Film

Sally Hawkins: "I hang out with the best"

Paddington's Mrs Brown - aka Sally Hawkins - reveals what the bear and Woody Allen have in common... it's not marmalade!

Twice this year you’ve starred in a film where a computer generated lead causes chaos but ultimately brings people together. Is Paddington pretty similar to Godzilla then?

It’s so so like Godzilla, yeah. Uncanny. Paddington is much cuter and much furrier. I don’t know if you’d want to adopt Godzilla but you’d certainly want to adopt Paddington.

Maybe that was Godzilla’s problem. If only someone had shown him some kindness…


He was just misunderstood. Just looking for someone to give him a hug and show a bit of understanding.

They tried killing him with nuclear weapons, no one tried a hug!


You can solve a lot of issues with love.

Did having already worked with a computer generated star help when it came to making Paddington?

It was a very different process for me. I didn’t really get to have any dialogue with Godzilla, which is a shame. I actually got to interact with this computer generated creature.

Is it difficult to act with something that isn’t there or is it the same as working with an actor who isn’t very good? You have to imagine a convincing performance both times.


I would never be so rude to say that! But you rely on your imagination a lot even if you’re not trying to act with a computer generated image. I quite liked the challenge and working with the special effects team because you’re working together to create magic. Of course, it would have been wonderful to have a real life bear in the room, but the cleaning bills…

Has Paddington always been a fixture in your life?

He’s such an icon of childhood and London that I was always aware of him but I didn’t grow up with the books. I can’t remember quite how I came to meet him.

Your parents wrote and illustrated children’s stories. I would have thought they would have introduced him to you but maybe they only let you read their own books.


They were quite open to me reading other books other than their own! Otherwise I would have run out of books quite quickly. I was so lucky growing up because they had a huge library of books I could tap into, lots of classics books from 100 years ago they used for reference. I say library, it was a book shelf, but to me, a little girl, it was a whole world.

Earlier this year you were Oscar nominated for Woody Allen’s Blue Jasmine. Filming that must have been an entirely different process.


Every film feels completely new and different and like I’m starting again all over again each and every time. I never quite know if I’m going to be able to do it. You can’t prepare – in a good way.

Were you nervous on Oscar night?


I didn’t feel scared. I knew I wasn’t going to win as much as you can know these things so I could sort of relax. I was sat next to Cate Blanchett and the pressure was all on her.

Was Woody Allen there or did he have a jazz gig that evening?


He is incredibly grateful that his films make it onto the awards circuit but I don’t think he enjoys dressing up. He wants to stay home drinking cups of tea. It makes him more endearing really.

Just like Paddington.


Exactly. He and Woody Allen are quite alike.

And we’ve already established Paddington is like Godzilla. Who thought they’d all share a connection!


I hang out with the best. But Woody Allen is not computer generated. He is real. Even though he’s even more elusive.

Paddington is out now in cinemas

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