I felt like there was a bit of an over-reaction to the news of Michelle Fairley replacing Jennifer Ehle. I think it was a combination of people’s disappointment that Ehle was leaving and Fairley being essentially an unknown without many good photos or info out there. Oh and us posting the wrong photo certainly didn’t help. Now that things have calmed down, I think we should take a closer look at the woman who will become Catelyn Stark.
Fairley, who is from Northern Ireland, is primarily a stage actor. She has years of experience acting in theater productions in London, where she has garnered almost all positive reviews. Her most recent role, as Paulie in Greta Garbo Came To Donegal, was no exception. Prior to that she received good reviews for her performance in Dancing at Lughnasa. She was also nominated for an Olivier award (London’s version of a Tony award) in 2008 for her role in Othello.
In addition to her stage work, Fairley has also appeared in some TV and film projects. She will be appearing in the upcoming final two Harry Potter films, as Hermoine Granger’s mother. She also had small roles in the films Hideous Kinky and The Others. These two YouTube videos (Hideous Kinky, The Others) show her roles in those films and I think I see a hint of Catelyn in each of those clips. Fairley also appeared in a BBC2 TV movie titled Best: His Mother’s Son. These two articles (Belfast Telegraph, Rapid Talent) talk about her role in that project.
I think, after reading a little more about Fairley and watching the above videos, that most fans will come around to her as Catelyn. Looks wise, she matches more closely the Catelyn in my head than Ehle did. Does she have the name recognition or fan base of a Jennifer Ehle? No. But she seems to be just as talented and I, for one, can’t wait to see her interpretation of Catelyn.