Jenna Cole­man, From ‘Vic­to­ria’ to The Old Vic

WWD Digital Daily - - News -

Around this time last year, Bri­tish ac­tress Jenna Cole­man was aboard a plane to Aus­tralia. "With the most amount of fear," she adds.

Cole­man was en route to film the mys­tery BBC minis­eries "The Cry," which de­buted in the fall of 2018. "What's been most amaz­ing is the spec­u­la­tion," she says of re­ac­tion to the show and the ac­com­pa­ny­ing who­dunit around a mother and her miss­ing child. "The worst thing in the world would be a re­ally ob­vi­ous psy­cho­log­i­cal thriller that doesn't keep peo­ple guess­ing; that doesn't have se­crets."

Cole­man's had lit­tle time to catch her breath since that plane ride — a day af­ter wrap­ping "The Cry," she was back in char­ac­ter as Queen Vic­to­ria for the third sea­son of "Vic­to­ria," which pre­mieres Jan. 13. There's been a lot of film­ing, a lot of press, and as Cole­man puts it, "It's been a real freight train of a year."

"To be hon­est, each project that you start feels quite scary, al­ways feels like a bit of a moun­tain in a way in terms of: how on earth do I get to know who the real Queen Vic­to­ria was? And how on earth do I play a griev­ing mother go­ing through the most unimag­in­able cir­cum­stances in a way that can lend it­self to a thriller where you have to play the truth, but never give the truth?"

The an­swer for Cole­man is a lot of re­search chan­neled through in­tu­ition. At the end of the sec­ond sea­son of "Vic­to­ria," her char­ac­ter had al­ready be­come a mother to three chil­dren, with four more "on the way."

"The feel­ing we left them with was 'we're no longer chil­dren any­more, are we?'" she says, de­scrib­ing the dy­namic with her on­screen hus­band Prince Al­bert, played by her real-life part­ner Tom Hughes. "And then we pick up this sea­son and it's like: jump cuts, so many years [have passed], they have seven chil­dren now, they've been mar­ried 10 years. And so she her­self is older and look­ing at [the ques­tion] how do we age?"

While the 32-year-old brunette has no per­sonal ex­pe­ri­ence as a mother to draw from, Cole­man still had a deep pool of ma­ter­nal pro­cliv­i­ties to tap into for both "The Cry" and the up­com­ing sea­son of "Vic­to­ria," and in a way, her por­tray­als ben­e­fited from her ex­plo­rations of the other one.

"What's re­ally in­ter­est­ing is…ac­tu­ally sit­ting down and con­sid­er­ing the day-to-day prac­ti­cal­i­ties of what it means to have a child — from your en­tire world chang­ing, from I can walk out the door and grab a cof­fee, and the dif­fer­ence is of course you can do that as a mother, but sud­denly the in­de­pen­dence of that changes," Cole­man says, ad­ding that de­spite what dif­fer­en­ti­ates both char­ac­ters — time, class, coun­try, age — they re­main linked through the uni­ver­sal as­pects of moth­er­hood. "I'm pretty con­vinced [Vic­to­ria] ex­pe­ri­enced post-natal de­pres­sion, as you can see from her di­ary. She was al­ready very emo­tion­ally sus­cep­ti­ble — or hu­man, shall we say — and there's a point in her diaries when she stops writ­ing for months af­ter the birth of her sec­ond child, which is to­tally un­char­ac­ter­is­tic," she con­tin­ues. "And when she comes back she can't ar­tic­u­late what it is she's been through. And then also we meet Joanna in 'The Cry,' and she's com­pletely lost her iden­tity."

But on a meta level, the ex­pe­ri­ences of film­ing the two shows couldn't be more dif­fer­ent. While "The Cry" was vis­ceral and raw, with mo­ments of pick-upa-cam­era-and-change-course guer­rilla style shooting, pro­duc­tion for a pe­riod show like "Vic­to­ria" is quite lit­er­ally more but­toned up, with long re­sets be­tween takes, elab­o­rate pro­duc­tion de­sign, child ac­tors, and all of the ac­com­pa­ny­ing eti­quette. Cole­man found the jux­ta­po­si­tion in­ter­est­ing, and is piv­ot­ing to the stage this spring, when she'll start work on an Old Vic pro­duc­tion of Arthur Miller's "All My Sons" in London.

"I've been look­ing to do [a play] for ages, be­cause I've done TV for so many years straight. You're al­ways on cam­era and it's al­ways quick. You have to work quickly; you can re­search and re­search and re­search, but then on the day you're al­ways sub­ject to sched­ule," she says, ex­press­ing ex­cite­ment about the prospect of spend­ing eight weeks de­vel­op­ing and div­ing into the two-hour per­for­mance. "Sally Field is play­ing Kate Keller and Bill Pull­man is play­ing Joe, and the en­sem­ble is so won­der­ful. To be in a room with those peo­ple and get to ex­plore, is re­ally ex­cit­ing."

But be­fore she enters that par­tic­u­lar 1,000-seat room, an­other plane ride is in store — this time for a dif­fer­ent sort of ex­plo­ration.

"I'm go­ing on hol­i­day; I'm go­ing to go to Mar­rakesh and Mex­ico and do a bit of trav­el­ing, be­cause there's not been a great deal of that re­cently," she says. "So I'm go­ing to do some of that, and then po­ten­tially some­thing else. And then the Old Vic starts in March."

Just like any good psy­cho­log­i­cal thriller, Cole­man can tease se­crets of her own.

The ac­tress steps back into char­ac­ter as Queen Vic­to­ria be­fore turn­ing her at­ten­tion to a London pro­duc­tion of “All My Sons.” BY KRIS­TEN TAUER PHO­TO­GRAPH BY VIR­GINIE KHATEEB

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.