Helena Bonham Carter on the Set of “Suffragette”

Posted on April 14, 2014

If nothing else, the combination of perfect casting and fantastically on point costuming are making this into a must-see for us.

Helena-Bonham-Carter-Suffragette-Tom-Lorenzo-Site-TLO (1)Helena Bonham Carter (pictured below with Carey Mulligan) takes part in the filming of “Suffragette” at Parliament in London, England. This is the first time filming for a movie has been allowed in The Houses of Parliament. “Suffragette” is due for release in 2015.

Helena-Bonham-Carter-Suffragette-Tom-Lorenzo-Site-TLO (2)

Helena-Bonham-Carter-Suffragette-Tom-Lorenzo-Site-TLO (3)

Helena-Bonham-Carter-Suffragette-Tom-Lorenzo-Site-TLO (4)

Helena-Bonham-Carter-Suffragette-Tom-Lorenzo-Site-TLO (5)

Helena-Bonham-Carter-Suffragette-Tom-Lorenzo-Site-TLO (6)

Everybody looks so perfectly of-the-period. You could remove the color from these pictures, dirty them up a bit, and convincingly pass them off as period photos.  Not the shots with the puffy jackets, of course. Those are a little jarring. Like seeing the Mad Men cast with cell phones.

Helena, Carey and Meryl Streep all have faces that look period-appropriate in that indefinable way (which is why they’ve all found themselves cast in more than a handful of period films). You put them in the right costumes and they can look astonishingly at home in a setting like this. You’ve got to have the right actors in the costumes in order to sell the whole thing. You do it wrong and you get something like Cameron Diaz, with her perfect flat American diction and straight white teeth, in Gangs of New York, a casting that’ll get Tom to rant at the drop of a hat. There wasn’t a costume in existence that was going to make that casting seem believable and accurate.

Notice how much HBC stands out in this crowd; the purples and greens of her costume set off against all the black costumes that surround her.





[Photo Credit: Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images]

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  • conniemd

    It looks like Helena’s every day wear, since she tends to dress of that period, though more English and loves the black, dull tones (despite the purple and green.

    • StillGary

      Ha ha, remember how oft-reportedly Nicole Kidman did her own makeup for The Paperboy? Well Helena brought her own clothes.

  • Judy_S

    “You could remove the color from these pictures, dirty them up a bit, and convincingly pass them off as period photos.”

    Except for the teeth. I think that’s Anne-Marie Duff sporting her perfect smile there, and HBC’s are pearly too.

    • Sophie

      You can dirty up the teeth along with the rest of the picture! The first time this kind of thing really stood out to me was in “The African Queen”, where Humphrey Bogart and his pearly whites play someone who works in mines and lives on a boat in Africa.

      • Danielle

        Or anyone in a zombie apocalypse flick. (Except for Bill Murray in Zombieland, because Bill Murray.)

      • Donna Tabor

        Actually, the one thing that most impressed me in Africa was how white teeth were, even in the tiny, rural villages. They know how to care for their teeth, using a bit of shrub they use as a toothbrush.

        • melisaurus

          Also not eating processed food helps.

    • Aroo

      I inherited my straight, white teeth from my great-grandpa who grew up in shack with a dirt floor. He was a young man around the time this film was set. It can happen!

      • Sarah

        Me too. But there is fluoride in the water these days (at least in the US), so it’s hard to say.

        • Donna Tabor

          There are also places in the world, like the town I grew up in, that have naturally fluoridated water.

          • Sarah

            How interesting! Neat.

    • brown-eyed girl

      I was thinking the same thing.

  • Danielle

    Whoever that dude is in the 2nd to last picture has my vote.

    • Wendi126

      I see what you did there

  • Crystal

    Cameron Diaz in Gangs of New York will never fail to produce rage-filled ranting from me. Who the hell thought that was a good plan?

    • bitchybitchybitchy

      Whenever I see Gangs of New York, basically what I see is Daniel Day-Lewis giving an absolutely ferocious performance as a terrifying character…and then there are the other people in the movie.

      • Sarah

        It’s like DDL, Dicaprio, Neeson, and John C. Reilly are in one film, and then Cameron Diaz is in another.

        • bitchybitchybitchy

          Add JIm Broadbent and Brendan Gleeson to that list of actors who worked well.

      • KinoEye

        Yes. I don’t worship the ground Daniel Day walks on, like so many of my friends, but Bill Cutting is one of my absolute favorite roles of his.

        • bitchybitchybitchy

          In my book Bill Cutting is the performance for which he should have won the Best Actor Oscar.

          • KinoEye

            Agreed. It took me a few years, but I came around with There Will Be Blood. I considered it Kubrick lite for the longest time (and not in a good way), but it’s a puzzling, bleak rabbit hole of a film and no one was better for Daniel Plainview than DDL.

            Disagree with his Lincoln win, though. Should’ve been Joaquin Phoenix for The Master that year. The Butcher is probably his best. He’s allowed to chew the scenery and be bombastic and over-the-top, which is his wheelhouse. Subtlety isn’t usually his strong point.

          • melisaurus

            Kubrick Lite is such a good word for it though.

          • bitchybitchybitchy

            I think that anyone who played Lincoln would have won the Oscar that year-no way was the Academy going to pass over a historical icon such as Abe. I was glad that DDL won for There Will be Blood,although that movie will live in my memory as surpasslingly bleak. I do give credit to Paul Thomas Anderson for some stunning visual images.

    • Constant Reader

      I actually laughed out loud towards the end of Gangs of New York. When they rolled out the cannons I thought, “Yep, that’s the only form of violent death in this period that we haven’t seen.”

    • decormaven

      Truly. Her presence is a needle scratch for sure.

    • paginatrix

      Cameron Diaz says “both” with an L in it. “Bolth.” AAAUUUUGGGHHHHH!!!!!

      • Crystal

        I know people who do that with “folks”, but that word actually HAS AN L IN IT.

  • Kerry McCombs

    Romola Garai too! Yay! I can’t wait to see this!

  • M_E_S

    Oh man, and Romola Garai??? This is definitely a must-see. SO MANY FABULOUS LADIES

    • heartbot

      Is that her in the pictures? I love her. Didn’t know she was in this…

  • Tanya Wade

    Exactly. They all look like real people. It’s incredible how homogenized Hollywood has become; everyone with the same damned nose and blue/white teeth. Long live diversity and realness.

    • Sarah


      • Tanya Wade

        Rain Man (I know…!) was on HBO the other morning, and I was looking at Valeria Golino, who is now a director. Small boobs, curly hair, big nose, but beautiful. I pray people like HBC never change, but I think she is one of our few shining lights in this respect.

        • Sarah

          Really. Even Jennifer Grey got a nose job 🙁

          • ampg

            Well, that was an accident, though. She’s given interviews about it – the surgeon was supposed to correct a small cartilage issue without changing the shape.

          • Sarah

            Oh, I didn’t know that. Okay, Ashlee Simpson then.

    • Janet B

      Funny to see the ‘criminal’ or ‘homeless person’ on television with extra white teeth.

    • KinoEye

      Realness for the win. It’s a fine line — films aren’t meant to be documentaries, but you can’t be thinking “There’s no WAY that would happen” throughout the whole thing. One of my favorite examples was in one of the Transformers movies (I was sick and delirious; don’t judge) and Megan Fox is running around in these white pants in the middle of the desert. Shit explodes, she falls down a bunch, and those white pants are still immaculate. Funny how I was more bothered by that than almost anything else in that horrid piece of work.

      • demidaemon

        This is exactly why I struggle with many period films and the way they represent romance and sex. Most marriages were arranged, and sex wasn’t the funtimes it often is made out to be. Also add in a bunch of other stuff that has me tearing my hair out. Thus, I avoid most period/historical films unless I see that, like this one, they are making an effort to stay true to the period and social conventions.

        • bitchybitchybitchy

          This is why I have stayed away from The Tudors, Borgias, etc. Marriages, especially at the royal level, were matters of state, and the powers that be were concerned with political ends, the begatting of heirs, etc. NOT with a hot, 21st century skinny Ann Boleyn or whateve other foolishness they concocted to woo the coveted 18-49 demographic.

          • demidaemon


          • bitchybitchybitchy

            I still credit my 10th grade world history teacher for giving his students a perspective on life in the middle ages that has remained with me;he simply spoke matter of factly about how people lived in those times, the lack of hygiene, how food was heavily spice in part to cover up the smell of rancid meat, for instance, how short most lives were. It was a good corrective to my romantic, fairy tale induced ideas!

        • KinoEye

          Ever seen Barry Lyndon? For my money, the greatest (and most painstakingly accurate) period piece of all time.

          • demidaemon

            No, I’ll have to check it out. 🙂

    • Constant Reader

      I’m always amazed at British shows where the people in a town look like they might actually be people in a town. Yes, the main characters are usually very good-looking, but not in a cookie-cutter way, and the rest of the town has a variety of faces and body types. It feels so much more like a slice of real life.

      • KinoEye

        THIS. This is why I love British television and films. The people look real, not as if they’ve been manufactured to fit a very narrow idea of what average people look like.

      • Beardslee

        British actresses are allowed to age more than they are in Hollywood – not that that’s saying much. And they get to be good at the job they are playing.

    • butterflysunita

      HBC is stunningly beautiful. But she still does have a look that makes her fit into the scene convincingly.

  • Tatiana Luján

    Don’t forget Romola Garai, she’s amazing! I am longing for this movie.

  • Alanna

    Lucy Honeychurch, all grown up!

  • Jessica Freeman

    I hope this movie lives up to what it should promise. I always think of a local radio bit that used to go out and ask women on the street if they believed in women’s suffrage and mostly all of them would say “NO!! Women deserve better than suffering!!” **face palm**

    • bitchybitchybitchy

      Face hitting desk….oooooh no.

  • MannahattaMamma

    I love the idea of trying to change the world (and ultimately succeeding) all the while wearing big damn hats.

    • Indeed.

    • Darren Nesbitt

      Tlo says HBC stands out but I notice the bright green hat the most (last photo). That hat would be considered more fancy, no?

  • Kelly

    Yeah, these faces are great. Carey Mulligan looks like she’s in a genuine 1912 time warp. It’s so hard to get period looks; changes in nutrition and dentistry mean that many people just don’t look the way they would have 100 years ago. Some casting director has really come up with the goods here (and the costumers/make-up people, too — minimal to no makeup and believable red noses FTW) (Haha — love the Starbucks cups, too)

  • JauntyJohn

    I love the Starbucks cup in the fourth shot.
    Whenever I see stuff like that from movie sets where everything else is spot on I think, “Cool! Time travel!”

    • formerlyAnon

      I like how your mind works.

  • formerlyAnon

    God. Genetics. Bones.

    Which is to say: I do like her face.

    • ballerinawithagun


  • Denise Rambo

    The only time I can stand to look at her is when she’s in a costume.

    • demidaemon

      So, always?

      • formerlyAnon


  • Beardslee

    I am beside myself with anticipation for this movie, but I do have a quibble: it looks as though HBC’s hair is cut in a bob and I believe it’s too early for that. I think of bobs as being a post war phenomenon. Please tell me that I’m wrong.

    • hunt3002

      Emilie Marie Bouchard, a French actress, had a bob like hairstyle in the 1890s. It obviously was not socially acceptable at the time, but it is somewhat conceivable for a very forward thinking woman in pre-War London to have short hair.

      • not_Bridget

        Various versions of the Bob became popular during the War. Women were taking nontraditional jobs & had less time to fuss with long hair. The ladies’ maids were also taking other jobs–leaving women to tend to their own hair.

        Bobs would have been rare before the War–but not impossible to find.

    • I may be imagining it, but I have a recollection that women had their hair cut short when they were put in prison. As HBC is wearing a suffragette medal indicating several periods of hunger strike – which would have happened while in prison because no one would notice if you were hunger striking at home, I would suspect her hair is growing back after that.

    • Kate4queen

      I seem to remember reading that a lot of the suffragettes ending up cutting their hair because a) it gave their opponents less stuff to grab onto and b) in prison they didn’t have anyone to help them style it and there were lice, fleas etc to be endured.

  • KinoEye

    Tom, you’re so right about Cammie in Gangs of New York. Major needle scratch for me, too. Love everything that’s going on here. Excellent work on casting, because every single one of these women look like real suffragettes from that period.

  • Judy_J

    This is a “must see” for me when it is released. I must confess, though, every time I hear the word “suffragette” the suffragette song from Mary Poppins starts running through my head. “We’re merely soldiers in petticoats, dauntless crusaders for women’s votes….”

    • wuffgal

      “Though we adore men individually, we agree that as a group they’re rather stupid.” Try explaining that to your Mary Poppins obsessed 4 year old son!

  • Ootmians

    Woops my bad.

  • TwiddlyStun

    It does look as though everyone is dressed in brand new togs, however.

  • LaSylphide

    It’s so easy to get caught up in HBC’s rattail hair and Victorian hooker fashion sense that I tend to forget how genuinely beautiful she is.

    The cast for this looks great, and I’ve always loved the clothes from this period.

  • Miss wks

    The font for the picket signs and her sash does not look historically correct and is a distraction for me…..

    • LaSylphide

      You know, I was thinking exactly the same thing. I know nothing about fonts, but if nothing else, these just look too neat. Too much of a digital printer look. On the other hand, it’s hard to believe they would have used an inaccurate font whenthey take this much trouble to get the faces and clothes right.

      • Miss wks

        Google sufferage movement and look at the signs. They have a distinct look and feel of the times. Truly, the signs in this movie don’t.

        • Corsetmaker

          The signs just look a little too sharp and printed. The originals mostly look hand done, stencilled in some cases. The font is ok though. The sash is bang on.

    • Corsetmaker

      Nope it’s right, I’ve seen an original sash and it’s a straight replica. original was grosgrain.

    • I’ve posted a link to an original, which’ll take a while to get through moderation. It is pretty accurate.

  • suzq

    I’m having fun with the anachronistic puffy coats of the assistants, the fleece scarves everyone seems to have between scenes and THE STARBUCKS CUP!!!

  • Teresa Wyatt

    Being an extra on productions like that is so much fun

  • Imasewsure

    Yes Cami… or no actually… and how about Keenu Reeves in anything but a surf flick? Bad casting hackles rising now!!
    Bet HBC was stuffing her purse with pieces from this set every night… Go HBC!

  • Jen

    Romola Garai has a very period face too- that’s why she’s been in so many period dramas! she’s so good

    • Christina

      I love her, she was spectacular in The Hour! Honestly, she and HBC are the reasons I want to see this.

  • Lilithcat

    First picture, woman on the far left with the lace collar – I have a hat very much like hers!

  • VioletF.

    Love it. Must see for me as well. Although I did chuckle at the nearly hidden Starbucks cup in the 5th picture down.

  • marlie

    This works so well because HBC lives the turn-of-the-century look on an everyday basis.

  • boweryboy

    I’m kind of excited for this movie. HBC is perfect, and I’m a sucker for good period costuming.
    As for Gangs of New York I feel Tom’s pain. Ten minutes after the moment Cameron Diaz appeared on screen I shut it off. She’s a great comedic actress (loved her in both Charlie’s Angels movies) but she miserably and repeatedly fails as a dramatic actress (she was the worst thing about Vanilla Sky and it was a pretty bad remake to begin with).

    • Gatto Nero

      I had the same reaction to C. Diaz in Gangs of New York. As I recall she was attempting an Irish accent — horrendous. I had to stop watching.
      The casting here, though, is perfection.

      • not_Bridget

        I haven’t seen that film but can’t erase my memories of Julia Roberts in “Michael Collins.” Was she even trying to do an Irish accent? Were there no actresses in Ireland?

        • Gatto Nero

          I know. Terrible. The aim, I guess, was to pull in American audiences. Massive fail.

  • Oooooh, can’t wait to see this!

    There aren’t many (if any) Hollywood faces that can do period roles because of the proliferation of plastic surgery, botox and fillers.


  • I have similar ranting passions from “Saving Private Ryan” – how in the hell in the middle of war torn Europe does Matt Damon have access to Crest Whitening strips because as soon as they find him, the turns around and smiles with these huge white teeth. Took me right out of the movie – nobody could have gotten him to eat a slice of blueberry pie before doing that shot? On a movie that has Spielberg money? Seethe.

  • sagecreek

    I dunno, did they really have to remake Iron Jawed Angels?

  • editrixie

    Have you guys checked out Mr. Selfridge on Masterpiece Theatre? They have had a women’s suffrage subplot in season 1, and now are ramping up to WWI in season 2. The costumes are to die for.

  • Jean Marie Downing

    Are we SURE Helena’s in costume?

    • Columbinia

      No. No, we’re not.

  • Columbinia

    It’s amazing that Bonham Carter looks so normal in costume, absolutely toned down in contrast to her usual eccentric drapings.

  • CatherineRhodes

    Yeah, the puffy jacket and the Starbucks cup.

  • Ann VerWiebe

    The Brits are the best costumers in the world.

  • tereliz

    “You do it wrong and you get something like Cameron Diaz, with her perfect flat American diction and straight white teeth, in Gangs of New York, a casting that’ll get Tom to rant at the drop of a hat. There wasn’t a costume in existence that was going to make that casting seem believable and accurate.”

    Yet another reason my love for Uncle T knows no bounds. THANK YOU!

  • judybrowni

    Excepting the one actress with the Chiclet white teeth…