COVER STORY

Work­ing on the thriller The Cry in Aus­tralia was a “far cry” from Jenna Cole­man’s ti­tle role in the se­ries Vic­to­ria. But she loved the change and, in par­tic­u­lar, act­ing with ba­bies, as James Ramp­ton re­ports.

The TV Guide - - CONTENTS -

Vic­to­ria star Jenna Cole­man trav­elled to Aus­tralia for the thriller The Cry and fell in love with the ba­bies on set.

Vic­to­ria star Jenna Cole­man well knows the adage that ac­tors should never work with an­i­mals and chil­dren.

But she hap­pily cast this aside to work on the thriller The Cry, which is set in Aus­tralia, and in­volves a Bri­tish cou­ple, who have a baby Noah and are try­ing to re­gain cus­tody of an­other child when dis­as­ter strikes.

Cole­man flew to Aus­tralia early this year dur­ing a break in pro­duc­tion of Vic­to­ria to work on the se­ries.

When asked at the end of film­ing what she would miss the most, Cole­man replied with­out hes­i­ta­tion.

“I’m go­ing to miss the ba­bies. We’ve had five weeks film­ing with the gor­geous twins play­ing Noah. It’s been lovely. But it’s been emo­tional.” So what is Cole­man’s se­cret for act­ing with ba­bies? “We’ve been un­be­liev­ably lucky,” she ad­mits. “The ba­bies were like these magic ac­tor ba­bies who seemed to know what the word ‘Ac­tion’ means and what the scene re­quired. They’ve made my job very easy. Ge­nius ba­bies.” Cole­man, 32, who is in a long-term re­la­tion­ship with her Vic­to­ria co-star Tom Hughes (Al­bert), has no chil­dren of her own – well, not yet any­way. Spec­u­la­tion was rife dur­ing film­ing, though, when Cole­man was seen look­ing preg­nant. But it turned out it was just a pros­thetic bump. Even though the emo­tional de­mands of the pro­duc­tion were chal­leng­ing, Cole­man clearly still rel­ished work­ing on The Cry,a four-part Bri­tish drama adapted from the novel by He­len FitzGer­ald.

Ac­cord­ing to the ac­tress, “What’s been re­ally re­mark­able about film­ing – given the emo­tional marathon for ev­ery­one in­volved – is how light it has been in be­tween scenes. It’s been ab­so­lutely nec­es­sary. We just had a real laugh.”

Early on in The Cry, Cole­man’s char­ac­ter, Joanna, takes a long-haul flight. Joanna and her fi­ance Alis­tair (Ewen Leslie) fly from Scot­land to Aus­tralia with their baby, Noah, to try to win cus­tody of his older daugh­ter, Chloe (Markella Kave­nagh), from his ex, Alexan­dra (Asher Ked­die).

Once they are in Aus­tralia, a tragedy oc­curs that turns the lives of Joanna and Alis­tair up­side down. Ques­tions im­me­di­ately arise about Joanna’s com­pe­tence as a par­ent.

The Cry soon turns into a study of the myths of moth­er­hood and how some­one can un­ravel un­der stress.

“It’s quite ironic,” says Cole­man, “be­cause I was ac­tu­ally on a plane when I was first read the script, and that is where we find Joanna in episode one – on a plane jour­ney from Glas­gow to Mel­bourne.

“The first episode re­ally reeled me in. It kept me guess­ing and kept me on my toes. I thought it was re­ally cap­ti­vat­ing and clever.”

Cole­man, who has en­joyed great suc­cess as Doc­tor Who’s com­pan­ion Clara and as the ti­tle role in Vic­to­ria, out­lines her char­ac­ter in The Cry. “As we meet her, Joanna is a new mum and has a baby of about three months. We find her strug­gling with the change – strug­gling, I sup­pose, with new moth­er­hood. She feels ex­hausted. She feels like she’s lost her iden­tity and she’s strug­gling to con­nect with Noah.” Then, Cole­man con­tin­ues, “They get on a plane to Aus­tralia and Joanna goes through some ex­treme changes in her life. We ex­plore her psy­cho­log­i­cal break­down through these unique set of cir­cum­stances.” The ac­tress, who has also starred in Em­merdale, Ti­tanic, Death Comes To Pemberley, Me Be­fore You, and Room At The Top, says that ap­pear­ing in such an in­trigu­ing thriller – where noth­ing is quite what it seems to be – was test­ing. “The psy­cho­log­i­cal thriller as­pect of how much you give to the au­di­ence has been re­ally chal­leng­ing – prob­a­bly more than any other role be­fore. “You are con­stantly liv­ing within a dou­ble-bluff. You’re play­ing the truth of the scene, but also think­ing about how much you want to give to the au­di­ence each mo­ment to keep the mys­tery and to keep draw­ing on the strings. “You’re liv­ing con­stantly within a vor­tex. That’s what we kept call­ing it on set. It’s a dou­ble bub­ble.” Cole­man hopes that view­ers will find the enigma at the heart of The Cry as ab­sorb­ing as she did. “It’s a show that keeps turn­ing on its head. It keeps the mys­tery taut ... It keeps you guess­ing a lot.”

“The first episode re­ally reeled me in. It kept me guess­ing and kept me on my toes.”

– Jenna Cole­man

Asher Ked­die as Alexan­dra

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