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Perrier's Bounty - Jodie Whittaker interview

Perrier's Bounty

Interview by Rob Carnevale

JODIE Whittaker talks about working on Perrier’s Bounty, what appealed about her character Brenda and what it was like to snog co-star Cillian Murphy. She also talks about her career in general, as well as some of her future movies, including BBC2’s Royal Wedding

Q. How did you react to the script when you first read it?
Jodie Whittaker: It came alive immediately. It’s so layered and funny and pacy as well. I was racing through it because I wanted to know what happened to everybody but you felt the energy from [writer] Mark [O’Rowe]. It’s really apparent on the page. If something’s that enjoyable when you don’t even know who’s playing half of the characters, to then get on set and see who is actually doing them… I mean there’s support from people like Liam Cunningham as well, and that’s really great. The whole ensemble is just phenomenal. It was really exciting.

Q. What did you like about Brenda, your character?
Jodie Whittaker: She held her own in a kind of bloke’s film and in a bloke’s environment. She’s also unashamedly emotional – she may be apologetic about how upset she is, but then completely can turn it on its head and be certain of something. I loved how direct she was and able to deal with certain situations as well as being able to completely breakdown at other times and be distraught – which I think I am quite a lot [laughs].

Q. Did they treat you as one of the guys on set as well?
Jodie Whittaker: They’re not really that butch [laughs]! But it was a good laugh. It was really nice. There were so many women on set, though… you always think it’s a bloke’s film but half of the crew were women! So, I was well looked after… and Jim, Cillian and I had so much time in the car together, it was great. [Director] Ian Fitzgibbon set it up to be a completely enjoyable experience, much to his credit. He cast a load of people who got on really well and wanted to make this film.

Q. Was snogging Cillian something you had to build up to? Or were you quite easygoing about it?
Jodie Whittaker: It’s just work. It’s really nice when you get on with a love interest character because I suppose it’s massively awkward if you don’t! But, you know, he’s a great actor and it’s really unromantic to have a boom operator there like a spark moving over your head. I just can’t glam it up, I’m afraid. He’s a great guy, a great actor and he brushes his teeth! He has all the ticks!

Q. You haven’t been on the scene as long as co-stars such as Jim Broadbent. Do you find you learn a lot from how these guys approach the whole world?
Jodie Whittaker: Oh yeah. But I think this is one of those jobs where you don’t stop learning, even if you have a career longer than my little five years! You’re meeting new people all the time, so you might as well just be a sponge and take everybody’s input and style as a bit of a lesson. Even Ian’s directing… it’s coming from an actor’s point of view. He trained at RADA and he was an actor for a really long time. So that in itself was really interesting… to be around someone who has come from where I am, to then direct a film. I just think it would be incredibly arrogant if you didn’t use opportunities like this to pick up as much stuff as you can.

Q. What have you got coming up next?
Jodie Whittaker: Well, coming out is Nick Moran’s next film, The Kid, which is based on the novel by Kevin Lewis – an autobiography. I also have an Abi Morgan film for BBC2, which is set in the ’80s and during the Royal wedding [called Royal Wedding]. And then, at the moment, I’m shooting a film for Big Top called Attack The Block, which Joe Cornish has written and is directing. We’re in the middle of night shoots, so I’m feeling really sorry for myself [laughs]. When you’re all tucked up in bed, I’ll still be working. But it’s really amazing and quite hush-hush, which I’m rubbish at!

Q. What sort of career goals do you set yourself?
Jodie Whittaker: I’ve got loads. But I’ve been really lucky. I’ve got to work with people who have had really fantastic careers and who are still lovely people to be around. So, I suppose that’s kind of a big inspiration for me – to work for as long as possible but to continue to enjoy it. I want to be a part of the process, rather than just wanting the rewards.

Q. Has there been anyone who has left a really lasting impression you – an actor or director?
Jodie Whittaker: There’s a lot of people actually. I worked with a really young director recently, called James Griffiths, who is amazing. It’s just really exciting because he’s at the start… it’s great to be a part of that. But I’ve been jammy because I’ve worked with some really cool people. I mean doing Cranford you tick every box going. I’ve pleased every relative. I’ve never worked with a bad one, or had a hard time with anyone. But we’ve got such a dream job… people want it so much that you’re continually appreciative you be in this position. So, it’s quite rare that you’d go and mess it up by behaving badly.

Read our review of Perrier’s Bounty

Read our interview with Jim Broadbent