Dame Julie Walters, the two-time Oscar-nominated British actress, has said that she plans to cut her workload after undergoing treatment for bowel cancer.
The Harry Potter and Mamma Mia! star told the BBC that she was diagnosed with stage three cancer in her intestine in 2017 and underwent surgery and chemotherapy to treat the disease. She has now been given the all-clear.
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Walters said the experience has made her reevaluate her career, revealing that it was a relief to climb off the “merry-go-round” of film and TV roles. “I was due to do two big series… and there were two films. And I just didn’t have to do any of it. And that was wonderful,” she said.
Her cancer fight meant that she has had to be cut from certain scenes in The Secret Garden, the Marc Munden feature in which she stars alongside Colin Firth. Walters also missed the premiere Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again.
Walters told the BBC that she will pick her future projects carefully. “It would have to be something I’m really engaged with,” she said. “I’m not saying I’ll never act again. But I certainly don’t think I can go back to [a film that requires working] six days a week, five in the morning till seven o’clock at night.”
Asked what her response was to the cancer diagnosis, Walters said: “Shock. First of all shock. And then you hold on to the positive, which is he [the doctor] said ‘we can fix this.'” She added that she is now doing “really well” and a recent scan showed that the cancer has been banished.
Walters was first Oscar-nominated for Educating Rita, while she also won a Golden Globe for the role in the 1984 film. Billy Elliot earned her a second Oscar nomination in 2000. Walters has won six BAFTAs, as well as a BAFTA fellowship.