Lesley Manville: ‘I was always quite savvy’

Lesley Manville: ‘I was always quite savvy’November 29, 2020

From a gun-toting momma in her latest film to a style-obsessed 1950s cleaning lady, Lesley Manville is going from strength to strength. But whatever you do, don’t say she’s a late-bloomer

She’s a bad, bad momma. The matriarch of this bad family. A controlling, violent, violent woman…” says Lesley Manville, who has turned out to be spectacularly good at playing bad. She’s talking about her latest film, Let Him Go, in which she plays Blanche Weboy, a heroically evil, gun-toting mama with an immaculate blow-dry and a gift for one-liners. It is one of those grand Hollywood films, a western-slash-thriller, the kind of movie that meant Manville was offered a stunt double. After spending an hour in her company, it isn’t a surprise to discover she opted to do the stunts herself, surrounded, she says delightedly, by four Canadian firemen, who hid just off-camera.

“I’d never picked up a gun in my life,” she says, with a hint of fabulous theatre. “And of course Kevin [Costner, her co-star] is brilliant with all of that, fights and stunts. Kevin was very funny, because he was showing me how to use the gun and I played up the girly bit, because it was just too delicious not to.” She chuckles. “And then when I was pointing the gun at him and being all Blanche, he looked at me and he said…” Here she puts on a deep, movie-star, American drawl: “Well, you sure don’t look like you’ve never held a gun before to me, lady.”

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