Maisie Williams transformed into Catherine Dior, Christian Dior’s sister, for the new look, the AppleTV+ series that tells the story of how Dior, Coco Chanel, Pierre Balmain and Cristóbal Balenciaga navigated the horrors of World War II and launched modern fashion.
In 1941, Catherine Dior joined the Resistance, risking her life every day to be part of a covert network called F2 that collected intelligence for the Allies during the war. She was arrested by the Nazis in July 1944 and imprisoned in the Ravensbrück concentration camp, where she was tortured by the Gestapo.
To play this role and physically represent Catherine’s struggles, Williams lost 25 pounds through a regimen, carefully monitored by medical professionals, that included regular blood tests and heart rate measurements. She explained in a Harper’s Bazaar United Kingdom cover interview that he lost weight mainly by sweating liquid before filming and says he also ate very little and meditated regularly.
“I had to get up at 4 in the morning to start sweating. The night before, around 7 or 8 p.m., they allowed me to have something salty and dehydrating: some smoked salmon and a glass of wine,” he told the publication. “Then I took a very hot bath with lots of salts. And I kind of levitated into bed and slept for about three hours and woke up and ate a handful of nuts. “I couldn’t sleep through the night at this point.”
He game of Thrones The star shared that she also walked on the treadmill while watching the opening ceremony of the 2012 London Olympics because she had a hard time understanding Catherine Dior’s patriotism that led her to risk her life the way she did.
“I couldn’t really connect with what it feels like to be so patriotic, because I’ve often felt let down and disappointed by the way my own country has behaved,” Williams said. “But I knew the moments I was most proud of were during the Olympics.”
The actress was cast in the role in February 2022 and spent the rest of the year in Paris, where the show was filmed. Becoming Catherine Dior, she explained, required a lot of research and care, allowing her to recognize the weight of what happened during World War II in a way she never had before.
Some of Williams’ toughest scenes include Catherine Dior’s interrogation in Paris, her journey in sealed cattle trucks to Germany after being arrested, and what she endured in the concentration camp, but the actress didn’t mind them.
“It was very relentless,” he said. “The process of doing take after take really breaks down your character in some ways. It’s not for everyone, but I like to get lost in a role and keep pushing until I complete a scene.”
Despite the dark aspects of Catherine Dior’s story, Williams told the publication that she understood it was also important to focus on the more positive parts of it. When Catherine Dior was liberated from the concentration camp, she returned to Paris and eventually settled in Provence, France, where she became a rose grower.
“Every day of filming was a reminder that we were portraying a story of the horrors that humans are capable of inflicting on each other, but also of magic, hope and love,” Williams said. “Ultimately, we wanted to make a show that was uplifting.”
The new look premieres on AppleTV+ on February 14.