Helena Bonham Carter for Vogue UK July 2013

Known for her love of wearing Marc Jacobs and Vivienne Westwood, often wearing odd shoes on the red carpet, and her signature birds-nest hairstyle, Helena Bonham Carter graces the cover of Vogue UK’s July 2013 ‘Ageless’ issue.

The eccentric star was shot by Mert Alas and Marcus Piggott wearing a Ralph Lauren black-and-white dress with organza ruffles, with the rest of her editorial seeing her wearing more Ralph Lauren and some Vivienne Westwood pieces.

The 47-year-old ‘The Lone Ranger’ actress talks to the mag about playing different roles, her character research and acting since becoming a mum.

On playing different roles: “I learned how to be a southern belle, which I’ve always rather wanted to be. And how to be a w***e, which I’ve also rather always wanted to be. And I learnt how to fire a double-barrelled shotgun from a prosthetic leg. It’s frighteningly empowering firing a gun, you know? I’m afraid I learnt that too…”

On doing character research: “The research is what I get off on. My mom is a psychologist and I’m very similar to her. I love the challenge of working a character out. Ultimately, I don’t agree to do a film because I think it’s going to be a success. I do it because I think I’m going to learn something from the character I’m playing. I’m not sure what yet, but I know I am going to learn something from Elizabeth [Taylor, in an upcoming BBC film]. I know that, somehow, I’m going to grow as a soul from playing her.”

On acting being less of a priority since becoming a mum: “It’s not my sole purpose so there’s less pressure on it. Which, of course, means I do it better. But I also find it’s less important to me now whether I’m c**p or good. I take myself so much less seriously than I used to. I used to be so self-critical, it was painful. Now I think, ‘OK, so I acted badly today. I’ll try and act better tomorrow.’ I mean, for God’s sake, it’s not like I’m a surgeon or anything. It doesn’t really matter, does it?”

Credit: Vogue UK