How The Great keeps Belinda Bromilow on her toes

Despite being married to the director, Aussie actress Belinda Bromilow is still surprised by The Great, now streaming on Neon

Belinda Bromilow is no stranger to playing characters who are far more than they might first seem. In Doctor Doctor, she was a fan favourite as astute hospital receptionist Betty and in Packed To The Rafters, she shone as meddling Libby. In The Great, she’s at it again.

Playing Aunt Elizabeth, the slightly dotty but shrewd aunt of Peter, Emperor of Russia (played by Nicholas Hoult) and confidante to Catherine the Great (Elle Fanning), she wanders through scenes dropping some of the sharpest lines in an already razor-like comedy and happily taking any steps she thinks are necessary, including murder, to get where she wants to go.

Is Aunt Elizabeth as much fun to play as she looks? “Oh, yes!” Belinda, 47, says. “She’s a gift! Elizabeth can be away with the fairies one moment and very savvy the next, with one eye on the politics of what’s going on and another on whatever takes her fancy.”

Although she’s married to award-winning writer, director and producer Tony McNamara, who created The Great, she doesn’t get any insider information.

“I would love to think that we have dinner-table chats about characters and where stories are headed, but when we’re working, we’re just like ships in the night,” she says with a laugh.

“It’s great to have a bit of a curveball thrown at you to keep you on your toes. Mind you, if there comes a day when my character gets written out… That’s going to be a bit tricky, isn’t it?”

If Elizabeth does leave the royal household (and history buffs might have spoilers on that front), Belinda has more than enough in the pipeline, with her directorial debut in a short film currently in post- production and a new series she’s co-writing underway.

“The series is loosely based on a book and writing it has been really enjoyable, another interesting process to delve into,” she says.

On top of that, she’s also a mum-of-two and is involved with the charity Mummy’s Wish, which helps mothers facing cancer, a disease Belinda had to face herself shortly after the birth of her first child.

“I’m very busy and very happy right now and can’t wait to see where Aunt Elizabeth goes next,” Belinda says. “She’s nobody’s fool and there are still surprises coming, I’m sure!”

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