But I wanna hear that story too…

“Five years ago today…”

Julie Walters is, without question, one of the finest actors living today. I have never seen her be bad in anything. Be it comedy, tragedy or drama, she can pull it off and portray anyone with true talent. I mean, this woman is Molly Weasley and Mrs Overall for goodness sake.

After a conversation about her with a friend the other day, I finished up the ninth of The Series of Unfortunate Events (my re-reading project for 2013) and recalled that I had her autobiography on my shelf that I’d bought second hand a while back. I sat down with it and was immediately drawn in.

Julie has had a varied and deeply interesting life. She grew up in Birmingham with an Irish mother and a Birmingham father, and her two older brothers who appear to have been the driving forces in her life and ambition to become an actress. She was kicked out of school (but very politely) and became a nurse for eighteen months, before realising that she didn’t want to do that. Dropping out of nursing, she moved to Manchester to attend the Polytechnic and study acting.

Her career bounced off and she worked in theatre for years before television (mostly thanks to Victoria Wood) came calling and, later, Hollywood. There’s actually very little in the book about her more recent career, although she touches upon Harry Potter, Mamma Mia and Driving Lessons. Towards the end of the story, she meets her husband (who came back from a bar to fix her washing machine and never moved out) and then has her daughter Maisie on what she calls the happiest day of her life.

Julie is a fascinating character and someone I long to be able to sit down with and have a chat about this and that. I would’ve been curious to hear more about her more recent career, to find out how she really got on with Meryl Streep and Helen Mirren, but this is much more about her earlier career and that is what makes it so interesting – it is the lesser told story. There’s a nice amount about her work with Victoria Wood, and she so obviously is in awe of her comedy partner. Her descriptions and talks about her family are filled with love, but that love that is so typical of many families – affection tinged with annoyance. Her reaction to the deaths of both of her parents are heartbreaking.

This is a short review, and part of that is because I’ve got three projects on with rapidly approaching deadlines, but also because I cannot do the book justice with descriptions and I suggest you all go out and read it immediately. It is honest, hilarious and makes you feel like you’re sitting down and listening to her talk away, and that is no bad thing at all.