Characterisation – Woman In Black


Here are some quotes from two actors who have played the part of Arthur Kipps.

“What initially struck me about young Kipps was his integrity. He’s a highly principled man who at the outset relishes the prospect of performing his professional duties. I considered his upbringing – he’s not upper class as such, but would consider himself a gentleman and therefore bound by a code of honour. He’s also enthusiastic, optimistic and confident – he’s well settled with a respectable firm, is engaged to be married. I see him as a rational thinker with a deep respect for the law.”

Ben Deery, The actor in the West End company of THE WOMAN IN BLACK, 2012


“It’s complex but there’s a real stillness to Arthur Kipps. Everything has that sort of Victorian English withheld quality. He’s somebody who has been so completely destroyed by his wife’s death that he has found it almost impossible to live in the human world for the last four years. He’s been unable to connect with people and his relationship with his son. He loves him, but he’s not there for him as he should have been. He’s not been able to give him a happy childhood so far, because he doesn’t have that capacity for happiness. And also he’s struggling to hold down his job.


When we meet him at the beginning, he really is a man on the edge. There is a moment [in the 2012 film adaptation] where the first time you see him he’s got a cutthroat razor to his throat. It happens that he’s shaving, but I always thought that he had definitely stood there before, considering it. For me, absolutely, it was a very interesting character to get a chance to play. I always think that the most interesting characters are the ones that you like, but you don’t know why. There’s something different about him. Particularly in the context of the time, it was very unusual, and perhaps a social stigma, to be a single father, especially that young. There’s something about him being a very natural underdog.”

Daniel Radcliffe, as part of the release material for THE WOMAN IN BLACK movie