In her latest film, “Rebecca,” now airing on Netflix, Keeley Hawes is the bright spot in an otherwise dark and haunting tale. And the British actress brings that same light and energy to a new campaign for Clarks, which launched for the holiday season.
Hawes told FN she’s a longtime fan of the storied footwear label. “It’s just a British institution. You get your first pair of shoes from Clarks, you learn to walk wearing a pair of Clarks. So it’s just ingrained in you and in your family,” she said.
And the brand’s fashion heritage is legit as well. “All through my teenage years, the Wallabee and the Desert boot were just huge,” she said. “Now my older son, Myles, who’s 20, he’s wearing Desert boots, so it’s all come full circle.”
As part of the campaign, Hawes models a range of styles from the winter line, including the Laina pump in a festive red, the shearling-lined Orianna hiker and a dalmatian-print version of the classic Desert boot. All the styles are available now for purchase at Clarksusa.com.
Hawes said shooting the campaign was one of the first things she did after the U.K. eased its lockdown measures earlier this year, and at the time she was feeling nervous about the project.
“It had been such a long time since anyone had done anything,” she said. “But everybody had lots of stories of their own, about how they’d been, how they’ve been coping and what was going on. It was a great way back into the world.”
Since then, she’s been busy working throughout the pandemic, finishing filming on “Finding Alice,” a new six-part drama from ITV set to debut in early 2021. Hawes plays the title character, who is grieving from the loss of her husband, and she also helped create the series with director Roger Goldby and writer Simon Nye, with whom she worked on “The Durrells in Corfu.”
“By the time we finished ‘The Durrells,’ we were great friends and we just wanted to extend that working relationship,” said Hawes, adding that the light-hearted family series has become popular for binge-watching during the pandemic. “So many people have been in touch with me, from all walks of life, saying how helpful and comforting ‘The Durrells’ has been through all of this,” she said.
During her own lockdown, Hawes entertained herself by embracing a love of embroidery. And her family of five, which includes actor-husband Matthew Macfadyen, re-created their own version of the popular reality show “Come Dine With Me,” with each member taking turns cooking a meal. “Each of the nights we were judged by the rest of the family and there was a winner. So everybody threw themselves into that,” she recalled.
Heading into 2021, Hawes will have plenty to keep her busy as she prepares to promote two new releases. “An Unquiet Life,” a film about the life of Roald Dahl in which she plays the writer’s wife, Patricia Neal, is set to debut in February. And that same month, her TV mini-series “Honour” will hit the U.S., on Britbox.
And if that isn’t enough, Hawes has been a UNICEF ambassador since 2012, crisscrossed the globe with the organization to lend support to its charitable efforts. Though more humanitarian trips are on hold for now, Hawes is teaming up with Clarks on Nov. 20 — World Children’s Day — to encourage customers to donate to UNICEF and raise funds for children to gain access to quality education.
But with everything on her very long CV, there is still one dream that Hawes hasn’t yet accomplished. “I’ve never been in a Christmas movie, and I would really like to do that,” she confessed. “Any Christmas film would do. I won’t turn my nose up at any of them.”
Her favorite holiday movies are “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation” and “Elf.” “I just love Christmas,” said Hawes. “I don’t know why no one has asked me to do a film yet. I’m a bit offended.”