Hayley Atwell Played Some Weird Pranks On Her Howard's End Co-Stars

Howard's End Hayley Atwell
(Image credit: Starz)

The drama that transpires in Howard's End may be no match for the silly pranks that took place on the set of the Starz miniseries. In a recent interview, series' star and Emmy-nominee hopeful Hayley Atwell revealed some interesting behind-the-scenes shenanigans from the set during production on the costume drama. The actress not only shared some of the on-set pranks she pulled on her co-stars, but the elaborate backstory she and co-star Matthew Macfadyen concocted for Atwell's Margaret and her love interest Mr. Wilcox, saying:

We had an ongoing gag that in fact maybe this whole time Margaret's actually kind of evil genius mastermind, and she's set out to completely emasculate Mr. Wilcox, so by the end he's a giant baby and he can't string a sentence together anymore. We imagined him sat in his bedroom just in a giant diaper. On the last day of filming, I planted a diaper inside Matthew Macfadyen's costume, and then a training potty in his bathroom, and I put a pacifier in his pocket. [He] was given a cup of tea in a sippy cup with a bib [during lunch]. It was very naughty.

Hayley Atwell made the hilarious admission in an interview with EW's Chasing Emmy podcast. It is unlikely any viewer could have imagined that as a possible backstory for Hayley Atwell's Margaret and Matthew Macfadyen's Henry Wilcox. As many who watch costume dramas know, the content of the genre is often pretty serious. So serious in fact, you have to wonder what the cast gets up to in order to keep the spirits on set from descending into total sorrow.

Now, you at least have the answer for the set of Howard's End, as Hayley Atwell's endeavors probably helped keep the laughs coming. It is always fun to hear actors explain some of the things they come up with on-set. And if you thought that Atwell only reserved her playful ribbing for her co-star and on-screen love interest think again. Atwell also spread the laughter to co-star Alex Lawther, who plays Margaret's brother Tibby in the miniseries.

In the same interview, Hayley Atwell revealed another running joke during production, this one pertaining to Alex Lawther's Tibby. As it turns out, the root of Tibby's issues was a situation with Aunt Juley. This is the wild backstory that circulated on the set regarding Tibby and how the internet helped Atwell bring it to life. Explaining how she managed to turn the running joke into a prank, Atwell said:

We had a running joke that Tibby's troubles have all stemmed from the fact that Aunt Juley is still breastfeeding him. And we were talking about Tibby always having imaginary friends, so I went on to Etsy and I got this really weird looking puppet and I just left it in his trailer one day.

Hayley Atwell and the rest of the Howard's End cast honestly deserve Emmys for being able to keep a straight face with all of the pranks and jokes going on. Who would have guessed all of this was happening? Having a gag reel that revealed the cast's reactions to the on-set shenanigans would definitely be DVD-worthy.

You also have to hand it to Hayley Atwell for really going full tilt into her pranks. They not only took effort. They also took a lot of imagination. How must Matthew Macfadyen have reacted when he discovered the diaper and encountered the sippy cup and bib during the cast's lunch break? Moments like that deserve to be captured.

Find out if Howard's End earns any Emmy nominations when they are announced on July 12. For new upcoming and returning television shows you can anticipate watching in the coming months, check out CinemaBlend's guide to TV's summer premieres.

Britt Lawrence

Like a contented Hallmark movie character, Britt happily lives in the same city she grew up in. Along with movies and television, she is passionate about competitive figure skating. She has been writing about entertainment for 5 years, and as you may suspect, still finds it as entertaining to do as when she began.