Australian actress Naomi Watts is another I don’t necessarily think of as a “frock flicks” actor, but she’s done a bunch of them! Soon she’ll be playing American socialite Babe Paley (1915-17) in season 2 of Feud (see pics at the Daily Fail). Until then, let’s run down her historical resume:
Leo’s Girlfriend in For Love Alone (1986)
Per IMDB, “A poor young woman in 1930s Australia falls in love with a dashing but arrogant teacher who preaches free love and watered-down socialist precepts. She follows him to England, meeting a gentle banker en route. The film follows her relationships as they are transformed in England.”
Frances Heffernan in Brides of Christ (1991)
A young woman joins a convent in 1960s Australia.
“Shopping Cart” Starlet in Matinee (1993)
A comedy about the promotion of a shlocky horror movie during the Cuban missile crisis.
Fanny Grey in Wide Sargasso Sea (1993)
One of two terrible adaptations of the modern-written Jane Eyre prequel.
Mary Chandler in Timepiece (1996)
A clockmaker is accused of murder in the 1940s.
Giulia de Lezze in Dangerous Beauty (1998)
She plays the straight-laced wife of Marco, the love interest of a courtesan in Renaissance Venice.
Alice Fairfield in The Wyvern Mystery (2000)
An adaptation of a Sheridan Le Fanu’s 1869 “sensation” (pre-melodrama, pre-Gothic) novel.
Rebecca Yoder in The Outsider (2002)
A Mennonite (Watts) falls in love with a gunslinger in the American West.
Julia Cook in Ned Kelly (2003)
She’s the love interest and wife of a rich Englishman in this biopic about the late 19th-century Australian outlaw.
Ann Darrow in King Kong (2005)
She’s the 1930s starlet who travels with a movie team to film the giant ape.
Kitty Fane in The Painted Veil (2006)
A doctor and his wife (Watts) deal with their marriage and cholera outbreak in 1930s China.
Helen Gandy in J. Edgar (2011)
She played the longtime secretary of J. Edgar Hoover in this biopic.
Gertrude/Mechtild in Ophelia (2018)
She plays the queen/mother of Hamlet in this version of the Shakespearean told from Ophelia’s perspective.
What’s your favorite of Naomi Watts’ many frock flick performances?
I loved her performance as Gertrude, and the gowns in that film are absolutely stunning. The movie itself is… ok, could def be better, but honestly the costumes makes up for it in my book lmao.
I haven’t seen many of these. So those I have:
-Dangerous Beauty (I still love it, don’t lecture me): I felt so sorry for her character. She (Giulia, not Naomi) would’ve realistically been 15, maybe 16, and going into an entirely new environment. Yes, she would’ve been raised to expect it, but there’s still a shock, and probably not any kind of sex ed.
-King Kong: It was fine? Don’t remember much, so clearly didn’t make an impression.
-Ophelia: Please watch it, if only for the pretties. She does a good job exploring the nuances of Gertrude’s situation, so it isn’t a weird Oedipal thing like in Mel Gibson’s version (ha!).
-The Outsider: Haven’t seen it, but I DID grow up in Amish country (N Indiana). I think her “Mennonite” makeup is hysterical. At least her hair’s up?
Let’s talk about Hemlines in The Painted Veil: Even in the 20s/30s Hemlines were long! They were short in TPV, due to the heat of China. Wild guessing on my part as I can’t find any press about The Painted Veil costumes online!
Watts’ costumes for “Ophelia” were fun, but take a peek at Clive Owen’s wig.
I can’t look at anything OTHER than that wig!!
Wait that was Clive Owen? I need to see that film, the costumes are pretty amazing and I do love me some Clive…
I also need to take a look at King Kong, though it would be hard for them to match the original. At least it has some tempting man candy with Jack Black and Adrian Brody.
I’ve only seen her performance in the Painted Veil but obviously I have more watching to do, especially Timepiece, that looks the most interesting to me.