She would probably be a May day, which is basically clear but quite windy with violent squalls that blow over quickly.” So Juliet Stevenson describes her character in the recently released Truly, Madly, Deeply, England’s low-budget, quirky answer to Ghost. Stunned by her lover’s sudden death, then startled by his preternatural return, Stevenson as Nina weathers an emotional storm and in the process introduces American audiences to a fresh brand of unaffected charm.
An army brat who grew up in Australia, Germany, and Malta, the 33-year-old Brit has been a veteran of the Royal Shakespeare Company since age 20, when she played Madame de Tourvel in the original stage production of Les Liaisons Dangereuses opposite her Truly costar, Alan Rickman (Die Hard). She’s since become a regular on British stage, telly (1984’s Freud), and film (1990’s Drowning by Numbers), but the role closest to her, figuratively and literally, is the one in Truly: Writer-director Anthony Minghella, a longtime friend, based the character on Stevenson’s own May-day personality. Such rich parts are hard to come by: ”It’s a shame that many producers think that people only want to see the formula of beautiful people falling in love with each other,” says Stevenson. ”People want to be involved and moved. If they want to see perfectly symmetrical faces, they can just buy magazines.”