Emma Samms

‘To­mor­row I’m film­ing a bed scene. I won­der if I can get away with a win­ter coat un­der the cov­ers’

Cotswold Life - - EDITOR’S COMMENT - contact @Em­masamms1

I’m back in front of the cam­eras... and com­ing soon to a TV near you

Last week I started work on a BBC drama. I’m not al­lowed to tell you which one, as the BBC Pub­lic­ity De­part­ment hasn’t given me their bless­ing to go pub­lic as yet. It’s by no means the big­gest cast­ing news in his­tory and it’s not go­ing to make the front page of any pub­li­ca­tions, but one has to stick by the rules and re­spect a press em­bargo if there is one.

I can tell you this though: It’s bloody hard work! Lots of pre-dawn starts to 14-hour days which is, frankly, a bit of a shock to the sys­tem. And film­ing scenes out­doors in freez­ing tem­per­a­tures, wear­ing light­weight spring cloth­ing when ev­ery­one be­hind the cam­era is in thick win­ter coats isn’t ex­actly fun. But it’s not so much the phys­i­cal de­mands, it’s more the men­tal work­out of mem­o­ris­ing up to 20 pages of di­a­logue a day that I’ve found the most chal­leng­ing.

I used to be re­ally good at learn­ing lines. In my twen­ties, when I was work­ing on General Hos­pi­tal in Amer­ica, I av­er­aged 30 pages a day and I prided my­self on the fact that if it was fewer than 10 pages, I’d learn them whilst I was hav­ing my hair done that morn­ing. But me­mory skills are like a mus­cle that loses strength if not reg­u­larly ex­er­cised and the last week has been an in­ten­sive boot camp for my poor old brain.

The pro­gramme that I’m work­ing on isn’t live tele­vi­sion, (now that would be ter­ri­fy­ing!) so mis­takes are tol­er­ated, but not too many. Time is money on a film set and any­thing that slows down pro­duc­tion is a prob­lem. Of course as soon as you make a mis­take and they have to start the scene over again, you start to feel the pres­sure, and trust me, if there’s any­thing that’s go­ing to make you flub a line, it’s feel­ing pres­sured to get it right.

Luck­ily, the peo­ple that I’m work­ing with are de­light­ful. They are all ex­tremely pro­fes­sional and good at their jobs and are also re­ally kind and friendly. I’ve worked with both those op­tions be­fore but you don’t al­ways get both at the same time, so this job is, thus far, prov­ing to be a joy. The big­gest joy is the gor­geous ac­tress that I’ve been work­ing with the most. I can’t tell you her name or a quick google would give the game away, but her kind­ness, her won­der­ful sense of hu­mour and her skill as an ac­tress have made all the dif­fer­ence. It’s al­most im­pos­si­ble to give a good per­for­mance if the per­son you’re act­ing with isn’t very good. I’d say the best act­ing I ever did was when I au­di­tioned with the ac­tor Christo­pher Walken. He was so tal­ented that I couldn’t help but up my game. Say­ing that, I didn’t get the part, so I guess I didn’t up it quite enough.

One thing I’m not en­joy­ing about be­ing back in front of a cam­era is the need to look good all day. If you read my columns reg­u­larly you’ll probably have picked up on the fact that I have lit­tle pa­tience for all things glam­orous. Put me in flat shoes, a comfy fleece, tie my hair back in a pony­tail and I’m happy. All those years on Dy­nasty when your hair, makeup and clothes had to look per­fect even when your char­ac­ter woke up in the morn­ing, have had a knock on ef­fect. On-set main­te­nance of such re­quire­ments is the re­spon­si­bil­ity of a hard-work­ing team who con­stantly have to pow­der, tweak, comb and fid­dle with one’s per­son through­out the day. Bless them, be­cause they are all in­cred­i­bly nice and I des­per­ately need their help, but the temp­ta­tion to swat them away builds as the day goes on, es­pe­cially when I’m strug­gling to get the di­a­logue in a scene out of my mouth cor­rectly. Even when I’m not on the set, a cer­tain amount of cau­tion is re­quired as every cup of tea is a po­ten­tial stain down the front of my out­fit and every power nap is a po­ten­tially creased dress or even worse, face.

To­mor­row I’ll be film­ing a bed scene. This does not fill me with glee, no mat­ter how much I adore the ac­tor that I’ll be in bed with. Luck­ily there is only im­plied nu­dity re­quired (I wouldn’t have taken the job if it were any­thing else!) which means that as long as my arms and shoul­ders are bare I can wear as much as I like un­der the cov­ers. I won­der if I can get away with a win­ter coat?

I’ll let you know how it goes…n

ABOVE: Film­ing is bloody hard work! Lots of pre-dawn starts to 14-hour days which is, frankly, a bit of a shock to the sys­tem

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