Maggie Smith prefers homeless outfit to Downton corsets

13th October 2015, Comments 0 comments

British actress Maggie Smith revealed Tuesday she preferred wearing the outfit of a homeless character she plays in a new film to the restrictive corsets she wore on Downton Abbey.

Smith is starring as Mary Shepherd in "The Lady In The Van", a story of a homeless woman who lived in a battered yellow van in the driveway of writer Alan Bennett for 15 years.

Speaking ahead of the premiere of the film at the London Film Festival, Smith said it was more comfortable to play Shepherd than the acerbic Dowager Countess of Grantham in hit period drama Downton Abbey.

"I feel easier with 'The Lady In The Van' than that lady with the hat on," Smith said.

"It was much easier, as an actor, to be Miss Shepherd because she didn't mind about how she looked and it was such a relief."

"Lady Violet was forever in those corsets and things that Miss Shepherd would never dream of getting into. For comfort alone, it was better to be Miss Shepherd."

Smith, 80, played Shepherd in the original stage production of "The Lady in the Van" in 1999, for which she was nominated as best actress in the 2000 Olivier Awards.

The play and film adaptation are written by Bennett as an adaptation of his diaries.

The film, which opens in British cinemas on November 13, was directed by Nicholas Hytner, in his second collaboration with Bennett since "The History Boys" in 2006.

© 2015 AFP

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