Waitrose & Partners Weekend Issue 628

13 8 DECEMBER 2022 last thing I saw you on was Morecambe andWise, 40 years ago.’” Joely laughs. “So it’s all in the eye of the beholder.” Joely and her late sister Natasha both followed their Oscar-winning parents into the business, while Joely’s daughter Daisy, fromher marriage to filmproducer Tim Bevan, is also an actress. (After her divorce, Joely dated RobbieWilliams and Jamie Theakston. Today, she says only that “I don’t live alone”.) Throw in her aunt Lynne, uncle Corin and cousin Jemma Redgrave, and it’s not hard to see why every profile of the family ever written reaches for the phrase ‘acting dynasty’. How does Joely feel about the label – does she feel dynastic? “You should askmymum– ‘Dynasty? Honestly, what are they talking about?’” she laughs. “But I don’t mind. I think there’s something rather nice about the fact that somany generations of our family have done it. It’s the same as if we were watchmakers, and were all just really interested in time, and how clocks work. The only time I slightlymind is when I thinkmy dad’s side is being overlooked. Because that’s the other 50%.” A luminary of British cinema’s NewWave, Tony Richardson turned the spotlight on working class life in 60s kitchen sink classics such as A Taste of Honey and The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner. “My dad’s work was absolutely groundbreaking,” says Joely. “I saw A Taste of Honey again about a year ago and, ohmy God, it’s all there, in terms of class, gender, diversity – I just felt so proud of him.” Four decades into her own career, Joely is currently enjoying something of a purple patch. In addition to Lady Chatterley’s Lover, she had amajor role in recent Netflix hit The Sandman and is currently filming SallyWainwright’s The Ballad of Renegade Nell for Disney+. “I’m lucky to be in this time, when there aremore roles for older women,” she says. “Although the roles are often smaller, they’re truly interesting, and I can really dig into them. I love the process of acting. I’ve never just put on a costume and turned up. I’m interested in playing characters that have life experience. And I can usemy own life experience through characters like Mrs Bolton, who have known great love, and great loss. “I’m really proud to saymy age,” she adds. “Because I see it as another year achieved. You don’t want to discount that, when you’re lucky enough to be in good health. Of course, life is harder as you get older. I see the courage of older people. I don’t like the attitude that it’s something to be ashamed about. My life is very full and very alive. But it’s also about: what do you do with your experiences? How do you write the narrative? I mean, obviously, there are some events that you can’t change into happy ones. I’mnot fantastical about that. Some things are just awful. But there are choices that you canmake.” It may be projection on our part, but quite a few of the things Joely has said – about experiencing love and loss, of every year of life being an achievement and never knowing howmuch time we’ve got left – seem to allude to the absence of her sister Natasha, who died, aged 45, following a skiing accident in 2009. (Shortly afterwards, Joely quit Nip/Tuck andmoved to NewYork to support her brother-in-law, Liam Neeson, and her nephews.)What’s her enduringmemory of her sister? “That’s a di cult question, because it’s like saying: ‘How do you remember a world?’” she says. “There’s no one vision. I can say that we all miss her dreadfully. But you carry your loved ones with you, whether it’s my sister, or my father. She was themost incredible life force, so I remember that, and her laugh. It was this sort of wonderful, ebullient cackle that made you feel everything was going to be alright. I often want to ring her up and talk to her…” Earlier in our conversation, Joely had referred to “the gypsy life” of an actor, where “the caravan is always moving on”. It’s a theme she returns to when discussing her extraordinary family. “I always thought there was something really wonderful about the waymymum, andmy aunt – when she was still alive – would travel fromplace to place, with their little bags, and pitch up and do their bit of work,” she reflects. “An actor is a storyteller. And why do we tell stories? It originates from the campfire. It’s howwe survive – people sharing stories, sharing experiences. I think there’s something beautiful about that.” Lady Chatterley’s Lover is on Netflix now ‘I always thought there was something really wonderful about the way mymumandmy aunt would travel and pitch up and do their bit of work’