Imelda Staunton talks “Finding Your Feet”, Age On-Screen, and Taking a Break from Theater

Imelda Staunton (Dolores Umbridge) has enjoyed bringing a different kind of film to audiences this winter, with the release of the toe-tapping film Finding Your Feet.

In interviews with the Scotsman and the Press Association, Staunton talked about the importance of showing age on-screen, making films that aren’t blockbusters, and taking a break from the theater.

In Finding Your Feet, Sandra (Staunton) has her life turned upside down after discovering her husband’s affair but begins to rediscover a passion for life with the help of her sister and a community dance class. Aging plays a central role in the film, which covers a range of topics, from friendships and love to divorce and dementia. Joined in this film by a stellar cast (including fellow Potter alumnus Timothy Spall), Staunton talked about the importance of showing age on-screen and making a different kind of film:

It is refreshing that we’re not all just plain women sitting around a card table in cardigans – although that could be quite funny.

It is interesting; you go past a load of posters for films and most of them are blokes holding a gun. And you think, ‘Right, OK, is there another story to tell here? Anywhere?’

Staunton has, of course, appeared in both blockbuster series and independent films. She told the Scotsman that she enjoyed acting in a film where, unlike in Harry Potter, there are no extremes:

I haven’t done a film like this before, so that’s quite nice to be able to turn up in something else and be a bit funny and a bit grumpy, all of those things, without being too extreme. Harry Potter is extreme, and Vera Drake had its own agenda.

Although she may not have done a film like Finding Your Feet before, Staunton is certainly not unfamiliar with dancing, which is a big part of the film:

It was great fun because it was always in a weird circumstance – a flashmob in Piccadilly Circus, a huge stage in a theatre, and it was all so heightened. It was a nice element to have in the film, really enhancing.

Staunton’s most recent visit to the world of dance was as Sally in Stephen Sondheim’s Follies, a performance that has earned her one of two Olivier nominations. Despite an obvious love for theater, she is “taking a little break for a while” after performing in both Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? and Follies last year. In response to the question of what’s next, Staunton said she is taking time to recharge after a busy 2017 and is still reading scripts, just not for theater. Her interview ended with a sentiment that seems to echo that of her new film: “For me, grabbing the life you want to have is vital.”

Have you seen Finding Your Feet? Don’t forget to check out the full interview with the Scotsman linked above!

Lucy O'Shea

I was given a copy of Philosopher's Stone in 2001, and instantly, I was hooked. Since then, my passion for Potter has been equaled only by my passion for fair access to education (and watching motorsport). A spell I wish could exist in the Muggle world is the summoning charm because this Hufflepuff is not a "particularly good finder"!