Kelly Macdonald has discussed between caught between “two Darcys” in the film Operation Mincemeat.


The actress portrays Jean Leslie in the film, a secretary who becomes involved in the complicated plan to trick Nazi forces into ignoring warnings of an Allied invasion of Sicily in World War II.

Speaking with, Macdonald lifted the lid on her character being caught up in a love triangle between those of Colin Firth and Matthew Macfadyen - both known for their turns as Mr Darcy in adaptations of Pride and Prejudice.

Kelly revealed: “What was it like being caught between two Darcys?”

“Yeah. I mean, it was quite good for the ego having all of these men sort of trying to get my attention,” she joked.

She continued: “But yeah, so I've worked with Colin, this is the third film I've done with Colin – I think there's a sporting term for that. A hat trick? I don't know.

“And Matthew played my husband in Anna Karenina, or I played his wife.

“What was really lovely actually was they didn't know each other. They both played Mr Darcy, obviously, but they hadn't met each other before. And it was very sweet, they hit it off immediately. And it was just this very sweet relationship, this friendship started between them.”

While Macdonald was less familiar with the story behind the film, her co-star Penelope Wilton was more aware.

Kelly Macdonald as Jean Leslie in Operation Mincemeat
Kelly Macdonald as Jean Leslie in Operation Mincemeat Courtesy of See-Saw Films

The Downton Abbey and After Life actress portrays Hester Leggett, a woman who works as an assistant to Colin Firth’s character in the film.

“Well, I was aware of the story because I'd read Ben Macintyre's book some years before, funnily enough, and I'm a fan of Ben Macintyre's work, and I'd also read another one of his called Agent Zigzag, so I did know the story,” revealed Wilton.

“And then when John [Madden, director] told me that he was making the film, long before I had anything to do with it, I was delighted because it was a very exciting true story of this special unit in the War Office, who thought up ideas to try and fool the enemy.”

Discussing the role of women in the war effort and the relationship between her and Macdonald’s characters, Wilton said: “I think they were working under a lot of pressure too because there was only a certain amount of time that they were allowed before they had to get Captain Martin - who is the person they find who died, who they dress up with all the information - they only had a certain amount of time before the body went off."

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Penelope Wilton as Hester in Operation Mincemeat
Penelope Wilton as Hester in Operation Mincemeat Courtesy of See-Saw Films

Wilton noted: “So they were working under a lot of pressure and, of course, that makes people concentrate very hard.

“I mean, I think that, like a lot of the stories that you hear now, the women are much more involved, and you saw, you know, with Bletchley Park and the Land Girls, and you're hearing their stories now.

“Of course, women were just as involved and this film is particularly about a sort of hidden war – you don't see a lot of action, you see what happens when people are trying to work out how best to push the Allies in this incident in 1943, and get them up through Italy, and change the fate of the war.

“Also, you know, we had the responsibility. And I think all those women in that room and the men, everybody, if we didn't get this right, tens of thousands of young men might have lost their lives. So that does make you concentrate.”

Operation Mincemeat is out now in UK cinemas.

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