Five Minutes With | Jodie Whittaker

The Broadchurch actress on her co-stars and her latest feature film Hello Carter…

Interview by: Rosalind Sack

There’s a lot of banter between scenes on Broadchurch. To say it’s draining sounds negative, but it’s pretty epic for us all, particularly for me and my co-star Andy Buchan, who play grieving parents. But Andy is one of the funniest people I’ve ever met. He’s got naturally funny bones. None of us are method actors so we all have a similar need to make each other smile between scenes and we all genuinely love hanging out and we get to do it in really beautiful places on set in Dorset.

I love being on top of a hill with the light fading, about to wrap, and you need to get a massive scene done in two minutes. You have to get it right first time, and the entire set and crew hold their breath hoping nothing will go wrong. Then I love being in a rehearsal room for weeks on end trying things out. I like mixing it up. I’m so lucky that I’ve been able to work on stage and TV and film – that was my dream as a kids, my dream at drama school, and now to say that I have managed to do all three is exciting. I’m keeping everything crossed it continues this way.

Actors are the least important people on the set. Of course we need to do our job – but then there are all these other people, like the sound department, for example, who are dangling off a cliff to get the right sound, who are equally as important. My favourite thing is that it’s a community. On a film set everyone has the same goal and everyone’s role is equally as important in reaching that goal. Of course, there’s no point having a film without the actors, but you aren’t anything if your hair is over your face, the shot is out of focus, or no one can understand what you’re saying because the mics don’t work. The problem is that us actors probably think we’re the most important people!

The characters in Hello Carter are so everyday and unlikely, and that’s what struck a chord. It isn’t about someone who has superhuman strength or, like the type of roles I often play, who have suffered a huge trauma. We shot it 18 months ago, in early February, when it was very cold. It’s set in London, which is home, so I got to sleep in my own bed at night, which was brilliant.

Hello Carter is not your stereotypical London set film where you walk across Leicester Square or Tower Bridge. You see London from the point of view of the people who live there, who are a melting pot of people from all over the world. I love a farce anyway, and it was so much fun to hang out with my co-stars, Charlie Cox and Paul Schneider, and have these ridiculous scenarios running around the city. I was involved in the short film version of Hello Carter 18 months before we started shooting the feature film, and it was great to see the essence of the short transition into the feature.

 I’d love to work with Laura Linney, she’s my hero. I don’t tend to play women who have leading men, so I get more excited about working with other actresses. Laura is truly extraordinary and has the career to die for. She has done so much, from high profile stuff to loads of great telly and indie films. I just think she’s brilliant.

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