Since her breakout role in 1996's Secrets & Lies, Brenda Blethyn has found steady work in both British and American films. Next up, she appears in Kevin Spacey's Beyond the Sea as '50s crooner Bobby Darin's mother. Despite her big-screen success, this theater veteran's heart still belongs to the stage.
"I love the theater," says the 58-year-old actress, who's currently headlining with Sopranos star Edie Falco on Broadway in a revival of Marsha Norman's acclaimed play 'night, Mother. "The show is going fabulously well. We've had a standing ovation every single performance, except for one when the air-conditioning was up too high. There's a lot of laughter. You'd be forgiven for thinking it was a comedy — and then you hear it kind of turn. It's just a wonderful play."
The Broadway gig is a dream come true for Blethyn, a regular fixture on the London stage since the '70s, when she joined the prestigious National Theatre Company. "I've done a great deal of theater, but I've never worked on Broadway, so this seems like the most wonderful place to be," she says. "Being a success on Broadway is like a stamp of approval. American audiences are very appreciative and show it. They're very generous in their applause, and that's so satisfying."
Blethyn's theatrical ambitions may even extend to directing. "I'd just start small — maybe at a drama school at home [in the UK]," she remarks. "I say this as someone who doesn't have any ambition and probably never will. It's just one of those things that would be nice to do. If it doesn't happen, I'm not going to lose any sleep over it."She also hopes to reunite with Spacey, who was recently named the artistic director of London's Old Vic Theatre. "I'd love to work with Kevin in theater," she says. "I'd love to act with Kevin! We only have one fleeting scene together in Beyond the Sea — all my scenes are with William Ullrich [who plays the young Darin]. He's easy to work with because he understands actors' problems and deals with them in a quiet way."