Best known for her role as Vod in Fresh Meat, Zawe is now impressing us as teacher Claire in BBC1’S Wanderlust. Here she tells us more, and why starring alongside Hollywood actress Toni Collette has been so special…
What attracted you to the role of Claire In Wanderlust?
I was attracted initially because of Nick Payne. He’s a brilliant writer and has been a friend for years. We were in the same Royal Court Young Writers’ Group when we were in our very early 20s and I’ve been a fan since then! I knew his style and tone would be perfect for the subject matter.
Were you excited about the other actors in the drama?
When I heard Toni Collette was playing the main character, Joy, I was even more keen to be a part of it! I was interested in playing someone who was attempting to challenge social norms. Young women are still pressured by society into such archaic roles when it comes to relationships, sex, marriage and motherhood. I wanted to play someone who wasn’t drawn to that, but still didn’t have all the answers herself. So what was it like working with Toni Collette? Toni’s a wonderful actress and very rare talent, because every role she takes on is always surprising and different. She’s one of the most versatile actresses in Hollywood. She’s a powerhouse who is a total team player and very much into female empowerment on a cellular level when it comes to how she interprets the scenes and the script. I think Joy is going to be a real inspiration to lots of women.
What scenes did you enjoy?
The group scenes were really fun to play. When the lights are finally switched on and each character can see the entire situation for what it is – no more denial! Nick writes that awkwardness deliciously well.
Are you excited to see the reaction to Wanderlust?
I don’t tend to go into any job thinking about the audience reaction. I do my job as best I can and then sort of run away! I do always try to do work that I’m going to be interested in talking about.
Wanderlust continues on Tuesday, BBC1, 9pm With co-star Steven Mackintosh