While it’s near-impossible to recognise Gary Oldman in Winston Churchill biopic Darkest Hour, supporting lead Lily James is somewhat easier to identify, in what is yet another accomplished turn in her fledging career.

James plays the Prime Minister’s secretary Elizabeth Layton, and we asked the actress about her research for the role, and whether she read the autobiography the real Layton penned, and just how much help that proved to be. James also discusses the unique, nuanced relationship between her character and Churchill, and how she went about understanding the dynamic.

We also discuss Oldman’s remarkable turn, and what it was like working alongside him on this project (and just how strange it was hearing the actor’s distinctive voice come out of that somewhat unrecognisable body). Finally, we couldn’t help but end on Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again, as we ask James what it’s been like portraying a young version of Meryl Streep’s character (no pressure then) and on what her favourite ABBA song is…

Watch the full interview below…


A thrilling and inspiring true story begins at the precipice of World War II as, within days of becoming Prime Minister of Great Britain, Winston Churchill (Academy Award nominee Gary Oldman) must face one of his most turbulent and defining trials: exploring a negotiated peace treaty with Nazi Germany, or standing firm to fight for the ideals, liberty and freedom of a nation. As the unstoppable Nazi forces roll across Western Europe and the threat of invasion is imminent, and with an unprepared public, a skeptical King, and his own party plotting against him, Churchill must withstand his darkest hour, rally a nation, and attempt to change the course of world history.
Darkest Hour is released in cinemas across the UK on January 12th. You can read our review from the Toronto International Film Festival here.