'The Colour Room': Why Phoebe Dynevor connected with her first big movie role (exclusive)

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·4 min read

Watch: Phoebe Dynevor shares her connection with The Colour Room

For Phoebe Dynevor, The Colour Room marks a significant first. It’s the Bridgerton star’s first ever feature film, and her first lead. 

And, as soon as she received the script, she realised the role of revolutionary ceramics designer Clarice Cliff had her name all over it.

Talking to Yahoo, Dynevor says that, while she knew very little about Cliff’s life, she was more than familiar with her work: “I knew about her because my dad collected a few of her pieces and we had them dotted around the house. 

Read more: The movies coming to Sky Cinema in November

"At the time I got the script, I was living at home so I was immediately, like, ‘Oh, wow!’”  

Phoebe Dynevor stars as Clarice Cliff in The Colour Room is a Sky Cinema Original. (Sky Cinema)
Phoebe Dynevor stars as Clarice Cliff in The Colour Room is a Sky Cinema Original. (Sky Cinema)

And, although her father’s collection didn’t include the brightly coloured tea cups and saucers which appear on screen, there was more than enough of the designer’s work on hand to help with Dynevor’s research. 

“He’s a jug guy!” said the actor. “He’s got two or three of her vases. And, with Clarice’s Northern roots, there were such a lot of ties. There was something about the character - where she’d been and what she’d done – and knowing her pieces made me want to tell her story.

Phoebe Dynevor stars as Clarice Cliff in The Colour Room is a Sky Cinema Original. (Sky Cinema)
Phoebe Dynevor stars as Clarice Cliff in The Colour Room is a Sky Cinema Original. (Sky Cinema)

“I knew nothing about her life and I don’t think people know much about her story,” she added. “So reading the script and researching her life was so fascinating that I just immediately thought it was a story that needed to be told.”

For the role of Clarice Cliff, Dynevor swapped the early 19th century setting of Bridgerton for industrial 1920s Stoke-On-Trent, the heart of the pottery industry since the Industrial Revolution. 

Read more: Phoebe Dynevor nearly gave up acting before Bridgerton

The film follows the working class girl as she strives to break away from factory work and design ceramics. Despite numerous setbacks, her talent for colour and shapes impresses factory owner Colley Shorter (Matthew Goode) and eventually launches her own range. In the middle of the Great Depression, she not only ensures the factory’s survival but becomes a household name in her own right.

A Bonhams employee holds one of the 100 Clarice Cliff teacups that are to go on sale in September at auction house Bonhams in London, with the collection estimated to be worth 25,000.   (Photo by Lewis Whyld - PA Images/PA Images via Getty Images)
A Bonhams employee holds one of the 100 Clarice Cliff teacups (Lewis Whyld - PA Images/PA Images via Getty Images)

To prepare for her role, Dynevor tried her hand at painting as well as working with clay. ”I’m not so good with painting. I don’t think I have the patience for it,” she admits. 

“But I did like the sculpting – that was my favourite part. Our lovely sculptor who was on set – he was just phenomenal – would give me the end result and I could do the finishing touches and that was always fun for me. I felt like it was my creation, even when it wasn’t.”

Co-star David Morrissey, who plays fellow designer and Cliff’s mentor Fred Ridgeway, described how she also threw some pots when they visited the Wedgwood factory in Stoke On Trent. “She was marvellous at it,” he said. 

Phoebe Dynevor stars as Clarice Cliff in The Colour Room is a Sky Cinema Original. (Sky Cinema)
Phoebe Dynevor stars as Clarice Cliff in The Colour Room is a Sky Cinema Original. (Sky Cinema)

“It was a bit like watching somebody on The Generation Game. It’s remarkably difficult – the expert there had been doing it for years, so he made it look easy.”

Dynevor, who last week won Harper’s Bazaar Breakthrough Talent Prize in its Women Of The Year Awards, is due to return to the small screen when series two of Bridgerton arrives on Netflix. 

Meanwhile Morrissey will next be seen on TV in another Midlands-set series, detective thriller Sherwood, which is expected to arrive next year. Alongside Dynevor, Morrissey and Matthew Goode, The Colour Room also stars Kerri Fox and Darci Shaw.

The Colour Room is released in cinemas and on Sky Cinema on 12 November. Watch a trailer below.

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