Laura Haddock on

·5-min read
Photo credit: Hearst Owned
Photo credit: Hearst Owned

Many years ago, backstage at a concert; Laura Haddock met Elton John. “I continued to walk towards him but I was completely numb,” she remembers. “I felt like I was just floating, and then something in me just decided to stop and then bow.” She describes walking backwards down the corridor and hiding around the corner, before returning and apologising to Elton, saying: “I’m sorry, I’m just overwhelmed, I feel like I’m meeting the pope… then I just asked him if I could kiss his ring.”

It’s one of many humorous anecdotes from British actress Haddock, who is warm and affectionate, funny and self-deprecating, as she mines her career and life for morsels we may not know. Of all the moments in her career – during which she has headlined a Netflix show and starred in some of the biggest blockbusters going (yes, including some Marvel ones) – she cites her backstage moment of fealty to Sir Elton John as her one moment of being star struck – and of pure mortification. “He didn’t love it. Actually, I don’t know if he didn’t love it. I just blacked out at that point.”

Haddock has been a recognisable face for some years now; from standout roles in prestige BBC dramas like 2019’s The Capture, playing Chris Pratt’s mother in Guardians of the Galaxy, running with robots in Transformers: The Last Knight and starring in 2020’s cult Netflix binge White Lines; an epic Ibiza-set drama that proved the ultimate lockdown escapism.

This week, she joins the ranks of another revered ensemble cast; Downton Abbey. She plays silent-era matinee idol Myrna Dalgleish – part gloriously imperious twenties starlet, part emotionally vulnerable young woman – in the second film instalment of the franchise; Downton Abbey: A New Era. “It’s been amazing joining the cast, they’re brilliant,” she grins. “You see them all on screen, and they’re wonderful, but actually backstage, they’re brilliant as well… they made us all feel very welcome.”

“I think the reason Downton is so popular is because Julian created a group of people who, at any given moment, we can all identify with... We are all voyeuristic in that way, we want to see how people’s lives move on. There’s some sort of comfort watching that develop.”

“Oh, and costumes,” she adds. “Anything in period drama is sumptuous to watch.”

Photo credit: Karwai Tang - Getty Images
Photo credit: Karwai Tang - Getty Images

Playing a film star within a film is, of course, a wonderfully meta moment for Haddock, who has spent the majority of her working life in front of the camera. Her greatest piece of career advice was given to her by a fellow actor, who told her; “The camera is your best friend, but you’ve just had an argument. She knows you inside out, but right now, you’re not talking.”

“I really liked that,” she tells us. “Because it made the camera feel like a safe thing in the room… When there are so many things on a film set, it can often feel overwhelming.”

When she isn’t on set, she adores spending time with friends. “I was just at a wedding at the weekend, actually, and they had some absolute bangers,” she says. “As a couple, they are both obsessed with the nineties so it was like back to the NOW albums – every single song was like, ‘oh my god we have to get up and dance!’” What would her signature move be? “Do you want me to get up and show you?” she laughs. “There’s a real big movement in my house right now for flossing – that seems to be the dance move my kids are doing and trying to get me to do. It’s actually really difficult. But when I was younger I actually learnt the whole routine to a Janet Jackson song,” she laughs. “I might still remember it but I think my skirt is too short to show you!”

She is evidently close with her family, joking on set about corralling their input for this interview and clutching her phone in case “more suggestions” come through. “Oh, here’s one,” she laughs, during a few make-up touch ups; “My family said I’m a maths genius? That must be a joke, I’m terrible at maths!”

Nothing, however, makes her happier than her children. She has two – six-year-old Pip and four-year-old Margot – with her ex-husband, fellow actor Sam Claflin. It was after the birth of her son that she achieved a turning point in her career, booking her role in Transformers. “I was auditioning with Michael Bay for the movie and he said: ‘The fact that you’re here and in the room, having just had a baby, makes me believe that you’re strong, and I want to hire you for this job. So that was a pretty amazing moment.”

And, if she was to look back and advise her younger self? She grins. “Oh, you’re going to go through so many highs and lows, and the lows are as important as the highs – but don’t labour in the lows, because you’ll move on from them. Relish the highs, really enjoy yourself, laugh at yourself, don’t take yourself too seriously. Have fun, work hard and just stay calm.”

You Might Also Like

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting