thandie newton elite living africaElite Living Africa's Richard Luck had the chance to meet Thandie and talk to her about her career, former co-stars and why she is now taking her skills behind the camera

With her fine features and 'jolly hockey sticks' accent, you could be forgiven for thinking Thandie Newton is one of the world's gentler souls. As this writer discovered in 2005, while she's unfailingly pleasant and polite, the star of Crash and Mission: Impossible II is someone you wouldn't want to cross. Take John Duigan, the director of Flirting, the charming Australian drama that introduced the world to Thandie. You could be forgiven for thinking she'd be grateful to the veteran filmmaker for giving her such a break. Not a bit of it.

"If I never hear his name again, it won't be a day too soon. I love Flirting and I feel that I gave a really good performance, but I don't have any time for him as a person. And why I was good in that movie has nothing to do with him." And Duigan's not the only person to have got Ms Newton's dander up. When she dropped out of Charlie's Angels, she was quick to point out that Lucy Liu might have been a reason for her backing out. Reading between the lines, it's also apparent she hasn't much time for Mark Wahlberg who played her love interest in The Truth About Charlie. Good as it is to see someone stand up for themselves, it's more pleasing still that Thandie Newton's willingness to speak her mind hasn't stifled her acting career. Her list of co-stars reads like a who's who of Hollywood power players.

Tom Cruise (M:I II), Will Smith (The Pursuit Of Happyness), Vin Diesel (The Chronicles Of Riddick), Oprah Winfrey (Beloved) - all this and she's collaborated with such celebrated directors as Oliver Stone (W.) and Bernardo Bertolucci (Besieged). It's not a bad haul for someone who's keen to point out that they've "never had a career plan. I'm not tactical in the slightest when it comes to choosing projects. I pick scripts because I like them and because they allow me and my family to pursue a normal life." Family life for Melanie Thandiwe Newton means her writer/director husband Ol Parker (The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel and the forthcoming Mamma Mia! prequel) and their three children, Ripley, Nico and Booker. 

The rest of the article can be read in Elite Living Africa Issue 1 2018