than me.”

Like most actors, it took her a long time to make her breakthrough, but it came in 2008 when she landed a small part in the pilot of BBC Three drama Being Human, which then saw her get the title role as Amy in BBC1 period drama Little Dorrit, later that year.

After that, the parts steadily rolled in, from the 2010 revival of Upstairs Downstairs, to The Promise in 2011 and Wolf Hall in 2015.

Some of the roles required her to do sex scenes — which Claire hated.

She said: “If I never had to do a sex scene again, that would be the best thing in the world, because no one in their right mind would enjoy that.”

“You’re worried about what the crew are thinking, whether they’re really uncomfortable, whether you’re uncomfortable. You’re just thinking, ‘God, let this be over!’”

While making her first film, 2011 fantasy Season of the Witch, Claire fell in love with co-star Stephen Campbell Moore, and they married in 2014.

The following year she gave birth to their daughter and landed the role of the young Queen Elizabeth in The Crown.

Then at the end of 2016, when the first series aired, Stephen was diagnosed with a benign tumour on his pituitary gland at the base of the brain, which controls metabolism.

The 38-year-old actor said: “You realise you’re not the most important person in that process, and everybody who loves you goes through far worse.

“My daughter didn’t know what was going on at all. But my family did, and I could see it in them.”

The couple, who live in North London, had to prepare for the worst when Stephen had to have more surgery last summer.

He said: “There are certain things that you make sure you’ve done before you go into surgery.

“You write a letter. But it’s all very much on the offchance that something did go wrong, because every part of you is saying that nothing will.

“Waking up and being told the operation had gone well was understandably a huge relief.”

Though Stephen now seems to be on the mend, the fear of losing her husband could not have come at a worse time for Claire.

She could cope with being pregnant while filming the first series of The Crown, but last year she had to make the second series amid the stress of not knowing whether she would soon be a widow.

Now Claire, who has never discussed her husband’s illness, has started a whole new chapter.

After her Golden Globe for The Crown, she has now left the series, with the older Queen Elizabeth being played by Olivia Colman.