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None the less, she threw herself into the part with all her usual intensity. However, I do realise that I’m in a profession where you are “out there” a lot. The eyes and camera lenses of Hollywood were trained upon her at the Golden Globes. I had no idea where I was or how long I’d been speaking for.’ Even now she has a job believing the whole episode ever happened.
'I know Linda is fairly two-dimensional,’ she says, 'but I always feel I have this tremendous responsibility both to the character and to the fil…’ Suddenly she breaks off and looks appalled. It’s such a terrible cliché.’ Again Hawkins stares at the recorder, twining one leg round the other as she does so. One of the things I love about acting is that I can enter into these other people’s lives. Flown out to Los Angeles specially for the awards ceremony, she was stunned to hear her name read out. He was sitting in the front row looking a little confused, and probably a little bored, too. 'It feels like yesterday on the one hand and 10 years ago on the other.
A website, sally-hawkins.com, which describes itself as a tribute to Sally Hawkins, collects stories about her and encourages people to send her electronic cards on her birthday – she will be 34 on 27 April.
She won a Golden Globe for her performance in Mike Leigh’s Happy-Go-Lucky (2008).
And now here she is in It’s a Wonderful Afterlife, the latest comedy from Gurinder Chadha (the director of Bend it Like Beckham and Bride & Prejudice).
If you wanted to sketch someone in the worst throes of self-consciousness, you could hardly find a better model. But going back to being me at the end of the day is very important, too. 'I really didn’t think I had a hope in hell of winning, so I was feeling very shocked when I started giving my speech. Those award ceremonies are amazing because they mean the world to so many people.
That process of remembering who I am.’ She glances up, another agonised expression on her face. And yet there’s another little part of you going, “This is all a bit silly.” ’ Afterwards she was offered several wildly unsuitable roles in Bruce Willis-type thrillers.
And I remember looking at this duck and thinking, “They’re only giving me this because I’m a baby.” I was very conscious of the fact that I was conscious, if you know what I mean. God only knows where I’d been before.’ For a long time she didn’t show any interest in reading – or in anything much apart from drawing.