Jodie Whittaker’s shared scenes with Anne Hathaway and Rupert Friend but for a new ITV drama debuting this Thursday, this Yorkshire lass gets back to her roots as she plays a bereaved mother in supernatural drama Marchlands, opposite the gorgeous Jamie Thomas King (of The Tudors fame). The bubbly Brit spoke to us about learning lessons from Peter O’Toole, her love of Will Ferrell and her plans to crack Hollywood…
Tell us what are you working on at the mo?
Marchlands with Alex Kingston and Jamie Thomas King, I play a bereaved mother who’s lost her daughter in a suspicious drowning incident. It’s about my character trying to grieve; she doesn’t accept the information that she’s been given. It’s got three separate interlinking storylines [over different years] set in this one house, so the lead part, really, is the house and the ghost of the child. I shot it over the summer and was filming One Day at the same time. The two pieces couldn’t be more different!
What’s One Day about?
It’s based on the novel [by David Nicholls]. It’s about Uni life and the transition from your teens through to your twenties and thirties. I’m late twenties now and all my mates are talking about what we’re doing for our thirtieth - I want to cry! It’s such a seminal book, it’s brilliant and it’s moving and funny and draws in on great music. All my scenes were with Anne – she’s an absolute gem!
What’s Anne like?
She’s so young but she’s amazing, she’s so down to earth – I hate that term but I think that the leads [actors] set the tone on set and I think if they’re great and up for a laugh it filters through to everyone else and with Anne, that’s what happened. We’re the same age but our careers couldn’t be more different. It was such a fun job.
Did Anne offer you advice?
No! I think in a weird way she would have felt quite strange offering someone the same age advice. She was just so lovely and incredibly beautiful! Her eyes are unbelievable.
You worked with Peter O’Toole on Venus…
It was amazing! It was a great opportunity for a 22-year old straight out of drama school. I left and went straight into the Globe [theatre] and then my next job was with Peter O’Toole! To have that as my first six months out was just amazing. My character [troubled teenager, Jessie] was a dream as it required real naivety and a lack of understanding of the world which at that point for me, straight out of college, was exactly like that! Peter’s a great guy to learn from.
What did you take away from it?
I learned that everyone’s job is as equal as yours; we’re all here to do a job. Unfortunately I think actors have an unusual sense of ‘yeah but I’m on screen.’ But if I come home and I’m stroppy, I can see my husband and he’ll be like, ‘get your head out your arse!’
You’ve worked with Gemma Arterton, Romola Garai, there’s a real boom of hot young talented actresses…
It’s really exciting! It’s a bit like music; there are loads of female singers and leads in bands too. It’s really brilliant, they’re [the industry] not trying to mould one person into the next and we’re not being told ‘this is the box you need to fit into’. We’re all really lucky to be working in such interesting and different jobs.
Do you have any plans to crack the US?
Of course! Every box set you buy is brilliant and you want to be in it; they’re making Inception and then they make Mad Men and then The Wire. I need to get my act in gear and get over! Last year I didn’t have a day off and it was wonderful, I had the best year ever. It was great going from job to job but then you’re like ‘oh when can I go to LA?’ I’m going be more organized and get over!
If you could work with anyone…
I’d love, love, love to work with Will Ferrell! I’d love to do comedy.
You worked on The Kid with Nick Moran; do you think being an actor helped him in his director role?
I think it makes him a great director, as an actor he understands what you’re trying to achieve and how you can get there. He’s also a real laugh, which is really necessary on a piece like that; you’ve got to be.
What was it like working with Rupert Friend?
Oh he’s great, he’s a really great guy. He really worked hard on it; it’s a really great performance. He’s a great example of young lads coming up.
Marchlands is on ITV on Thursday 3rd February; One Day is out later this year.
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By Sarah Angus