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Anna Friel

WE ARE WOMEN
Anna Friel

Anna Friel

Commencing her career as a teenager, Anna Friel is a familiar face on the British stage and screen, most recently starring as the lead of gripping self-titled ITV drama, Marcella.  We caught up with her and talked role models, turning 40, and being a mother.

What’s your biggest career achievement?

I would say longevity – to have started at 13 and still be working all the time at 40, plus conquering Broadway and getting a Golden Globe nomination.

How has motherhood affected your career?

I remember when I found out I was pregnant, I thought that I’d never ever feel alone. I think lots of things get put into perspective because there’s always someone who means more to you than yourself, so it teaches you how to be selfless. Plus, there is always someone to make me laugh and gives me the best cuddles anyone could dream of.

 

What is the best advice you’d give to your daughter?

Don’t waste time on being shy – you’re too good and you’ll always be as beautiful as you feel.

 

Anna Friel
Interiors
Anna Friel

 

Marcella is a strong female lead – what do you like and dislike about the character?

I love the fact that she’s principled and determined. She really sticks to her guns. She’s vulnerable too – she gave up a lot to try and save her relationship, and is determined to rebuild it. However, she’s volatile and suffers from a neurological condition, which is crucial to the plot. I love the facts it’s so brilliantly written that everyone is potentially a witness, victim or suspect, including Marcella, and it challenges the audience to question everything.

Anna Friel

Who is your role model?

I think it’s important for everyone to have a role model.  Every single person is completely different and it’s how to make the most of that and exaggerate the best parts. The first actress I worked with was Julie Walters who is still to this day a heroine of mine. She was so down to earth and talked about pea soup which I thought was pretty cool. Also, an actress called Brenda Fricker who won the Oscar for My Left Foot with Daniel Day Lewis. She used to come on set, even on night shoots, and gave me a few tricks of the trade and just really believed in me.

You’ve done film, TV and the stage – which is your favourite?

I love all three for different reasons! I love stage work because it’s so intimate and immediate – you can feel the reaction from the audience. Films are incredibly in-depth, and allow you to really get into the mind of the character. TV allows you to explore a variety of storylines and scenarios. It’s much more variable and keeps you on your toes. I honestly couldn’t pick between the three. Some of my favourite work was doing Uncle Vanya on stage, like many of Chekov’s plays its about frustrated hopes, and so many of the themes are still relevant to today’s audiences.

Anna Friel on Polaroids

 

Anna
Interiors

What’s the favourite character you’ve played?

Probably Marcella, actually! She’s so complex, and it’s given me the opportunity to explore a character unlike any I’ve played in the past. It’s also given me the chance to experience the extraordinary work of the police force – it was fascinating to research and I hope I’ve done the job justice on-screen.

What are you working on at the moment/near future?

It’s a really exciting time, I’ll be filming season two of Marcella, I’ve recently finished filming a new horror movie with Johnny Gallecki and Angelica Huston called Master Cleanse, a film called Tomato Red by Daniel Woodrell, and IT with Piers Brosnan which is about the dangers of technology. I’m a global ambassador for WWF and also in development for a new documentary looking at the impact palm oil is having on the last remaining Orangutans.

What’s your style staple?

Marcella’s style staple is definitely her trusty parka! And I have to say, I sort of agree with her. I love a well-fitted, flattering coat.

Is there a particular item or outfit that makes you feel like you can take on the world?

It sounds like a bit of cliché, but a good pair of shoes definitely helps me feel put-together and confident. Shoes are one of the first things I notice in someone else’s outfit, and they say a lot about a person.

Anna Friel

What’s the story behind the headpiece?

The headpiece is something that Gracie made – she had to make a hat at school and she brought it home and I was just like ‘I really like that – can I use it for shoots’ – it’s all twigs, it’s beautiful and perfect for festivals.

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