You have recently finished filming the first season of BBC’s drama series Sanditon, adapted from an unfinished manuscript by Jane Austen. How does that compare to your previous work?
I have been lucky in my career so far to have played many characters throughout several genres, but there is something so lavish about productions such as Sanditon. What with the array of costumes, the sets and production values, the dancing and grand events, it really was an incredible job. Plus it was 20 minutes from my house!
The series succeeded in finding its ending even though Jane Austen never finished it. Do you think the series managed to catch her biting irony?
The unique trait of Sanditon is that it’s essentially a hybrid, begun in the early 19th century and moulded in her image. No one can perceive where Jane may have taken the story, but it’s a stand-alone piece that is extremely witty, captures the soul of regency England and yet retains a certain freshness that is quite modern in its outlook.
What is the difference in acting in a movie or a TV show of British or American production? Do you have a preference between the two?
It’s a global world, with people transitioning between jobs regularly all over Europe and the rest of the world, so in my experience there’s no great disparity in productions. Except perhaps the weather!
You have quite a filmography behind you – do you prefer doing TV series, movies or plays?
I love the travel, the different locations and situations that each day of filming brings whether in TV or film. But the immediacy and chance to really hone a character over many months on stage is another discipline entirely, to gig live; and ultimately one which is needed occasionally to keep sharp.
You are one of Love Actually stars, a movie that has been an ultimate Christmas classic for years and is often people’s Christmas favourite – do you share this feeling when you remember filming it?
It’s strange, and I’m sure I’m not the only one to feel like it, but because there are so many different storylines I only spent about 15 days filming! For it then to turn into something so huge is equally bizarre and magical. A bit like Christmas I suppose!