Her lusty scenes with Jonathan Rhys Mey­ers in The Tu­dors led to ru­mours of ro­mance. Now back co-star­ring with the Cork­man, Wick­low ac­tress Katie Mcgrath talks body im­age and boyfriends to Pa­tri­cia Dana­her

The Irish Mail on Sunday - TV Week - - FEATURE -

You learn to make your home where you are at the time,’ she says, more than a lit­tle wist­fully. ‘I go home to Lon­don quite a bit from Bu­dapest and I go home to Ire­land when­ever I can. All my fam­ily are in Ash­ford. They’re the most per­fect fam­ily. I wish I could live there. I wish I could work there.’

In be­tween shoot­ing Mer­lin, Katie also got a part in Madonna’s film W.E. and in the process be­came friends with the singer. Shortly af­ter Mer­lin wrapped, the call came through that she’d landed her part in Drac­ula and it’s been a roller­coaster ever since. ‘Bram Stoker was a typ­i­cal Ir­ish­man — he loved lan­guage and he had a great way with words. He didn’t think he was writ­ing War And Peace. I think he just wanted to tell a bloody good story,’ she says. ‘The cast has re­ally bonded and it’s great to have so many Ir­ish here. I love be­ing back work­ing with Johnny again. We’re like fam­ily on the set. There aren’t many jobs where you’re ex­cited about go­ing to work ev­ery day, but I gen­uinely am. There’s a rich­ness about cos­tume drama that ev­ery­body loves.’ She and fel­low Ir­ish ac­tress Vic­to­ria Smur­fit have also be­come very close on the Bu­dapest set.

Al­though Katie is in good shape, she is not what you’d call Hol­ly­wood thin. She strug­gled with her weight as a stu­dent and, de­spite the hearty ap­petite with which she ap­proaches tonight’s din­ner, she tells me there’s no se­cret to how she stays in shape. ‘You just have to be sen­si­ble and go to the gym. I’m not stick thin, but you do have to work on it. It’s part of the job. In­side, I see my­self as this over­weight tomboy. I was re­ally big un­til I left col­lege and I started to lose all the weight. I don’t know how big I was ex­actly. Let’s just say when I stopped fit­ting in to a size 14, I stopped count­ing.’

She dodges the ques­tion of whether she has a boyfriend, say­ing she’ll tell me next time, but she does ad­mit she’s still not con­fi­dent with dat­ing. ‘I’m re­ally ter­ri­ble when it comes to guys. When I was in col­lege and over­weight, I al­ways saw my­self as “the friend” — rather than the one the guys wanted to talk to. I was very awkward and guys were al­ways just my mates. In­wardly, I haven’t changed at all...’

Still, she ad­mits, ‘One day I’d love a house in the coun­try, with some chick­ens, dogs and kids. I’m ap­proach­ing the age now when all my friends are get­ting mar­ried and I’m like “When did that hap­pen?” And I am ter­ri­bly, hor­rif­i­cally, hor­ri­bly broody.’

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