Emily Mortimer: I have Union Jack lampshades to remind me of home

Emily Mortimer: I have Union Jack lampshades to remind me of home


Emily Mortimer has “Union Jack lampshades” in her home to remind her of the UK.

The 49-year-old actress lives in the US with her husband Alessandro Nivola and their children – Samuel John, 17, and May Rose, 11 – and has said she often misses being in the UK, so has bought several pieces of British themed memorabilia to keep the spirit of her home alive.

Speaking to the May issue of Harper’s Bazaar magazine, she joked: “I’ve got loads of Royal Family commemorative plates, and the children have Union Jack lampshades.”

Emily has been unable to return to the UK amid the COVID-19 pandemic, but has said she’s pleased most of her family live in the US so she has been able to spend plenty of time with them over the past year.

She added: “My whole life depends on travelling, and the only reason it’s OK living here [Brooklyn] is because it’s so easy to get back home and see my mom and my sister and my nephews and the people I love and miss. COVID-19 has made it apparent that this isn’t something you can or should take for granted.”

For her next venture, Emily will be stepping behind the camera for the first time to direct a BBC adaptation of Nancy Mitford’s ‘The Pursuit of Love’, and has said she’s loved having the chance to be “powerful” and “in charge”.

She explained: “As an actor, you are infantilized and told what to do all the time. You’re literally given pocket money, woken up by somebody, picked up here and taken there and you’re powerless. I am very good at that. But suddenly to be in charge of this whole system! I have a very awkward relationship with authority – I have none, basically. I don’t like to upset anybody, and I find any confrontational conversation really stressful.

“For the first time in my life, I found myself able to be quite direct. I do think it’s important to know that you can do it. It’s cool to be a woman of our age who’s suddenly powerful, in charge, and to feel that’s OK. And the amazing thing about directing is that there’s no time to think at all – unlike acting, when you have a lot of time both before and during the process to sit and think about how you’re going to humiliate yourself on an international level. I felt weirdly happy doing it [directing]. Though it’s going to be horrendous when people judge it, because if it’s bad, it’s totally my fault.”

The May issue of Harper’s Bazaar is on sale from Wednesday (07.04.21), or can be found online at https://www.harpersbazaar.com/uk/