Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - NEWS -

TO get in shape for her de­mand­ing mil­i­tary role in Odyssey, Anna Friel trained daily with a for­mer sol­dier and ate ev­ery two hours to bulk up. Over the course of the shoot she wound up tear­ing six lig­a­ments, get­ting a corneal abra­sion, dis­lo­cat­ing her shoul­der and throw­ing her back out while film­ing.

Typ­i­cally English, the 38- year- old for­mer star of Push­ing Daisies un­der­states the shoot’s dif­fi­cultly by sim­ply re­fer­ring to it as an “ar­du­ous” ex­pe­ri­ence.

“How do I let go of the role at the end of the day?” she asks. “My mean trainer makes me ex­er­cise! Any time I com­plain that I’m tired he makes me swim for half an hour or do press ups for ages. That or I watch a cook­ery pro­gram.”

Odyssey fol­lows three strangers – a sol­dier, a lawyer and a political ac­tivist – who get caught in the middle of a mas­sive con­spir­acy in­volv­ing cor­po­rate espionage and mil­i­tary se­crets.

Friel plays Sgt Odelle Bal­lard, who dis­cov­ers a US cor­po­ra­tion is se­cretly fund­ing ji­hadists af­ter her pla­toon is am­bushed. She faces in­cred­i­ble ob­sta­cles try­ing to get her­self and the ev­i­dence back to the US.

“Odyssey is a jour­ney home,” she ex­plains. “It’s about how to get home and I hope the au­di­ence will come with us.

“That need and long­ing to get back to your fam­ily or chil­dren or spouse is so over­whelm­ing and that is an in­cred­i­bly re­lat­able tool.”

Friel filmed her role in Morocco while co- stars Peter Facinelli and Jake Robin­son shot in New York. She laughs and re­veals she didn’t meet Facinelli un­til the se­ries’ US red- car­pet pre­miere.

Gifted young ac­tor Omar Ghaza­oui plays her cap­tor- turned- helper in the show.

As­ton­ish­ingly it is` the teenager’s first act­ing job – af­ter an ex­ten­sive search the Moroc­can cast­ing di­rec­tor lit­er­ally found him on the street.

“He is shoot­ing right now with­out me and we miss each other al­ready,” Fries ex­plains. “It’s ei­ther the two of us, or some­one tor­tur­ing me, so yes I miss him!”



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