Wednesday, November 21, 2007

The Rules According to Helena Bonham Carter

Adapted from "The Rules According to Helena" (More Magazine Dec. 2007/Jan. 2008 issue)

(Photo Credit:

She might be the only actress in the annals of Hollywood to play Ophelia, get an Oscar nomination for a period drama (The Wings of the Dove) and portray a chimp (Planet of the Apes). "That's the kick I get out of acting-to think you've completely reinvented yourself," says Bonham Carter. In December, the very pregnant actress is due to give birth and star as London's worst pie maker, Mrs. Lovett, in Sweeney Todd. Her partner-and goth-art master-Tim Burton, directed the movie musical.

Her rules for hitting life's high notes:

1. Find Your Voice
"I didn't really know if I could sing, but I thought, I can't lose anything by auditioning. Right up front, Tim said, 'You will not be given preferential treatment because you sleep with me, but by all means try.'"

2. Know When to Shut Up
"One weekend, Tim and I came up with Indian chief names for each other. My name for him was Big Chief Little Patience, and he called me Little Squaw Running Mouth. I think that distilled our relationship on the set. We clashed a bit, but it couldn't have been that bad because I'm now expecting our second child."

3. Indulge Your Inner Toddler
"I was never happy with my appearance. Now I thank God I was given a body that functions. Motherhood helps because you're not just bringing up your kids-they bring you up too. You're constantly rediscovering bits of yourself, like the joy of pointless playing."

4. Be Comfortable In The Skin You're In-Even If It's An Ape Suit
"It's more revealing than concealing, wearing a chimp suit. That's what I learned from watching myself in "Planet of the Apes". I could see what I project: my essence. I love the unflattering white Sweeney makeup. You can see I don't Botox; I might have the only wrinkled forehead in Hollywood."

5. Vive La Difference!
"I've got my own side of our house, which is very feminine, Beatrix Potter and eminently tastesful. Tim decorated his side, which is very Tim. We have strange things: Oompa-Loompas and a life-size Sammy Davis Jr. waxwork. We're both not afraid to be different.

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