Helena Bonham Carter

As Helena Bonham Carter’s Miss Havisham appears in cinemas, GABRIELLE DONNELLY finds out if one of Britain’s best-loved eccentrics really is a drama queen…

Brit star Helena Bonham Carter was born to play Miss Havisham. Granted, her version of the role in the movie Great Expectations will present a somewhat younger and more elegant version of Dickens’ famous jilted spinster than we are used to. But apart from that – and the tragic personal past and burning, corroding obsession to wreak revenge on the entire male sex – Helena seems to possess every single Havisham-esque element that you could think of.

Helena Bonham CarterShe has regal presence, an eerie, otherworldly demeanour. And then, of course, there’s the dress sense. “I just like dressing up!” she shrugs when we meet – a fact displayed with vigour on an ordinary morning in Los Angeles when she trips through the door in a gorgeously frou-frou frilly white frock topped by a Teddy Boy-style black satin jacket, with lots (and lots and lots) of silver chains around her neck and her trademark cascade of dark hair piled high on to the top of her head.
“I don’t know if there’s any actual method to the way I do it– I just like putting unexpected clothes together and I like how they make me feel different. A lot of it is pure fantasy, and there’s definitely an element of transformation in there, too. I think a lot of women have that, don’t we? We don’t just put on a new pair of shoes or a new blouse, we think, ‘Oh, when I put this on, I’m going to be a whole new person’!” She stops and gives a wry, slygrin before adding cheerfully, “And then afterwards I’ll look at a photo of what I was wearing and realise I didn’t look different, I just looked ridiculous! But that’s OK. The critics? Look, if someone’s going to look at me and say bad things about me and my dress sense, that’s their bad karma. And if that person really feels better for having pointed out that I’m badly dressed, all I can say is, good for them – at least I made them happy!”

This is just a snippet of the full interview featured in the December issue of Candis Magazine.

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