Janet McTeer Biography
Janet McTeer is an English actress born on 5th August 1961 in Newcastle upon Tyne, England. In 1997 she won the Tony Award for Best Actress in a Play, the Olivier Award for Best Actress, and the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Actress in a Play for her role as Nora in ‘A Doll’s House’. She was appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the 2008 Queen’s Birthday Honours.
Janet McTeer attended the now defunct Queen Anne Grammar School for Girls, and worked at the Old Starre Inn, at York Minster and at the city’s Theatre Royal. She performed locally with the Rowntree Players at Joseph Rowntree Theatre, then trained at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, beginning a successful theatrical career with the Royal Exchange Theatre after graduating.
Janet McTeer Age
She was born on 5th August in Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom (57 years as of 2018)
Janet Mcteer Height
She stands at 6 ft ½ in. McTall is her nickname.
Janet McTeer Family
Janet McTeer is the second daughter of Allan and Jean McTeer, a former British Rail employee and a retired policewoman. McTeer’s father had lost a sibling in the Second World War. Her sister, Helen, is five years older and she is now a music teacher and the widowed mother of three adult children.
On Janet McTeer sixth birthday, the family moved from Newcastle, where she was born, to just outside the walled Roman city of York. In her sporty family—her parents, she became a strong tennis player and swimmer, but her principal memories of childhood are of riding her bike around the Yorkshire countryside and of reading.
Janet McTeer Husband
She is married to Joe Coleman an American painter, illustrator and performance artist.
Janet McTeer Children
McTeer says it never occurred to her to want a family life until she was, forty. She wanted excitement and danger.
Janet McTeer Career
At sixteen, Janet McTeer and her girlfriends began hanging out at a coffee bar in the York Theatre Royal. Soon, McTeer got a job selling coffee there on Saturdays, and she began to meet the actors. One day, she was allowed in to see Oliver Goldsmith’s “She Stoops to Conquer.”
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Janet McTeer first audition, was at London’s Webber Douglas Academy of Dramatic Art. She played Juliet. She was so nervous and just left. She later returned to the audition and she still wasn’t accepted. Her English teachers helped her recalibrate her audition material to better match her muscular personality: Goneril instead of Juliet, and the triumphant monologue, at the finale of Arnold Wesker’s “Roots,” in which Beatie Bryant finds her own voice (“D’you hear that? . . . Did you listen to me? I’m talking. I’m not quoting anymore. . . . I’m on my own two feet”).
A few of the York repertory actors, Gary Oldman among them, suggested that she apply to rada. For her audition, she used the “Roots” monologue. McTeer was accepted. By her fifth term, she’d decided to drop out. Hugh Cruttwell, rada’s principal, convinced her to stay, and, by the time she graduated, McTeer was the star of her class.
Over the years, Janet McTeer has played a number of dynamic, willful, complicated women. She was a towering Beatrice to Mark Rylance’s diminutive Benedick in “Much Ado About Nothing,” in London in 1993; a steely Mary Queen of Scots pitted against Harriet Walter’s Queen Elizabeth in Schiller’s “Mary Stuart,” in London in 2005 and on Broadway in 2009; a reimagined Nora in Ibsen’s “A Doll’s House,” in London in 1996 and New York the following year—in what Ben Brantley, of the Times, called “the single most compelling performance I have ever seen.” Onscreen, she has portrayed Vita Sackville-West (“Portrait of a Marriage,” 1990), Vanessa Bell (“Carrington,” 1995), Clementine Churchill (“Into the Storm,” 2009), and Mary McCarthy (“Hannah Arendt,” 2012).
Janet McTeer Albert Nobbs
In 19th-century Ireland, painfully shy butler Albert Nobbs (Glenn Close) hides an incredible secret: He is really a she. Terrified that someone will discover her identity, Albert keeps a very low profile, until the arrival of Hubert Page (Janet McTeer) registers a sea change in Albert’s life. Hubert is also secretly a woman and has managed to find a partner who helps her maintain her masquerade. Hoping to find a similar arrangement, Albert begins wooing a hotel maid (Mia Wasikowska).
Janet McTeer Jessica Jones
Janet McTeer plays the role of Alisa Campbell Jones, Jessica Jones mother, Alisa also survived the car crash that claimed the lives of Jessica’s father and brother — and like Jessica, Alisa was healed through IGH experiments, which has left her with enhanced strength, as well as enhanced rage. Unlike the first season, in which Jessica strove tirelessly to stop the psychopath who once terrorized her from terrorizing anyone else, season two sees Jessica reconciling with having to save someone she deeply loves from her own uncorked anger and power.
In the end, she’s unsuccessful: Jessica and Alisa nearly run away together, but when she finally realizes the extent of how that would impact her daughter, Alisa essentially accepts the end of her life and offers Jessica some sweet parting words — shortly before she’s shot in the head by Trish Walker (Rachael Taylor), creating a rift between Jessica and her veritable sister that will be hard to reverse in a likely third season of the Marvel favorite.
Janet McTeer Maleficent
Janet McTeer voiced the elderly Aurora as the narrator in Maleficent.
Janet McTeer Movies and TV Shows
Janet McTeer Movies
- 2016: Me Before You
- 2011: Albert Nobbs
- 2012: The Woman in Black
- 2000: Tumbleweeds
- 2000: Songcatcher
- 2011: Cat Run
- 2005: Tideland
- 2012: Hannah Arendt
- 2008: Into the Storm
- 2014: Maleficent
- 1998: Velvet Goldmine
- 2000: Waking the Dead
- 2016: The Exception
- 2015: Fathers and Daughters
- 2002: The Intended
- 2000: The King Is Alive
- 1992: Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights
- 1991: The Black Velvet Gown
- 1995: Carrington
- 1989: Precious Bane
- 1988: Hawks
- 1996: Saint-Ex
- 2006: As You Like It
- 2016: Paint It Black
- 2015: Angelica
- 2016: The Divergent Series: Allegiant
- 1990: 102 Boulevard Haussmann
- 2011: Island
- 2007: Daphne
- 2004: Agatha Christie Marple: The Murder at the Vicarage
- 2011: Weekends at Bellevue
- 1991: I Dreamt I Woke Up
- A Masculine Ending
- Don’t Leave Me This Way
- 2008: Masterpiece Classic: Sense and Sensibility
- Dead Romantic
- Sweet Nothing
Janet McTeer TV Shows
- Since 2015: Jessica Jones
- 2015: Battle Creek
- 2014: The Honourable Woman
- 2013: The White Queen
- 2012: Parade’s End
- 2008: Sense and Sensibility
- 2007 – 2010: Five Days
- 2006: The Amazing Mrs Pritchard
- 1995 – 1996: The Governor
- 1990: Portrait of a Marriage
Janet McTeer Awards
- 2000: Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy, Tumbleweeds.
- 1997: Tony Award for Best Lead Actress in a Play, A Doll’s House.
- 1997: Laurence Olivier Award for Best Actress, A Doll’s House.
- 1997: Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Actress in a Play, A Doll’s House.
- 2009: Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Actress in a Play, Mary Stuart.
- 1999: National Board of Review Award for Best Actress, Tumbleweeds.
- 2000: Satellite Award for Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture, Comedy or Musical, Tumbleweeds.
- 1999: Gotham Independent Film Award for Breakthrough Actor, Tumbleweeds.
- 1997: Outer Critics Circle Award for Outstanding Actress in a Play, A Doll’s House.
- 1997: Critics’ Circle Theatre Award for Best Actress, A Doll’s House.
Janet McTeer Interview
Interviewer: How has it been, sitting on the secret of who Alisa really is?
Janet McTeer: It’s been absolutely awesome. (Laughs.) It’s so much fun to do a character where nobody knows who she is. Everything is so secret. You don’t do any press. Everyone leaves you alone. You go to your garden in Maine and you take your dog out for a walk. It’s been great! I think some people get [skeptical] about the secrecy, but the whole point about the secrecy is to make it more enjoyable for the watcher. The point of me not telling anybody — or nobody telling anybody what I’m playing — is so that when people watch it, it’s a surprise. Hopefully, that makes the watching experience better.
Interviewer: Were you paying any attention to speculation about the character?
Janet McTeer: I know some people have been thinking, “Ooh, is she this? Is she that? Is she the other?” But I’ve hid behind my hands. I hope people have enjoyed themselves with that!
Interviewer: What were your initial conversations with Melissa Rosenberg like?
Janet McTeer: We talked very specifically about this: if you’re playing this particular character, who is so complicated and complex with so much big stuff, then it has to be rooted in a serious reality. We talked at great length about the IGH experiments. What is it? What would it do to you? How could you compare it to something you could realistically relate to — like a brain injury, or a stroke? Something that would give you an anxiousness about yourself or society or the world, where you would find yourself in a position where you don’t know yourself anymore. Where you’ve had a breakdown. We talked about how all of that could feed into the making of the character, so we have a fully rounded character, not just someone who gets cross a lot.
Interviewer: What was your entry point into Alisa?
Janet McTeer: The gateway to understanding her was her protectiveness, and what I just touched upon: the damage of someone who has had a crisis. Someone who thought they knew themselves, and then they had this crisis, and they reinvented their lives in a certain way. There’s a trauma, a PTSD.
Interviewer: What do you remember about collaborating with Krysten on the character and the mother-daughter relationship?
Janet McTeer: Both of us are very forensic. That’s helpful. You’re building it with each other as you go along. You do each episode in order, and that really helps. It really builds. Because we’re playing people who have been estranged, it really helps. It all happened very organically as we went along.
We talked a lot about how you would go back immediately to where you imagined [a relationship] going, and then the reality of it. How it’s a real contradiction and a real struggle. You imagine how it would be marvelous and wonderful to meet someone you haven’t seen for a long time, since you were a teenager, and then they’re grumpy and easily irritated, and you think, “Oh, that’s not how I imagined this.” That was very much a part of it. We talked very much about damaged people who aren’t good at relationships. We wanted to give it a lot of places where we could go that would involve really hard work.
Interviewer: What do you imagine Alisa expected from her relationship with Jessica, before it became a reality?
Janet McTeer: In terms of acting it, it’s more interesting to act something that’s unexpected. If you’re acting something you expect, where’s the drama? It was only interesting to me to play someone who expected, in my loss and misery, to go, oh, it’s going to be amazing when we find each other again. It’s going to be great. We’re going to get on so well and it’s going to be fantastic. I’m going to live around the corner, we’re going to get coffee together, we’re going to get fat and have fun and go to yoga and be idiots and drink whiskey and margaritas …
Interviewer: Or very bad wine…
Janet McTeer: Right! Or maybe I’ll be a grandma? All the usual stuff. And then that’s not what she gets at all.
Interviewer: With superhero stories, we’re used to the hero going up against a very clear villain. While Alisa commits some horrible acts, the viewer is invited to understand where she comes from. This season is less about fighting a “bad guy,” and more about saving or protecting the antagonist.
Janet McTeer: It’s very much about how good people do bad things, and bad people do good things. It’s all a little bit more complicated, which is why I found it so enticing. It’s not so easy. As you say, it’s often easy to say who is the bad guy and who is the good guy. It’s not so easy when the bad guy line and the good guy line gets a little bit muddied. I really found that complex and interesting.
Interviewer: Before she reunites with Jessica, Alisa is grounded in her relationship with Dr. Karl Malus (Callum Keith Rennie), which subverts everything we initially expect about them. They are actually very loving and warm people, even if Malus has made some bad choices.
Janet McTeer: We were trying to find something unexpected. The series has set up that the people who did these experiments are bad people. Then you meet someone who is supposedly a bad person, and you find out they’re not so bad. If you explore that and take it further, then you ask, “Well, why do they do what they do?” It adds another layer of complication, which makes it interesting.
Interviewer: What did you think of your final scene in the series: alone with Jessica on the Ferris wheel, sharing one final moment of love, before being shot by Trish?
Janet McTeer: I loved the fact that just when you thought there might be a moment of togetherness, we’ve reached the end. I think it’s shocking in a really good way. I thought for her character, she’s gone so far that we’ve slightly realized she doesn’t quite realize how far she’s gone herself — until she does. And at that point, she realizes, “I can’t do this. I thought we could run away. I thought we could live in the desert or somewhere, but we can’t. I thought we could have this amazing life. But no, we can’t. I have done these things in this world. Even though I thought they were right? Maybe they weren’t. I’m not going to make it. But you know what? That’s alright, because [Jessica] is amazing.” I thought that was a great place to come to. She’s at peace when she dies. She’s not in a rage. It was quite nice, because once you’ve explored all of the rage of a character, you know that she has done all of these things, so where else is there to go? We’ve come to terms with you, your life, what you’ve done. Now, we’re at peace. I thought it was a very nice place to end the character.
Interviewer: Would you want to return for a third season, even given the ending?
Janet McTeer: I couldn’t possibly tell you that. (Laughs.) I don’t want to give anything away. I do think the story is done, but I had such a lovely time. … I loved working with all of these fabulous women. Melissa is amazing. Krysten is fabulous. Rachael and Carrie … the list goes on and on. All of these great women, and all of the directors … I’ll be fair: there were some amazing guys on there, too! But to have a female showrunner was particularly thrilling. She’s someone who is my own age, writing to my age, writing to the sensibility of someone who has that history with life. I felt it was really helpful. It was a delightful set. An incredibly hard-working set. It was really good fun.