Helena Bonham Carter Explains How She Connected With Princess Margaret's Spirit Ahead of 'The Crown' Role

The Graham Norton Show - EPISODE SEVEN – FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 22 - Publicity-H 2019
Courtesy of BBC America/AMC Networks

Olivia Coleman, Helena Bonham Carter, Chadwick Boseman, and Richard Ayoade.

"If you've got the horse's mouth in the room, you're not gonna say no," the actress said about using a psychic to speak with the late royal on 'The Graham Norton Show.'

Appearing on The Graham Norton Show, Helena Bonham Carter talked about how she used a psychic to speak to the late Princess Margaret in preparation to play the royal in the latest season of The Crown, which debuts on Netflix on Nov. 17.

Bonham Carter spoke about the "ridiculous lengths" she goes to when preparing for a role. "I love it," she said of the research process, while co-star Olivia Colman, who joined her on the talk show and takes over the role of Queen Elizabeth, said that she doesn't find research enjoyable.

"I did meet a psychic, who's a friend of mine, and I was seeing her," said Bonham Carter. "She does healing. She does other things, but she also has a talent for mediumship and as I was seeing her for something else, she said, 'Oh, Margaret is here. Does that mean anything?' and I said, 'Yes, it does.'"

Bonham Carter had already been asked to play Princess Margaret at the time, though she hadn't accepted the role yet. "I said, 'Well, yeah.... If you've got the horse's mouth in the room, you're not gonna say no,'" she said. "I said, 'Yeah' and I asked, 'Would you mind if I played you?' She did say, 'I think you're a better idea than the other actor.'"

"It was a very typical Margaret thing," she added.

The actress said that she had previously met the princess. "She had a way of sometimes complimenting you and putting you down at the same time. And the fact that she said, 'Oh yeah, I think that you're better than the other,'" Bonham Carter said, "It's like you never knew where you were with her."

Bonham Carter added that the spirit "came through with another note," which was that the actress should "get the smoking right." She continued, "I smoked in a particular way and always remember that the cigarette holder is as much a weapon for expression as anything else and that was a good note."

"She was somebody who was innately dramatic. If you're royal, you can't necessarily talk much. You're a walking icon," she continued. "She was very, I think, conscious about the silhouette and whatever she did with her body and particular with her hands."

Watch the full segment below.