Taking a 180 degree turn, Michelle Dockery, aka Lady Mary (Downton Abbey) stars in the TV drama, Good Behaviour as Letty Dobesh, a drug addict, thief and con artist freshly out of prison.
Nominated for three consecutive Emmys and a Golden Globe Award, Dockery, 34, was engaged to Irish business consultant, John Dineen (after being set up by fellow Downton Abbey co-star Allan Leech), who tragically died last year at age 34 of cancer.
Poised and sophisticated, Dockery is easy to be around and chats to MiNDFOOD about her latest role.
THIS IS A NEW PATH FOR YOU. WHAT ATTRACTED YOU? IT’S SO DIFFERENT FROM LADY MARY
Well, I was completely hooked from the first page of the script. It wasn’t a conscious decision to do something so totally different from Lady Mary, so it was very fortunate for me that this came along. I relish every minute playing her.
YOU CAN FEEL HER DESIRE TO DO THE RIGHT THING BUT SHE CONSTANTLY MAKES BAD CHOICES. DID YOU RESEARCH THE BEHAVIOUR OF A DRUG ADDICT?
Yeah. I mean there was a certain amount I had to do and there is a whole source of information obviously on the internet. And I have said this 100 times before, but I am a huge fan of Nurse Jackie and Edie Falco’s performance in that show was a great source for me. It’s fascinating. It’s not just about the drugs and the drinking, it’s addiction itself.
YOU HAVE OBVIOUSLY BEEN THROUGH A ROLLER COASTER THE LAST FEW YEARS. HOW DO YOU STOP YOURSELF FROM GETTING BLASÉ IN THE HIGH TIMES AND WHO HELPS YOU IN THE LOW TIMES?
Family and friends. No one I would name, I am very private about my private life, you know that. But friends, like for anyone, friends and family see you through the most difficult times.
HOW ABOUT THE HIGH TIMES?
I have learned to really enjoy this side of it. The acting seems very separate for me and it took some time to get used to not being anonymous anymore, and it’s something you get used to and it comes with the territory. And Downton Abbey was something that surprised us all and was a huge springboard into America for many of us which has obviously led to opportunities like this. But it’s a very enjoyable career. I am very lucky to do something that I love.
HOW EASY OR HARD WAS IT TO SAY GOODBYE TO DOWNTON ABBEY? WAS IT ONE OF THE REASONS WHY YOU SAID YES TO THIS PROJECT, TO BREAK WITH WHAT YOU DID BEFORE?
I never wanted to go into something with that mindset. I wanted to do something different and show everyone that I can be very different from this and I was very, very fortunate when this came along and at the right time. It was an incredible journey for six years and we were very sad to say goodbye, but it was the right time. It was very exciting actually leaving and going onto something like this, a whole new path in my career. And this is what this feels like and such a great working opportunity.
WHAT DO YOU LIKE TO DO? WHAT IS FUN FOR YOU?
Going out with friends, I like dancing, I like to dance my head off, or rather, my legs off. (laughs). Me and my sisters went to a stage club when we were younger so we like to get on the dance floor and be silly. So that is what I love to do. And I love music and I love going to see live shows. Music has been a huge part of my life and it always has. I think it can get you through the hardest times.
HOW MUCH DO YOU ENJOY FASHION? YOU’RE ALWAYS SO PUT TOGETHER.
Thanks. Fashion is kind of something that I have learned more about as I have gone along, but I mean the most important thing is to feel comfortable and feel yourself. And my stylist, I have such a great relationship with, and she is a great friend. But sometimes I don’t always need to consult her. I would like to think I had pretty good taste. (laughs)
YOU MENTIONED MUSIC, BUT ARE YOU STILL SINGING IN PUBLIC?
Not at the moment but it’s something I still want to pursue. I just need to take some time out and dedicate some time to it. It’s not something that I think you can kind of do in your spare time. But at some stage I would like to explore that, yeah.
WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME YOU SANG?
The last time I sang was at the London Jazz Festival a few years ago and just sometimes when I have had a drink at a party and I bring out my guitar after I am encouraged to sing a song. (laughs)
SO HOW MUCH DO YOU MISS DOWNTON ABBEY AND DO YOU STILL SEE ANY OF THE CAST MEMBERS?
The thing that I miss the most are my cast members. But we are all still very close.
WHO ARE YOU CLOSEST TO?
I am the closest to Laura Carmichael.
WHAT WAS YOUR REACTION AFTER BREXIT?
Well I voted in so it’s something that I personally was disappointed about. And I think it’s just a question of seeing what comes of it because it’s happened now. And I like to look at it with positivity and see if something positive comes out of it. But I was disappointed.
WHAT LUXURIES DO YOU LIKE TO BUY?
I always liked buying coats. I love shopping and getting a nice piece of clothing every now and then, something really lovely and of quality and yeah, it’s lovely to treat people as well. I like buying gifts for people.