Nicolas Roeg was unlike anyone else, and a genius at what he did. A lot of directors leave you to your own devices, but when we worked together on The Witches, Nic–who died at 90 on Nov. 23–knew exactly what he wanted. It hadn’t occurred to me that a witch in a children’s movie should be sexy. Nic’s attitude was “Whyever not?” An adult who could dream like a child, he had no tolerance for propriety and dull stuff like that.
And I always remember his encouragement. I had hellish makeup that took six hours to put on, and once after a long day in latex filming a very wordy scene, I was stressed and starting to lose the lines. Nic showed me something to do with the wig where I twirled it into a tail; it was so great that I forgot my paranoia. Nic was ebullient. He kept shouting, “We did it! We broke the back of that one! We won the war!” At one point I thought, Is he ever going to stop? But that was Nic. He brought such excitement to everything he did. Working with him, you knew it was you and him against the world, and he was such a fantastic conspirator.
This appears in the December 10, 2018 issue of TIME.