Natascha McElhone isn’t bothered that she doesn’t get offered many comic roles.
The glamorous 39-year-old – who shows glimpses of her humorous side on the hit TV show Californication – admits the serious parts she’s been given in the past may have been influenced by her appearance.
“When I left drama school, if you were a woman who was sort of tall with medium frame and didn’t have a wonky face, well, you were going to play straight rules. And that was that,” she said.
“It sounds like I’m being strident and grumpy… I took gladly all the roles that I’ve had. You say, ‘Why do I think I wasn’t cast in comedy?’ Well, perhaps I’m not very funny – or perhaps I’m only funny in the safety of my home.”
The English star may be best known for more sombre roles in films like The Devil’s Own, but it was making people laugh which first inspired her to become an actress.
“As a child I would do impersonations of my parents’ friends. As soon as they would leave our house, I would run in and do my version of them, and make my parents howl with laughter.”
In Californication – shown in the UK on Channel 5 – Natascha plays Karen, the long-suffering, on-off girlfriend of promiscuous writer Hank (David Duchovny).
“She never quite gets the same feeling or the same hit from anyone else, and that’s what brings her back to him,” the actress explained.
“The cycle of their relationship is, perhaps in some ways, repetitive. But each time the wheel goes around, there’s a different set of colours in the kaleidoscope.”