Then there’s this one… I adore her on and off the screen…what a fave…what a BROAD!!! JA/2015
Joanna Lumley on turning 70 next year: ‘I’m jumping for joy that I’m finally getting old’
Sultry screen star and legend Joanna Lumley, 69, talks Elvis, ageing and the release of a small unknown movie called Absolutely Fabulous…
She may have ticked off most things on your average bucket list, but to us, waiting to meet Joanna Lumley feels like swimming with dolphins, sailing down the Nile and walking the Great Wall of China all at the same time.
While we’re in reception, we hear her smooth-like-velvet voice a mile off and it isn’t long before she is bounding towards us, greeting us by grabbing both our hands, telling us how fabulous we look, complimenting our perfume and then linking arms with us as we walk to a room where she pours us drinks. She absolutely insisted.
And that’s it. We are 100% charmed. And what’s the occasion? Only another one of Joanna’s brilliant documentaries, this time, on the life and legacy of Elvis Presley.
Someone who she loves so much, she is wearing blue suede shoes in his honour and has rather sweetly propped up a handsome picture of Elvis against her glass of water so she can gaze at him lovingly.
Joanna has graced us with her greatness since 1969, when she starred as a Bond Girl, (obviously) in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. Since then, she’s done anything and everything, from kissing Leo DiCaprio in The Wolf Of Wall Street, taking us to see the Northern Lights, casually making a documentary about Will.I.Am and, of course, what we love her for the most, playing the naughty Patsy Stone in megahit comedy,Absolutely Fabulous.
Now, her priorities are spending more time with her husband Stephen, her son Jamie and being a glam grandma to her two young grandchildren. But she won’t be slowing down too much any time soon.
So, sweetie darlings, we quizzed Joanna on the new Ab Fab movie, her unconventional lifestyle and what leaves her all shook up…
Can you tell us anything about the Absolutely Fabulous movie?
[Squeals excitedly] I would love to tell you everything darling, but I really shouldn’t. All the old cast are in it, there are plenty of surprises. It’s a fantastic story. It’s very funny. It’s divine, glamorous, ridiculous and fabulous.
There is a lot of expectation surrounding it, does that bother you?
Oh, I know people will expect it to be good and so they should. But much like Christmas cake, if you don’t like it, it’s more you than it.
We’ve heard Kim Kardashian will be in it…
Well I heard that Harry Styles is in it this morning. I’m not ruling anybody out, but you know, (Joanna gives a very suspicious smirk) you’ll have to wait and see.
How long does it take to get into Patsy mode?
It takes a tragically short time, darling. Sometimes Jennifer Saunders and I will watch an episode together just to get it back in our heads.
Although of course it’s secretly in my head all the time.
Do Patsy and Eddie have some new costumes for the film?
Edina has many more things to look completely wrong in. I’ve got a hair piece this time round. Because I would be filming every day for seven weeks with my hair backcombed to sh*t, brushing it out and doing the same thing every morning. Horrible! I wanted hair at the end of filming.
Will you keep playing Patsy until you’re 90?
Absolutely. The great thing is that we’ve already done an episode of Ab Fab where we looked forward to the future. We had four and a half hours of make-up. Our skin covered with liver spots and big saggy bosoms made out of sand, hanging down. So we’ve been about as far as we can go in terms of old.
Is there anything different this time round?
The smoking will be interesting as people are very serious about it now. Children can access videos of beheadings and play the most horrifically violent video games, yet they will most definitely smoke if they see someone smoking on TV. It’s madness. But there is no other way when it comes to Patsy, really.
Did you and Jennifer Saunders get together before filming?
We never see each other. Our lives are so busy. I’m so busy I hardly ever see anybody. We both have grandchildren, so we can’t hang out a lot. Oh, how I wish we could though.
Are there ever moments where the lines between reality and Ab Fab
Do you mean, “Do I ever go out and get absolutely slaughtered?” Well life is so serious now, isn’t it? I just don’t have time. I’ve behaved well so far, but you never know when filming is over…
What would be your drink of choice?
Well, much like Patsy, Bollinger, of course.
How often do you get dolled-up to go to a party?
Never. I can’t explain how sad people’s lives are when they’re as busy as mine. My husband is away for six weeks for work. By the time he gets back, I’ll be working. We work all weekends. I’m not good at going out partying any more. Maybe I should call up Kim Kardashian and get some tips.
If you get an evening in together, do you watch yourself on TV?
No. My husband hasn’t seen any of my shows. We never have time. We live a strange life. Terribly happy, but it isn’t completely normal.
There’s nothing normal about your life?
No. I was astonished to hear Elizabeth Taylor used to have Ab Fab weekends at her mansion. She’d get her showbiz pals round and they’d wear pyjamas, drink fizz and watch the show. That enthralled me! I will never forget it.
What are your fans like?
Oh, so lovely, darling. I take the tube and take taxis and things in public, and I love smiling at people. I was driving along in my Smart car, and a young man in a fantastic car pulled up beside me.
I smiled at him and told him he had a lovely car. Then he sped off, but kept pulling up beside me and grinning. I thought, “Oh no, he got the wrong impression from that grin? Does he know I’m 100 and a granny?” So I tried to give him a schoolmistressy look instead.
You have done it all, but is there anything left on your bucket list?
Plenty. But it is hard to leave my family when I film. And I can’t do everything in the world. I’ve seen so many of the great wonders. But
I don’t have to want to do everything all the time. It means you miss out on the rest of life and life is getting shorter for me, as it does for everyone. I realise my days are measured.
How do you feel about turning 70 next year?
[Squeals] Yay! I am so excited. It’s hard to explain how getting older feels. I was formed so many years ago. All that’s changed is the outside, the person inside hasn’t. Getting older isn’t a sin. If you’re alive, you’ll get old.
There is no point denying it. F**k it, if you’ve done how much I’ve done, you are just jumping for joy when you hit my age. I have amazing things happening next year, so roll on 70!
So you wouldn’t want to wake up and be 40 again?
I’ve always wanted to be old. When I was 10, I wanted to be 18. When I was 18, I wanted to be 30. I love old. I love old people and I always knew old would be good for me and would contain great glories.
Next year will be utterly fabulous.
Joanna on Elvis Presley
Is Priscilla Presley your new best friend?
She’s a darling and it felt like we were old friends quickly. We’re very similar actually – except she is skinny and petite and I am a bit like a horse.
What was the highlight of the documentary?
Meeting Dixie, Elvis’s first girlfriend. I knew there would be enough women watching me so I had to ask her what it was like to kiss Elvis. Luckily, she said he was good to kiss.
Who is always on your mind?
My son Jamie.
Would you say you have a suspicious mind?
No. I’m an absolute sucker for everything.
What leaves you all shook up?
Elvis Presley of course! He was so easy to love.