Thursday 19 October 2017

Dame Harriet Walter had huge response for small role in Star Wars film

Dame Harriet Walter played Dr Kalonia in Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

Dame Harriet Walter (John Stillwell/PA)
Dame Harriet Walter (John Stillwell/PA)

By Julia Hunt, Press Association

Dame Harriet Walter has said her brief cameo in a Star Wars film had a bigger reaction than anything else she has ever done.

The actress, 66, has won accolades including an Olivier Award for her stage performances and has appeared in hit television series such as The Crown and Call The Midwife.

But she said her fleeting appearance as Dr Kalonia in 2015’s Star Wars: The Force Awakens was what got her the most attention.

She told Radio Times: “My strangest experience was my six words in Star Wars.

“I’ve had more fanmail from that than anything I’ve ever done.”

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Dame Harriet Walter (Ian West/PA)

Last year Dame Harriet was in a trilogy of Shakespeare plays at a temporary theatre location next to King’s Cross and St Pancras railway stations in London.

She said early in the run she was occasionally tempted to hop on the nearby Eurostar.

She said: “When it got really terrifying, I did think that I could just walk across the road and get on the Eurostar. And I’d be in another country before they’d noticed I’d gone.”

She joked that she even “came close to doing a ‘Stephen Fry’,” referring to the actor walking out on West End play Cell Mates in 1995, pleading stage fright. He later said the incident was an early public example of his struggles with depression.

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Dame Harriet Walter (Steve Parsons/PA)

However, Dame Harriet said despite that she still feels most comfortable on the stage.

“Film and TV is scarier because there is often no rehearsal and you have literally just met the person playing your husband or whoever. So it’s much more nerve-racking,” she said.

:: The Radio Times is on sale on Tuesday.

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