Mark Rylance 'still holds conversations with his late stepdaughter'
Actor Mark Rylance and his late stepdaughter Nataasha van Kampen Photo: Rex Features/Facebook
By Hannah Furness
1:20PM GMT 06 Jan 2013
Rylance, who dropped out of the London 2012 Olympic opening ceremony following the death of 28-year-old Nataasha van Kampen, said he believes her soul is “still existing somewhere in the universe”.
Speaking for the first time since her death, he disclosed he has held conversations with his stepdaughter “a lot of times”, with his imagination often allowing her to “do or say something that is very, very resonant”.
Rylance, who is currently starring in Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night at the Globe, added the sudden loss had helped inform his portrayal of Olivia, who was also in mourning for close relatives.
Nataasha van Kampen, a film-maker, died suddenly on July 1 last year after suffering a brain haemorrhage on board a flight from New York to London. Her mother Claire has been married to Rylance for 20 years.
At the time, the actor felt compelled to withdraw from his performance at Danny Boyle’s Olympics opening ceremony, where he was expected to recite verses from The Tempest.
He has since continued with scheduled work in productions Richard III and Twelfth Night at Shakespeare’s Globe and in the West End.
In an interview with The Sunday Times, he has now spoken of his stepdaughter’s passing, and disclosed the “explosion” of her death made it difficult to see “what was going on before”.
Speaking of his beliefs, he told the newspaper: “That ability to tell when your imagination is receiving something and your imagination is creating something - that's a very subtle difference.
"I'm aware since Natasha's died of conversations with her, which obviously I have a lot of times. I'm aware sometimes in those of when I'm making up the conversation and sometimes I'll have a sense of, 'Oh, why did you say that?'
"In my imagination she'll do or say something that is very, very resonant, so I will feel from that my faith that her soul is still existing somewhere in the universe will be confirmed. Then I'll be doubtful that that's what I want it to be.
"So I swing between doubts and confidence."
He added the loss has affected his performance as Olivia in Twelfth Night, giving him a more “concrete experience” of mourning.
"One's life has changed, so one brings a different thing to it,” he said.
"Most obviously, more people have died that are close to me in the last 10 years, and so the fact that [Olivia] is in mourning for her father and her brother, I have now a more concrete experience of what that is."
He noted the character is “a little bit further down the road than I am”, with him simply “carrying on” rather necessarily moving forward yet.
“Maybe the play has turned up to encourage me in that way," he added.
Speaking of the Olympic ceremony, in which passages from The Tempest were read by Sir Kenneth Branagh, he said Danny Boyle’s staging was “very hard for me to remember."
"I think the strength of the sensations when someone very close to you dies has an effect where you can't quite see through the explosion to what was going on before,” he said.