Helena Bonham Carter concerned she wasnt sexy enough to become Hollywood star

Helena Bonham Carter concerned she wasnt sexy enough to become Hollywood star

01/24/2023

Helena Bonham Carter is famed for being one of Britain’s best actresses.

But when she was first starting out in the 80s, she was convinced she’d never make it in Hollywood because she wasn’t sexy enough.

The London-born star was convinced her quirky look would mean she’d never match the success of her rivals in showbiz.

READ MORE: The Crown's Helena Bonham Carter urges women to buy a vibrator to enjoy lockdown

Recalling her early years as an actress, she says: “I remember going to America when I was about 19 or 20 and I just felt so deficient because my legs didn’t go on for six years.

“I wasn’t particularly sexual and I didn’t have the right body. I just thought, 'There’s no career for me here'.”

Helena struggled to get big roles because the movie industry was so obsessed with looks.

"For years, there wasn’t much." she admits.

"That’s basically why I did costume dramas. They were good parts. That’s where the writing was. But one had to suck up to a lot of producers.

"Looking back on it, why on earth was I so fixated on the fact that I didn’t have the right body?"

Helena endured tough times thanks to sexism in Hollywood, but before long she had the last laugh.

Roles in Fight Club, Alice In Wonderland and the Harry Potter films cemented her as one of the biggest names in the industry.

Over the years she’s won a raft of awards including a BAFTA for her role in the King’s Speech and she even had nominations for two Oscars.

At 56, Helena is still taking on new challenges.

Her latest role is playing soap icon Noele Gordon in drama Nolly.

The three-part series charts her downfall when she was suddenly sacked from hit soap Crossroad in 1981 without any explanation.

It was front page news because the show was a hit with 15million viewers and Noele was its biggest star.

It’s another dream role for Helena.

She says: “I didn’t know about Noele Gordon until I read the script. She came into my life like a life force straight from page one. I thought, ‘Why the hell have I not been aware of her?’. She’s such a sensational woman.

“I did so much research. You have a responsibility to do that. What was hilarious is we had to watch lots of Crossroads. I could do Mastermind on Noele Gordon now!”

Helena has tackled many tough roles but admits she’d be cut out to be a soap star for real.

“The thing is with being in a soap, you do have to play the same character, day in, day out,” she says.

“I haven’t been offered a role in a soap. But maybe my agent just said no without telling me.”

Helena loved playing Noele for the show because it meant she got to be bossy.

She says: “Nolly is quite useful. She legitimises my bossy side. I’ve loved having her around. I don’t think my family have.

“On set, when something had to be done and it wasn’t being done quick enough, I was like, ‘Just move that for f***’s sake… make things quicker’. That’s when Nolly popped out.”

After years focussing on films, Helena reckons TV is now king.

“It’s a telly world now,” she says.

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“It’s great for all the stories. There’s great writing happening. It’s really great for actors because we’ve got character-driven drama.

“The streaming is extraordinary. It’s transformed it. It’s very difficult to explain to my kids. They think I was brought up with dinosaurs when there were only three channels.

“But because of streaming, none of us are watching the same thing at the same time. We miss the community of watching TV where we go, ‘Ooh, what’s going to happen?’. Sometimes it’s a bit lonely watching things on telly. There’s so much of it.”

Nolly is streaming on ITVX from February 2

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