Having already won acclaim and a slew of awards (two Emmys, two SAG awards, a Golden Globe and a Broadcasting Press Guild award) for her breakout turn as Queen Elizabeth II on the first two seasons of “The Crown,” Claire Foy is earning some of the best reviews of her career (and some Oscar buzz) for her key supporting turn in Sarah Polley’s awards-season favorite “Women Talking.”
Foy stands out alongside a superb ensemble, partially because she is among the more confrontational and conventionally outraged of the group. After learning that the men of her isolated Mennonite colony are drugging and raping its women in the middle of the night, her Salome wants something approximating violent retribution if not outright war. Meanwhile, those around her debate whether to forgive, to flee or to fight back.
“She’s really frustrated, feels betrayed, murderous,” Foy said. “Her anger and her rage is pretty righteous and proportional.”
Speaking with TheWrap co-founder and CEO Sharon Waxman about the challenges still facing women in the industry today and the specific value of a film like “Women Talking,” Foy also noted that she had never before read a script that was just about women discussing the conflicts and struggles within their lives. She said she was honored that Polley trusted her with the material.
“Women Talking” is based on Miriam Toews’ novel and inspired by real-life events that occurred in the Manitoba Colony in Bolivia. The film also stars Rooney Mara, Jessie Buckley, Judith Ivey, Ben Whishaw and, in a brief but impactful extended cameo, Frances McDormand, who also produced the film alongside Dede Gardner and Jeremy Kleiner.
Foy noted that the film’s specific narrative represented the world we live in and the experience of women living in the modern world. However, it’s not only women who can relate to its themes.
“It’s about any marginalized group of people,” Foy reflected. “It’s unsafe for them to imagine a world without their oppressors. We don’t believe we have a right to imagine a better world.”
Foy also briefly discussed her career-changing role in “The Crown,” as her and Waxman touched on the differences in perception between Americans and those from the United Kingdom when it comes to the Royal Family. In the end, the actress argued that “The Crown” was a vehicle for empathy, showing that everyone, even kings and queens, are human beings.
She concluded the conversation by discussing her hopes for genuine change in terms of how women are treated within the entertainment industry – and, by proxy, the world over.
“Some days I’m optimistic, and some days I’m depressed,” Foy admitted. “I’d be lying if I felt that there was an overall fixing in progress. That’s going to come with the next generation. It’s not an easy fix.”
The Power Women Summit (PWS) is the largest annual gathering of the most influential women in entertainment, media and technology. The event aims to inspire and empower women across the landscape of their professional careers and personal lives. This year’s PWS provides two days of education, mentorship, workshops and networking around the globe – to promote this year’s theme, “A Time to Unite.” Learn more here: thewrap.com/pws.