‘I can’t resist a challenge’: Emma Corrin of The Crown, Lady Chatterley’s Lover fame

The Crown’s Emma Corrin tells Sally James about her Netflix outing, Lady Chatterley’s Lover, and how the film is starting a conversation around female pleasure

author_img Sally James Published :  25th December 2022 08:41 PM   |   Published :   |  25th December 2022 08:41 PM
The Crown’s Emma Corrin was recently seen in Lady Chatterley’s Lover

The Crown’s Emma Corrin was recently seen in Lady Chatterley’s Lover

Were you familiar with the book, Lady Chatterley’s Lover, before this new adaptation came to you?

Pretty familiar, I would say. I love the book and I’m a huge fan of DH Lawrence and of how bold he was as a writer. The novel was ahead of its time. I was excited to adapt it with Laure (director Laure de Clermont-Tonnerre) and at the prospect of making something new and different.

How is this version of the story different from what we have seen on screen before?

I think the fact that it centres on the female perspective is what makes it different. This is about a woman’s journey of self-discovery—the discovery of her sexuality, especially. Hopefully, this adaptation will spark a lot of useful conversations. Finding that relevance for today and creating a modern twist on such a famous story was really important to me.

The story is famous for its intimate scenes. How did you cope with that?

It was challenging. It took me out of my comfort zone. It felt like a lot of pressure because there was so much potential to do something really bold and real—something that will start conversations about female pleasure. That is a conversation we need to be having more of today.

Tell us about the scene when Lady Chatterley and Oliver Mellors are both naked in the rain. What was that like to film?

My initial feeling was terror mixed with excitement at the prospect of having to do it. I hadn’t seen anything like it on screen before. I can’t resist a challenge. It’s something that draws me to projects. That scene was honestly one of the most terrifying and exhilarating things I have ever done.

How did you enjoy working with Jack O’Connel as your love interest?

It was great. I felt very safe and comfortable with Jack; we were both able to enjoy it.

Did you do anything to create a bond with Jack before filming or did the chemistry we see on screen just happen instinctively?

An element of it was pretty instinctual, but then we also had a lot of rehearsal time together, which helped. We worked very closely with intimacy coordinator Ita O’Brien, who helped create
an environment where we felt safe, comfortable and able to enjoy what we were doing. I also worked with Polly Bennett, a movement coach with whom I had earlier worked on The Crown. At the beginning of the film, when Connie is with Clifford, we decided to define their cerebral relationship from the waist up. Then when she meets Mellors, suddenly everything in her comes alive and she is fully engaged.

You have played so many fascinating characters. Do you have a favourite?

I don’t think I have a favourite. I have just enjoyed how different they all are. I love exploring what motivates people and how people deal with things. As someone growing, changing and learning about myself, it’s a treat to explore different perspectives.

The Crown is back as one of the biggest shows on TV. Did you pass on any advice to Elizabeth Debicki about playing Princess Diana?

I know Elizabeth; we share a lot of mutual friends, but we have never talked about Diana. I would never want to force advice on her. I think the beautiful thing about The Crown is that each actor brings a new perspective and a new life force to a character. There’s something beautiful in that, so for me it has been about taking a step back.

Finally, what do you hope audiences will take away from watching Lady Chatterley’s Lover?

I hope they take away the central theme to this particular film, which for us was always freedom and that sense of liberation to be able to inhabit your body in the way you want to. I hope people see this and it starts conversations about female sexuality and how we should be more comfortable seeing female pleasure and sex depicted on screen.