Before Nancy Reagan, Hillary Clinton and Michelle Obama, Eleanor Roosevelt set the standard for American First Ladies. U.K actress Olivia Williams was charged with the challenge of capturing the American historical icon in Hyde Park on the Hudson, opposite Bill Murray as FDR. Movie Fanatic caught up with the actress for an exclusive video interview to talk what made Mrs. Roosevelt so special and how far we’ve come… if at all.
Williams thinks that, even with such strong First Ladies, we as a culture have still moved backwards. “I feel we’ve regressed since Eleanor. She was so influential and the American public don’t like their First Ladies to go too deeply as Hillary found,” Williams said. “The vitriol that Hillary attracted when she ran for president showed that really Eleanor wasn’t ahead of her time. She was of her time since we’ve moved back in many respects.”
We also talked to Williams, who audiences probably best recall as the love interest caught between Murray (ironically) and Jason Schwartzman in Rushmore, about this pre-World War II weekend portrayed in Hyde Park on the Hudson that brought America and England closer than ever. Few people on both sides of the pond know the significance of the weekend where the King and Queen of England visited an American president at his titular estate.
“Growing up, we learn about the war, but British history books play down the fact that without the involvement of America, we’d all probably be speaking German now,” Williams added. “So, thank you America for saving our asses! But people don’t know anything about it [in England]. That’s why people are going to enjoy this movie.”