New Emilia Interview
I’ve become a martyr to chainmail itch.
I’m something of an action girl, for Randall & Hopkirk (Deceased) in 2000, I did intensive kick-boxing and I’m sure I could recall the moves if I found the need to defend myself in a dark alley. More recently I’ve become fairly proficient as a swordfighter thanks to my role as Morgause in Merlin. The only downside to being in Merlin is the costume, which becomes unbearable after ten minutes on set. I sympathise with medieval knights. Not only did they have to battle malaria and dysentery but they had to wear multiple layers of chainmail and armour. Whenever they got an itch, it was impossible to scratch unless they went at it with their swords.
The most important thing in the world is to have good manners.
Unfortunately they seem to be dying out. We live in a frenzied world and people have become more and more aggressive. Hardly anyone seems to have the time for good manners any more. I long for a return to the days when men would doff their trilbies to ladies in the street. Today you’d be hard pushed to find a trilby in the whole of London. But I’m a sucker for an old-fashioned gentleman. If a man opens the door for me it makes me day.
The hardest acting challenge is playing a drunk.
In my next movie, Harmony, I play a woman whose life descends into alcoholism. I’ve never been a big drinker, mainly because I don’t like the feeling of being drunk. To get into character, I decided I needed to know what it’s like to be completely plastered. So I bought a bottle of Jack Daniel’s, something I’ve never tried before, and drank two-thirds of it as fast as I could. All that happened was that I sat on the sofa and cried my eyes out for the entire night. I also studied actors playing drunks on screen. Steve McFadden, who plays Phil Mitchell in EastEnders, is a master at it. What he taught me was that you have to resist the temptation to fall all over the place. When most people get drunk they become very focused and try hard to look as if they’re sober. I hope I’ve pulled it off.