A sharp look, the slighest lift of an eyebrow… how Lesley became the boss of Day-Lewis

Grande dame of stage Lesley Manville tells our reporter about acting beside Daniel Day-Lewis in ‘Phantom Thread’, and playing an alpha-woman and femme fatal

On a grey, mid-winter day in London, Lesley Manville is dressed in cosy knits and tucked away on a couch in a hotel suite in Soho. Still delicately beautiful at 61, her blue eyes are bright, and her rich-beige hair is loose around her face.

She is, in the film, a kind of exotic bird existing in a rarefied world. Most of her scenes take place inside The House of Woodcock, where she reigns supreme. Though it is her brother, Reynolds Woodcock, a creative genius with a controlling streak, who is the design talent, it is Cyril who rules the roost.

Cyril is a central figure in a film that deals, in many ways, with female power – both soft and not so soft. And her special kind of influence is evident in the control and restraint with which she plays the part. She doesn’t need to raise her voice. All it takes is [ . . . ] More: A sharp look, the slighest lift of an eyebrow… how Lesley became the boss of Day-Lewis

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