Helena Bonham Carter has had a very all-over-the-place career. The English actress made her name with period pieces, with costume dramas like Room with a View and Howards End. Then again, she’s also done phantasmagoric Tim Burton movies, Woody Allen comedies, and, of course, Fight Club, in which the Merchant-Ivory regular was able to transform into the epically self-destructive Marla Singer (a role that was reportedly once supposed to go to Janeane Garofalo). That film has remained popular over the last 21 years, but some of its bigger fans are not who you’d think.
Carter was doing a Zoom chat with Deadline for their retrospective series The Actor’s Side, and she spoke about the roles that continue to get the most attention from fans. She then related the time she spoke with an older lady, upper class and British. “You just see her and go, ‘She’s going to be a Merchant-Ivory [fan],” Carter said. But she was taken aback when she learned the real answer: She loved Fight Club. “How great is that?” Carter gushed.
Then there’s the other side of the age spectrum. She spoke about hip 20-something men — long the target audience of David Fincher’s classic. They, too, have a surprising answer: the Harry Potter films, in which she played evil Bellatrix Lestrange. These young adults, of course, grew up watching her play what she describes as a “psychotic person,” and “they still have that inner child that goes, ‘What the f*ck!’”
The lesson her? Never assume what will stick with people. “You just don’t know what people want to talk about,” Carter says. “It’s not my doing. I don’t make these films. I’m so lucky to feature in the imaginations of these people — but very different imaginations.” She then explained her career’s wild diversity. “There’s absolutely no consistency to my career whatsoever. But that’s just me, because I like changing things up and I’m curious.”
You can watch the full interview over at Deadline.