Joanne’s on a new mission
ACCLAIMED British actor Joanne Froggatt says it is a good thing society has reached a point where issues including sexual assault are explored in TV drama’s.
Froggatt’s latest role in controversial six-part miniseries, Liar, sees her play a schoolteacher (Laura) on a mission to expose the man who raped her, a renowned surgeon named Andrew played by Ioan Gruffud.
While it was shot last November, the story couldn’t be more relevant in the wake of the Harvey Weinstein scandal of sexual abuse and bullying.
“Now as a society we are all talking about it across the globe,” Froggatt tells DT/TV in an exclusive phone interview. “What is amazing is that it only takes a few very brave people to speak out. The fact we are talking about it is sending a message to society that this is not okay.”
Instead of revealing Gruffud’s character as the rapist at the end of the series, creators Harry and Jack Williams made the shock plot twist known on Monday night.
“Our show is entertainment, it is not there to change the world but I do feel it is a thriller with a real intelligence behind it that poses interesting questions,” she says. “Obviously it is a fine balance between respecting a sensitive subject matter and also making it an entertaining thriller. Ultimately it has got to be about educating our society and our younger people about what constitutes consent and how to have respect for ourselves and each other.”
Froggatt won worldwide acclaim as Anna Bates in hit UK drama series Downton Abbey, which earnt her a Golden Globe.
A second series of Liar has been commissioned, although the Williams brothers are committed to other projects so it won’t go into production until January 2019.
“We all decided it was better to wait so we could make it really brilliant,” Froggatt says.
“We want it to surpass season one so unfortunately that means there will be a bit of a wait until season two.”
Froggatt too has a full slate. She will be seen on the big screen in a number of independent American films and also the big studio movie, Mary Shelley, in which she plays Elle Fanning’s stepmother.
She has also started her own production company and has three projects in the early stages of development.
“It just feels like a natural progression,” she says, indicating she would like to find a project in Australia, a country she fell in love while filming Joanne Lees and Peter Falconio real-life telemovie, Murder in the Outback in 2006.
“Australia has such a big place in my heart. I am going to have to find something (a project) that I can switch (to make) in Australia.” Double episode series final of Liar, Seven, Monday, 8.40pm.
Joanne Froggatt stars as Laura in Liar, and (left) as Anna Bates with husband John Bates (Brendan Coyle) in Downton Abbey.