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Olivia Colman 'dreaded' telling Night Manager director about pregnancy

Published 16/02/2016

Olivia Colman plays an MI6 intelligence officer in The Night Manager
Olivia Colman plays an MI6 intelligence officer in The Night Manager

Olivia Colman has revealed her dread at having to inform the director of new BBC drama The Night Manager that she would have to rewrite the script to accommodate a five-month pregnant woman.

Colman, 42, had been given the part of Angela Burr, an MI6 intelligence officer who has already been adapted from a male character in John le Carre's novel, when she discovered she was pregnant.

She said: "I went to see Susanne (Bier, the director) thinking, 'Oh God, should I mention it in the first meeting?'. And I thought, 'I can't lie'. Which is why I'd be a rubbish spy.

"She said, 'Oh... right...'. And didn't look that pleased."

Luckily for Colman, Bier decided that, as with Frances Dormand's pregnant policewoman Marge Gunderson in Fargo, it would add a "weird power" to the role - and added scenes around chairs so Colman could rest during filming.

It is unlikely to come across in the final edit, but Colman revealed the pregnancy gave her "nappy brain".

"I just can't retain my lines like I normally would. There are an awful lot of script changes that happen. It can change the day before, on the day. It fills me with fear: 'Oh Christ, I've barely got the script in my head and now I've got to change it'. So it is a little bit hanging by my fingernails."

Colman filmed the six-part spy thriller, which begins on BBC One on Sunday, when she was over half-way through her pregnancy. She gave birth to her third child, a daughter, in August.

:: Read the full interview in this week's Radio Times, on sale now.

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