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  • The Generation Game

    Growing up as a Snow, a Suchet or a Fox, who could resist following in the family footsteps? Five London dynasties talk to Hannah Nathanson about working with their nearest and dearest.

    Emilia Fox, 36
    I wasn’t aware of my parents’ jobs until I went away to board at Bryanston aged 13. Then people started assuming that because they were actors we lived this luxurious Hollywood lifestyle, but my upbringing was totally the opposite. Some of my earliest memories of growing up are getting dressed while standing over an electric heater to keep warm. Amazing people embroidered my childhood, such as Fred Zinnemann, who directed The Day of the Jackal, and the cellist Jacqueline du Pré. My parents told me not to act until I had a degree and thank God they did because it’s one of the things I feel most proud about. When we were on set together for Pride and Prejudice I was the school swot and Mum was the life and soul. She would be up leading the party with Colin Firth, having a wild time. My six-month-old daughter Rose has been on set with me a few times and she loves the attention. I have a romantic fantasy that because I was pregnant while filming Silent Witness and Merlin she will have absorbed it all.

    Joanna David, 64
    The night I went into labour with Millie, Edward [Fox, Joanna's husband] and I had been to the Vaudeville Theatre to see Maggie Smith in Snap, but we never thought that Millie would go into acting. When the director of Pride and Prejudice, Simon Langton, rang me up and suggested Emilia for the part of Georgiana, I said, ‘Absolutely not, she’s at university,’ but I didn’t mind giving in once I knew that they would be shooting during the holidays and it wouldn’t interfere with her studies. School was always a priority. When Millie was growing up I considered very carefully what jobs I took; I was constantly balancing plates and when Edward was working I would keep the home fires burning. It’s a curious mixture watching both Emilia and her brother Freddie on stage. People say, ‘Oh, aren’t you proud,’ but I just think, ‘Thank goodness they’ve got a job and can pay the rent.’ ES

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