Regarded as one of the finest actresses of her generation, 80-year-old Vanessa Redgrave is still very busy, performing in theatre, TV and film. “I do it to pay my mortgage,” she jokes. But then she adds that “acting gives her artistic satisfaction.”
I caught up with her at Toronto Film International Film Festival, where she was promoting Jim Sheridan’s film “Secret Scripture,” in which she plays the role of a 100-year-old Irish woman, Roseanne McNulty, who has been residing in a mental hospital for 50 years. McNulty writes a diary detailing the events that led her to where she is, taking us back to the early 20’s century when she had an illicit love affair with a WWII pilot and gave birth to a baby, whom is taken away from her by the Catholic church, which deemed her insane.
In addition to acting, the Oscar-winner is also championing the cause of refugees. Earlier this year, she visited Syrian refugees in the Greek islands, and currently, she is producing a documentary about refugees.
In the past, her human rights campaigning attracted hostility towards her from Hollywood. Her 1976 Oscar acceptance speech, in which she condemned her “zionist” enemies, drew a harsh response from her colleagues. But she insists that things have changed, and she is not alone anymore in her fight for justice for Palestinians.