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Jenna Coleman on Her New Television Series 'The Cry'

We chat with the star of the new series about what it means to play a mother on screen and what drew her to this difficult role.

Without giving too much away, and for our readers who may not know, what is 'The Cry' about?

The Cry is a psychological thriller, which explores motherhood uhm...a very controlling relationship, the media and an ordinary couple who find themselves in unimaginable circumstances.

What drew you to this role of Joanna

Her journey, over the space of four hours, trying to find a way to connect. The woman you meet with post–natal depression, in Grey, shrinking to the woman you see standing in court in a Red Dress; the power of her extraordinary journey. How the audience can follow Joanna on her journey, how that person can become the person in the end was interesting to me… It’s a contemporary thriller and something I have ever done before.

Coming off of a glamorous show like ‘Victoria’, how did you prepare for this role, taking into account its difference?

There were lots of different ways to prep. I was absolutely terrified for starters. I had to do a lot of research with midwives, reading scripts, reading a tone of books. It was quite freeing working without regalia – the transition and psychological change was great but for each project you are dealing with a whole different set of rules.

Playing a mother on screen is not new to you but what is personally important for you, and what are you trying to convey about mothers and motherhood?

What was really important for me was overcoming the societal pressures of “the good mother” or “the bad mother” through labels. Society can be very tough, I think for me it’s about opening people’s eyes up to the fact that this period can be can be equally very exciting as well as daunting.

Considering all the characters you’ve played up to this point, which is the one you have the most in common with, and why?

Oh God! I don’t know… To be honest, I like anything that’s further away from me. And I hate using my own accent and use a Scottish accent in this, which they wouldn’t let me. I think depending on the audience interpretation I can be linked to any character really. I think I can be very stubborn like Victoria, which I hate to admit, and impatient just like her…

Would you say any characters have influenced the way you dress, or indelibly affected your personal style?

Uh… not the corsets from Victoria (giggles), I have always been a fan of high-end fashion like in Victoria anyway. I have always liked high collars, ruffles and fabrics. But I like to keep it separate, although in Doctor Who definitely something of myself in the shirt dresses, biker boots etc. ! 

Which performer, living or dead, inspires you?

Marion Cotillard  - I think is exquisite.

Do you feel that the contemporary film industry is opening up and expanding opportunities for actors to be able to play multi-dimensional women, as opposed to stereotypes or ideals?

Yeah I do, I think that’s what’s so fascinating about Victoria. And the more I got to know her, The more I liked the fact that she had all these ‘flaws’, I think if you take a look at Joanna’s character in The Cry, as a mother she isn’t perfect, we gave the audience the opportunity to judge her  and unpack their thoughts of her…she’s struggling and isn’t perfect. Though, You still get scripts that where you read “sexy Natasha walks into the room” but not much anymore, I think fans have an appetite for great content , people want to see a lot more content that’s reflective of them. And though we still have a long way to go, it’s still much better than before.

Lastly why should South African viewers tune in to watch The Cry?

Well if you like a thriller and want to be taken on a psychological thriller that’s more complex than ever – you need to watch this.

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