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RADA-trained actress Juliet Stevenson: Get famous quick actors can be "difficult" to work with

Screen star Juliet Stevenson has spoken of the frustrations of working with some young actors who have found fame early without serving time to master their craft.

The 57-year-old bemoaned the way many performers headed into TV without a solid grounding in the theatre and said their instant success and inexperience can make it "difficult" to appear with them.

In an interview with Radio Times she also said the sparsity of interesting roles for older women meant she spends much of her time playing peripheral characters.

RADA-trained Stevenson, who joined the Royal Shakespeare Company in her early 20s, said: "I think there's a huge trend of 'Get famous quick'. When I started, no decent agent would let a young actor of 20 or 22 go into a television series. No, you go to regional theatres for two years and you learn your craft. It's an apprenticeship and then, when you've got that stuff rooted in you, then you can become a TV star."

She continued: "I meet wonderful young actors who are really interested in their craft but equally, I meet a fair few who have become successful, who have earned quite a lot by their early 20s and who don't see the point of training and they're very difficult to work with. They don't see a scene as being between two people because it's just them and the camera. And in my view, the whole thing is a collaboration..."

Stevenson, who returns to her role as Lady Clem in BBC1 drama The Village this month, does not name names during the interview. But she went on to talk about the limited opportunities for actresses in middle-age.

"There are a few roles that are great and meaty for women in their 50s and I'm lucky that I sometimes get offered them," said the star of TV dramas such as The Politician's Wife and more recently the family fantasy series Atlantis.

"Nevertheless, I spend quite a lot of time playing not very interesting women - they're not at the centre of the action. They're not driving the narrative."

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