Andrea Riseborough was sitting on the terrace of the fabled Excelsior Hotel on the Venice Lido on Wednesday and nobody noticed.
Twenty-four hours later, she was on the red carpet with Madonna, and this time the world sat up and paid attention.
Riseborough, who trained at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts, is a sensation in Madonna’s great love story W.E. about the romance between Wallis Simpson and King Edward VIII.
Andrea plays Mrs Simpson, who later became the Duchess of Windsor, and it’s one of those career-changing roles. I predict her days of being able to sit on the Excelsior terrace unrecognised are over.
Yet Riseborough’s success is due, in part, to a chameleon-like ability to transform herself that she has always possessed.
Watching an early screening of the film the other day I had the strangest sensation that I was seeing the real Mrs Simpson mixing cocktails. Andrea can crawl under the skin of the person she’s portraying.
And when she played the young Margaret Thatcher in The Long Walk To Finchley, she made us believe she was the real Iron Lady. It’s a rare gift.
Seeing the film a second time I felt that even the irritating modern-day parallel love story involving Abbie Cornish and Oscar Isaac works - most of the time - because of the passion of the actors and, it must be said, their director.
I still think that ten minutes could be carefully edited out and everyone would be happier.
But the score is superb. Abel Korzeniowski composed most of it with a couple of haunting piano pieces by Yann Tiersen.
And I think W.E. is likely to garner Andrea some best actress award heat - and possibly some awards interest for Madonna, too.