Saturday, April 25, 2015

Pink Carnation Spotlight - Michelle Dockery (Laura Grey)

From the moment I first delved into Laura Grey's story in The Orchid Affair there was only one actress in my mind who could bring this character to life. Someone with the looks, the attitude, and the acting chops.

Name: Michelle Dockery

"Dream" Character Casting for the Lauren Willig Miniseries: Laura Grey

First Impression: The first thing I ever saw Michelle in was her second ever screen credit in the adaptation of Terry Pratchett's Hogfather. She literally killed it as Susan, DEATH's granddaughter and a governess, and by it I mean the monsters under the bed disturbing her charges with a poker. Quite literally the definition of stoic and unshakable governess.

Why they'd be the perfect actor for the Lauren Willig Miniseries: Well, aside from the whole governess angle, she has this ability to appear perfectly calm and collected, like she's wearing a mask or armor, but when she starts to soften, you realize all the emotions that mask was hiding. I can't think of anyone who can portray that stoic resolve that melts when she finds love. Plus, she's good with a poker.

Lasting Impression: Seriously, Hogfather people. There was no way it was anything but memorable and awesome, even if Going Postal is still the best Pratchett adaptation out there.

What else you've seen them in: Um Downton Abbey anyone? Most popular British import show to the US ever? Michelle has also been in a few crime shows like Waking the Dead, Heatbeat, and Dalziel and Pascoe, but for those of the Masterpiece Theatre fandom, you've most likely seen her in The Hollow Crown, Anna Karenina, Return to Cranford, or The Turn of the Screw. Only some of those I'd recommend... but at least The Turn of the Screw was a little more inventive then most adaptations and didn't tease you with Colin Firth.

Can't believe it's them: Michelle has a little role in Fingersmith, which isn't the best adaptation of the book, but it was fun to see her first role on screen.

Wish they hadn't: Seriously, this is a hard choice between Red Riding and Return to Cranford. Red Riding was just all around bleak with almost indecipherable accents loosely following events around the Yorkshire Ripper. But I think the crown goes to Return to Cranford, which was just atrocious. All the characters had personality transplants from the first series and the book, and then both Michelle AND Tom Hiddleston were underused, both with ridiculous haircuts to boot, see the picture above.

Bio: Michelle seems to have been made for the stage, starting young and then going to the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London, getting her first television job the year after she graduated in the adaptation of Sarah Waters's Fingersmith. But she's never fully left the stage, appearing in such wide ranging productions as His Dark Materials, Pygmalion, and Hamlet. She is often on stage for singing as well, being a jazz singer who has performed and collaborated with her Downton Abbey co-star, Elizabeth McGovern and her band, Sadie and the Hotheads. But it's was truly her role as Lady Mary in Downton Abbey that launched her to fame in 2010. At least fame hasn't damped her sense of humor, as you can see in this fabulous Lady Mary spoof, Tough Justice.


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