FRIEL SHAPES UP AND SHIPS OUT
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!”
SEVEN, SUNDAY, 9.30PM
Bruised: Anna Friel