Anne-Marie Duff

Extract from The Sunday Mail:

Anne-Marie starred in Shameless, Channel 4’s clever, quirky drama by Paul Abbott. But her big breakthrough came in 2002 with the film The Magdalene Sisters, in which she gave a powerful performance as Margaret. Peter Mullan’s film won Best Picture at the Venice Film Festival and the UK Film Critics Award for Best Film.

At 19 she started studying at the Drama Centre, alongside John Simm, Anastasia Hille and her good friend, Paul Bettany. She says it was “a very intense training, quite relentless and brilliant” - at which point everything came into sharp focus. She felt at home there almost immediately. “Everyone had the same want, and that’s a relief. If you really crave something, it’s a relief to meet people who are like-minded…It was exhilarating, but a tough training. If there had been a yearbook, I’d have been the person least likely to succeed. There were so many sexy, talented pupils there.”

Despite her misgivings, in 1993 it was Anne-Marie who walked straight out of drama school into touring theatre and then spent three years at the National Theatre, playing among others, Cordelia in King Lear opposite Ian Holm, for which she was nominated for an Ian Charleson Award. She has worked almost solidly since in the theatre, in television period dramas (The Aristocrats; The Way We Live Now) and in films and was nominated for an Olivier Award for her work in Collected Stories opposite Helen Mirren. Garry Hynes, who is currently directing her in the lead role in Playboy of the Western World at the Abbey Theatre in Dublin says: “She’s not careful of herself.” Howard Davies, who has directed her twice on the stage of the National Theatre, agrees: “She throws herself into the part, almost as if she is bruising herself against it.”