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Goal! 2: Living The Dream - Anna Friel interview

Anna Friel in Goal! 2: Live The Dream...

Interview by Rob Carnevale

ANNA Friel talks about playing a Geordie “WAG” in Goal! 2: Living The Dream… and how motherhood is changing her career…

Q. Do you think footballers’ wives and girlfriends get a bad press?
Anna Friel: Well, I think they’ve got to stand on their own two feet. I know that if I was married to one of the most incredibly beautiful, handsome men in the world, and one of the most talented (that being David Beckham) I’d want to make my own mark. If they’re being surrounded by these incredibly beautiful women, you’ve got to stand on your own two feet. And I think that by having your own fame and celebrity you stand more of a chance of doing that. I think it’s horrible that they’re put into that position.

But what was interesting about playing Roz for me is that she isn’t like all those women from the magazines; she represents all the millions of women that are married to footballers who don’t want to be on the front page of magazines or love shopping.

Q. How difficult was it to learn a Geordie accent?
Anna Friel: I stayed in it on set a lot. But I love accents. It’s something that I adapt to very easily. It’s also a really nice, fun accent. It’s sexy. I work with a dialogue coach a lot because I have a great one.

Q. Have you learned anything more about football?
Anna Friel: I went to my first match when I was in Madrid. It was a great match to see at the Bernabeu. Alessandro [Nivola] also took me a few times and taught me a lot more about it. I didn’t realise how exciting it could be as a game. I still wouldn’t go and watch a game of golf or cricket but I’m a bit more of a football fan now.

Q. You became a mum in between the two films. How did you cope with the dual duties of motherhood and being a leading lady?
Anna Friel: I had a really supportive team around me. Mike [Jefferies], Kuno [Becker] and Alessandro [Nivola] were incredibly helpful with the baby. I also had a great costume designer who found some very flattering tops that were able to conceal certain bumps. It was good. It also made me not be a complainer. I just got on with it. I was a mother and a working actress and sometimes the two do coincide and I think it’s how you deal with it that shows how strong you are. I thought I can do anything if I can do that.

Q. How has your attitude towards your career changed since becoming a mother? Has it?
Anna Friel: Grace comes with me. She’s visited 10 countries in her first year! I don’t know what kind of mother that makes me – she’s very well travelled, she has a lot of stamps on her passport but she’s adapted really well to it. We spent the last three months at home so she has some kind of grounding and she’s been able to mix with other children rather than having adults around all the time. She’s got a very large vocabulary for a year and a half. But for me, I can travel and follow my career as much as I want to and be able to put myself first until she goes to school. Then it’s going to be a little bit more difficult. But she’s a really good baby; I’m a really lucky mum.

Q. What’s next for you?
Anna Friel: I’m playing Elizabeth Bathory, a real-life figure. She’s who Dracula was based on. She was known to be the greatest murderess of all-time, supposedly slaying 350 virgins. The film tries to disprove that legend. It’s the most challenging role I’ve ever had but it’s a wonderful one to play. Grace was with me and ended up playing my daughter. The director didn’t speak a word of English…

But I had to do a lot of ballet training for that because my hair weighed about a stone and the costume was another stone… it was like being pregnant again. But I had to balance and be graceful at the same time.

Read our review of Goal! 2