Wife yearns for something more
Lindsay Duncan looks super-chic as she enjoys a spot of lunch with Jim Broadbent. Wearing a black buttoned-up dress, black pumps and with her hair scraped back, she looks graceful yet strong.
The pair play a married couple in their late fifties who have decided to spend the weekend of their 30th wedding anniversary in Paris, in their latest film Le Week-End.
From the start, it's clear that Meg (Duncan) feels unfulfilled and finds her husband Nick (Broadbent) irritating, despite a few tender moments of affection.
"She's just a little bit angry," says Duncan, 62. "She's wanting more and wondering how much time is left. She still feels like a woman with appetites and she wants her husband to keep up."
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Although Meg is only human, a free-spirited but frustrated woman who knows her own mind, she's also quite a hard character to like.
Duncan agrees: "I do stand by her though," she says. "I think she's real, and I'm very lucky to play such a complex woman who I completely believe in."
The movie is charming, touching and sharp (as well as funny, particularly the scenes with Jeff Goldblum, who plays an egotistical American writer) – and filming in Paris was a delight, says Duncan.
"We were on the streets and shooting in restaurants, so we could never forget where we were. It was heaven," she smiles.
This is the second time Duncan has played Broadbent's wife. The first was in the TV film Longford, in which Broadbent played Labour peer Lord Longford, who spent years campaigning for the parole of Moors murderer Myra Hindley. Duncan played Lady Longford.
In Le Week-End, the pair look very at ease with one other. So much so that I wonder if they were sent off together for a day of bonding. Duncan laughs hysterically at the suggestion.
"No. We know each other and we get on very well. We try not to make too much fuss about it," she says.
Relationships in the later stages of life have been the subject matter for a string of films and TV shows recently (The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel and TV's Love And Marriage).
It's a theme that's interested Hanif Kureishi and Roger Michell, writer and director of Le Week-End respectively, for some time.
While their first project, The Buddha Of Suburbia, looked at a young boy's relationships, a later film, The Mother, told the story of a grandmother having an affair with a man half her age who is also sleeping with her daughter.
And when the writer and director teamed up for Venus it featured an elderly man who develops a relationship with a teenage girl that's verging on romantic.
"They've always been ahead," says Duncan. "But it's not about wanting to take a position, this is just what interests them."
An increase in the number of older faces on screen can only be a good thing for an actress aged 62. Having said that, it will probably make little difference to Duncan's working life. She has referred to her film career as a sideline because she is better known for her stage work, for which she has won numerous awards, and her TV roles.