ACTING legend Hayley Mills will be taking the starring role in a show at the Royal and Derngate in Northampton.
She takes on the role of Ursula Widdington in the stage adaptation of the 2004 film Ladies in Lavender. It tells the story of two sisters living in a small village in Cornwall whose lives change when a young man gets washed ashore on the beach.
Hayley told the Daventry Exoress: “It is a beautifully-written play and all the characters are very real, true, funny and moving. There is something really magical about this show.
“What helps is that the young man is a violinist and he plays it beautifully.”
Judi Dench and Maggie Smith starred in the 2004 film of the same name and it was her love of the movie which prompted her to go on stage for the first time in eight years.
Hayley said: “I thought it was a lovely film. I fell in love with the story and so, when the opportunity came along, I was very happy to do it.
“I have not done a play for a long time so it has been quite difficult learning the words. However, it does give you the chance to explore the characters. It can be very difficult which is why you have to really love what you are doing. I know it is a cliche but my favourite job is this one because I am having such a good time.”
She prefers the process of working in the theatre rather than film or television work.
Hayley said: “Trying to learn the words can be utterly ghastly, but what you get out of it is something very rewarding because of the process with rehearsal.
“You do not get that television or film any more. You are required to have done your homework before you get on to the set and simply turn the performance on.”
She was full of praise for her co-stars which are 2point4 Children’s Belinda Lang and Drop the Dead Donkey’s Robert Duncan.
“I have never worked with any of them before but the rehearsals are going very well. Belinda Lang is a marvellous actress, Carol Macready is very funny and charming. It is a really lovely cast,” Hayley said.
She has performed in Northampton before and is looking forward to returning.
Hayley said: “It is a great venue to perform at. A lovely theatre. It is lovely to spend a lot of time in one place and nice to have a base and make it feel a little like home.”
Hayley has had a long varied career having signed on with Disney as a child star. Roles in Pollyana and The Parent Trap helped to make a film star when she was just a teenager,
However, she revealed that she had to turn down a role in the controversial Stanley Kubrick movie Lolita.
Hayley said: “It is absolutely true that I was up for the part in Lolita. At the time I was in the middle of a contract with Disney and I wasn’t told that I couldn’t go off and do other things but I was discouraged.
“Also my parents, probably quite rightly, were not keen on me appearing in a film like this so for those two reasons I was not able to do it.
“If it had been up to me, it is something that I would have loved to have done. I was very up for it and I think working with someone like Stanley Kubrick would have helped me develop as an actress, but it was not to be.”
However she is now looking forward to the future and hoping for a big success with Ladies in Lavender.
Hayley said: “We then go on tour afterwards and hopefully a run in the West End with this would be nice.
“I will also be going off to do a two hour special of Wild at Heart.”
“I hope people will come and watch this show because it is a very rewarding experience for the audience.”
Ladies in Lavender will be performed from Friday, April 6 to Saturday, April 28. Tickets cost between £13 and £28 and can be booked by calling the box office on 01604 624811 or visit Royal and Derngate