'Misbehaviour' star Gugu Mbatha-Raw took her mum to meet her Miss World character (exclusive)

Tom Beasley
Contributor

Gugu Mbatha-Raw took her mum to Grenada to visit the real woman behind her character in historical comedy-drama Misbehaviour.

The British actor told Yahoo Movies UK she arranged a trip to Grenada to meet Jennifer Hosten, who was not only the first Miss Grenada in 1970, but managed to win the Miss World pageant.

Read more: Mbatha-Raw discusses her love of historical parts

Mbatha-Raw spoke to the real Hosten, now aged 72, via email and then over the phone, before arranging a meeting on the Caribbean island.

“I managed to convince her to come and meet me there, which was an amazing experience,” said the 36-year-old actor.

She added: “[Jennifer] brought her daughter and I brought my mum and it was really special.

Gugu Mbatha-Raw as Miss World winner Jennifer Hosten in 'Misbehaviour'. (Credit: Pathe)

“Because the film was all being shot in London, I knew I wouldn't get a chance to really shoot anything in Grenada.

“I wanted to have that experience of understanding the culture that she was coming from, have a chance to spend some quality time with her, listen to her accent and just absorb her wisdom basically.”

Read more: Mark Ruffalo on changing his process to play real person

Helmed by Three Girls director Phillipa Lowthorpe, Misbehaviour follows the events surrounding the 1970 Miss World pageant both from the perspective of the beauty queens and a group of feminist activists planning to protest at the event.

Bob Hope crowns Jennifer Hosten (Miss Grenada) as the winner of Miss World 1970 at the Royal Albert Hall in London, 20th November 1970. (Photo by Peter King/Fox Photos/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Mbatha-Raw, who has played numerous historical roles in the past, said it’s “just different” to play a real person.

She said: “Many roles, you don't have anything to base it on apart from a script and your imagination, which can be really liberating.

“It's just a different process when it's a real person. Obviously, it's a slightly different responsibility.

“I think you want to respect them and you sort of want their blessing. You don't want to upset them in any way. But also, you want to be true to the story that we're telling.”

Read more: The faux feminism in 2019 blockbusters

Mbatha-Raw was also keen to praise Lowthorpe’s direction, telling the story from a sensitive point of view to all of the sides of the debate.

“She was really telling this story from the female perspective,” said Mbatha-Raw.

“I think many people, seeing the competition in its original form in 1970, it was quite a misogynistic affair and our film is really told through the female gaze.

“I felt like it was a responsibility, but I also felt it was a privilege.”

Keira Knightley and Gugu Mbatha-Raw in Miss World drama 'Misbehaviour'. (Credit: Pathe)

Mbatha-Raw’s next role is in the Disney+ series Loki, with her role alongside returning MCU star Tom Hiddleston currently being kept tightly under wraps.

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Misbehaviour also stars Keira Knightley, Jessie Buckley, Keeley Hawes, Rhys Ifans and Greg Kinnear as comedian and Miss World host Bob Hope.

The film is in UK cinemas from 13 March.