I think she deserves her own topic in here. She's only his wife, after all.
She is awesome in Shameless. Has anyone seen her other work? Here are excerpts from an article about her:
The Big Interview: Anne Marie Duff
Anne-Marie Duff became instantly recognisable when Channel 4 comic drama Shameless became one of the biggest television hits of the last decade. But before the world knew her as Fiona Gallagher, Duff had already made a name for herself on the London stage and, in particular at the National theatre, where she had already appeared in four productions. After a few years away she has returned to the South Bank venue to play the iconic role of Saint Joan. Matthew Amer spoke to Duff in a break from rehearsals.
When you have had the success that Duff has, it is a touch surprising that you worry about learning any more about acting. Since leaving the Drama Centre in 1993, she has never struggled for work. On stage she has appeared as Cordelia to Ian Holm's King Lear, played the Donmar Warehouse in Days Of Wine And Roses, and received a Laurence Olivier Award nomination in 2000 for the National Theatre's production of Collected Stories. Her films include The Magdalene Sisters and Enigma, while on television she appeared in historical dramas Charles II and Elizabeth - The Virgin Queen, Dr Zhivago and The History Of Mr Polly. But it is for Manchester-set comic-drama Shameless that she is best known.
In her early thirties, Duff surprised herself by winning the part of Fiona Gallagher, the eldest sibling and substitute mother of a council estate-dwelling family. The series, penned by State Of Play's Paul Abbott, was a huge hit, yet Duff admits that when she first read the script, and even while they were filming, she had no idea about how people would react to it or even what genre it fell into.
She actually seems a little bored of talking about the show, which she left after two series in 2005. Two years on, there are probably more recent projects deserving of chat time, but none that have made such an impact as Shameless. Though she says it was not a wrench to leave the show from a professional point of view - "It was time to move on" - she found it hard to leave her onscreen family behind.
Working with "the littl'ns" left Duff in a situation where off screen as well as on, she felt a sense of responsibility towards the young actors. "We were working with them a long time," she says. "It wasn't just six weeks; it was months and months and months. You think, you've only been on this earth 12 years; it's a long time, it's a big chunk of your life. So you have to be very careful with feelings, little nerve endings. You get very intimate because you're having to play scenes as if you were family, so a wee bit of you becomes family. I saw them all recently and I'm so proud of them."
Possibly, the wariness towards talking about Shameless is due to the fact that it was while filming the show that she met her husband, actor James McAvoy.
In other interviews, Duff has been portrayed as, at the very least, spiky when it comes to talking about her relationship with McAvoy; today she gives an
eminently understandable explanation: "It's called a private life for a reason and we all should have one, but we live in this strangely confessional
environment and I'm not sure how good that is for people. I don't want people being nosey and wanting to know everything. I'll talk about my work
until the 12th of never, but anything that's precious to me; no. Just like I wouldn't expect someone who works in Barclays Bank to be forced to talk
about what they had for tea with whoever they live with."
Instead, we talk about playing iconic characters; Joan is not the first such character Duff has played. The Virgin Queen saw her wear the crown of arguably England's most famous monarch, Elizabeth I. When the opportunity to play such a role presented itself to the actress, she couldn't turn it down, though she did feel an enormous amount of pressure, both due to portraying the icon and because she felt out of place, coming from a working class background.
In order to play the role convincingly, she made the decision to have part of her head shaved for the duration of filming. While to me that sounds like a step above and beyond, Duff barely gives it a second thought: "You have to, don't you, really? It's just my job, you know; women don't have to do that very often. She had a very iconic look. If you're not prepared to commit to that, then you can't really play her, can you? I didn't enjoy it, in terms of me, Anne Marie, but hair grows back. You deal with it, like anything. I suppose it does address those things within yourself you have to address; your ego and your sense of yourself, how you view yourself physically, but I suppose I just thought 'it's Elizabeth I, what am I going to do, have to get up two hours early every morning to have a bald cap put on? Nah, I'll just shave my head.'"
Duff, who grew up in Southall, the daughter of Irish parents, found her way to acting through a local youth theatre. "It was a safe place for a kid who wasn't a 'shuffle, ball, change child' to actually begin," she says. After failing her first audition to attend the Drama Centre, she was admitted at her second. So began a very successful career.
Having seen Drama Centre contemporaries fall by the wayside, Duff refers to how lucky she has been to have had such a successful career. Others may point more to her talent as the source of her success. Either way, she still has the same passion for performing that drew her back to the Drama Centre for that second audition. "We crave it, don't we, as human beings? We need to be told tales. We need it," she smiles. "And so, just to know that you're fulfilling something weirdly innate in human nature is, I don't know… it feels brilliant."
Click here to read the whole article (It's pretty long already, eh?).
I love what she says about her relationship with James in this article, as well:
"The couple have made a pact not to talk about one another in public and, though Duff gives a wide and artless smile when he is mentioned, her nostrils also flare slightly in indignation...'I suppose my view is: if I'm not respectful of my private life, why should anyone else be? The heart is a fragile muscle, you have to take care of it.'"
She seems to be a strong, intelligent woman.