Vanessa Kirby on watching ‘mind-blowing’ birth for film

Actress Vanessa Kirby has said it was “a gift” to be able to watch a five to six-hour birth as she prepared for her latest film role.

Kirby, 32, who played Princess Margaret in Netflix’s lavish royal drama The Crown, stars alongside Shia LaBeouf in Pieces Of A Woman.

They play a couple whose lives are forever changed when a homebirth ends in tragedy, according to the film synopsis.

She told Esquire UK of watching a birth in the labour ward at Whittington Hospital in north London: “Of course, you think: ‘Why would she ever let some random actress in?’ (But the woman agreed)

“And so I sat there with my scrubs on and I watched for five or six hours as she went through this really difficult birth, with no painkillers.

“An emergency button was pressed, forceps were used, it was so mind-blowing. I couldn’t have done it without that amazing woman giving me that gift.”

She also spoke about spending time with women who had suffered stillbirths in preparation.

Kirby said: “I had to understand what it’s like to be expecting your first kid, which I’ve never done. I had to understand birth and labour. I had never seen that in real life.

“And then understand the grief of not having that person that you’ve been preparing for in your life.

“I spent so much time with her and I realised I have a duty to her to do her story justice, as authentically as I possibly can. That became the great responsibility of it.”

Kirby won a supporting actress Bafta in 2018 for The Crown, with the role being taken over by Helena Bonham Carter for the third and fourth series.

Pieces Of A Woman, directed by Hungarian filmmaker Kornel Mundruczo, is slated for a cinematic release at the end of 2020 and will be available on Netflix from January 7 2021.

The Jan/Feb 2021 issue of Esquire UK is on sale from November 27.