Olivia Williams: ‘I’ve been close enough to stardom to see how horrifying it is’May 11, 2021
As she prepares to star in The Nevers, an eerie TV drama about supernatural Victorian women, the actor talks about fame, cancer – and squaring up to Bruce Willis in The Sixth Sense
What I wouldn’t have given to be in an actual room with Olivia Williams, rather than down a Zoom. For all her early-90s RSC pedigree, she is forever the surprise find of The Postman, Rushmore and The Sixth Sense, films in which her casting seemed so idiosyncratic.
How did this British actor, with her amused detachment and her totally rose-garden, tan-resistant complexion, end up in Hollywood? I always saw her as an ambassador for the nation, roaming around the end of last century, giving the world the impression that we were all incredibly graceful and surprisingly tall. She, conversely, maintains that she only ever got those parts because they’d blown the budget on their male lead and needed someone cheap. I just won’t have that, I’m afraid. Surely it’s faux modesty? Nope, she’s pretty dug in – all those films, “they needed people who were just going to get on with it. Because they didn’t have any budget or time to worry about people who were overly concerned with vanity or how long their trailer was.”