“If your instincts are right, even if you’re misguided … you can recover from your mistakes and learn from them.”
She added that “it’s important for us to rebel all the time”.
Ms James was promoting her latest project, a Netflix adaptation of Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca, in which she plays the second Mrs de Winter.
Explaining how the two wives of Max de Winter were very different, Ms James said: “The character of Rebecca went against all norms as a woman and disobeyed her husband, had affairs, was basically just brilliant. That was only in the 1930s so I think people are still afraid of women when they’re unleashed. Women are warriors and that’s intimidating.”
She also spoke about dealing with criticism. “At times it can feel really personal or a vendetta or an attack against you,” she said. “I’m still figuring it out but I do think I’m developing a thicker skin, because all that really matters is how you feel about yourself and how the people you love feel about you.”
Ms James, 31, and Mr West, 50, worked together on a BBC adaptation of Nancy Mitford’s The Pursuit of Love. They were photographed by paparazzi in Italy, a week after filming ended.
Mr West’s wife, Catherine FitzGerald, mother to four of his children, was said to be “devastated” by the pictures. But on Tuesday they put on a united front, kissing for the cameras outside their Wiltshire home and handing out a note to photographers that read: “Our marriage is strong and we’re very much together.”
Quotes that West gave on the subject of infidelity while promoting his previous series, The Affair, came back to haunt him. He told one interviewer: “I think women should be more indulgent of affairs. I really do. It’s daft to kick someone out over a fling, isn’t it?”