An E.M. Forster Reprise for Helena Bonham Carter With PM-AP Arts: Forster Flick
Jan. 23, 1991
LONDON (AP) _ She's finished her second film based on a novel by E.M. Forster and has a third set to go in the spring. If she's going to be typecast, Helena Bonham Carter says, this is the way to go.
''People must think I get up and put my corset on,'' joked the 24-year-old brunette.
But she said Forster ''just writes really good women. ... The thing is there isn't all that much work around, and you might as well do good stuff if it comes your way.''
In Britain, ''good stuff'' often lies in period drama.
Three Forster novels - ''A Room With a View,'' ''A Passage to India,'' and ''Maurice'' - have been filmed over the past decade. The first starred Bonham Carter as the lovestruck Lucy Honeychurch, who finds romance in Italy.
On Nov. 11, the actress completed a seven-week shoot on ''Where Angels Fear to Tread,'' another Forster novel about Britons discovering their true selves in Italy. The film, shot on location in Tuscany as well as in and around London, co-stars Rupert Graves, Judy Davis and Helen Mirren.
Directed by Charles Sturridge (''A Handful of Dust'' TV's ''Brideshead Revisited''), the movie is due for release in the spring.
''Where Angels Fear to Tread,'' the actress said, is more disturbing and richer than its predecessor.
''It's a darker, more somber film. Charles (Sturridge) didn't want to make it at all romantic,'' Bonham Carter said of the film, which casts her as Caroline Abbott, traveling companion to Helen Mirren's widowed Lilia Herriton. ''Caroline is very conventional on one level, but underneath it, she's a rebel.''
So, in an admittedly pampered way, is this actress, who hardly seems herself in a floor-length Edwardian-era dress.
Nor does she have the pretensions that can accompany a tony background. Her great-grandfather was the Liberal Prime Minister Lord Asquith. Her grandmother's brother, Anthony Asquith, was the movie director of ''The Millionairess'' and ''The VIPs.''
''I still live with my mom and dad. This is the pathetic thing,'' she said between puffs on a cigarette. ''I still don't do my own washing.
''I have spasms of cooking, but I'm quite lazy, really. All the boring bits, the mundane bits, of living take up quite a lot of time.''
As does her career, which right now seems to be on a roll.
In April, Bonham Carter starts filming her third Forster novel - ''Howard's End,'' playing Helen Schlegel, opposite James Wilby, Anthony Hopkins and Vanessa Redgrave.
Before that, she opened Dec. 19 in ''Hamlet,'' Franco Zeffirelli's film of Shakespeare's tragedy. She plays Ophelia to Mel Gibson's Danish prince. The cast also includes Glenn Close, Ian Holm, Paul Scofield and Alan Bates.
She said her Ophelia differs considerably from that of Jean Simmons, who played the part in Laurence Olivier's Academy Award-winning 1948 film.
Bonham Carter aimed to avoid ''a sort of Victorian, fairy tale-type madness - little girls who are all really dizzy.
''I wanted to make the madness downright disturbing, much more raw. It's like the sort of madness you'd see on the tube. It's unattractive, and it should be a bit ugly.''
She made her film debut in 1984 in Trevor Nunn's ''Lady Jane'' and has also appeared in ''Getting It Right,'' with Lynn Redgrave, and on TV in ''Miami Vice.''
The actress said she had grown comfortable with acting, not that she hasn't considered other options.
''I might have ended up as a journalist,'' she said. ''I don't know.''