Maisie Williams underwent an intense physical transformation for her latest role.
In the latest issue of Harper’s Bazaar U.K. the 26-year-old actress reveals that for her role as Catherine Dior in the upcoming Apple TV+ series, The New Look, she shaved her head and lost 25 pounds, which she admits was a grueling process.
“It was very relentless,” she tells the magazine about the transformation to play Catherine, the sister of designer Christian Dior, who rebuilt her life after being imprisoned by Nazis at the Ravensbrück concentration camp. “The process of doing take after take, it really breaks down your character in a way. It’s not for everyone, but for me, I like to get lost in a role, and keep on pushing until we complete a scene.”
Getting into the role involved an intense routine that included sweating out fluids before shooting scenes.
“I was eating very little, meditating all the time, burning candles and incense in my apartment,” she shares. “I had to be up at 4am to start sweating. The night before, at about 7 or 8 p.m. I was allowed to have something salty and dehydrating — some smoked salmon and a tiny glass of wine. Then I had a boiling-hot bath with lots of salts in it. And I sort of levitated to bed and slept for maybe three hours, and woke up and had a handful of nuts. I wouldn’t be able to sleep through the night at this point. I kept waking up and feeling like a marble inside a bottle, rattling around…”
Williams shares that the transformation was different from her time on Game of Thrones, which involved her “building different muscles” rather than losing weight.
However, the transformation took a toll on her, day in and day out.
“(The role) took over what I’m eating and how I’m moving and sleeping and thinking,” she says.
She adds, “There was a lot of feeling restricted, almost like sleep paralysis, dreams of being trapped and attacked, and horrible visions of men in uniform.”
In the end, Catherine went on to escape imprisonment, and moved to Paris where she became a rose grower in Provence.
The story’s happy ending was a beacon of light for the actress after the intense filming process.
“Every day of filming was a reminder that we were portraying a story of the horrors that humans are capable of inflicting on one another, but also the magic and the hope and the love,” she says. “Ultimately, we wanted to make a show that was uplifting.”
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