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‘The real world is terrifying’: Anne-Marie Duff on sisterhood, survival and Shameless

nne- Marie Duff is extremely precise. Ask her a question, and she’ll take great lengths to make sure her delivery is spot on, breaking for ages to get a expression exactly right. Indeed though she’s famously shy, the ray of her concentrated attention makes our discussion in a central London hostel feel intimate – despite taking place in one of those artificial surroundings where actors gather looking satiny and shoot-ready. Sure, all actors have to inhabit the moment, but not numerous do that in an interview. also again, she does have plenitude to concentrate on we ’re then to talk about Bad Sisters, the new Sharon Horgan drama – specifically, why it’s so strikingly good.

“ That’s Sharon’s jotting, is n’t it? ” Duff says. “ She’s so brilliantly impious and funny, and cocky. And, at the same time, full of emotional verity and compassion, and occasionally ruinous heartache. All in a breath. ” If she had her way, Duff would talk simply about other people and how great they are. We ’re drooling while she’s glammed up for our photoshoot, giving off a gutsy, that’s- the- job vibe, conveying that this position of prepped is n’t really her scene. Throughout, she manages to get at least 50 tributes( to the whole cast of Bad Sisters, Shameless, the rest of her CV, plus people doing effects nothing to do with her – Steve McQueen, Lena Dunham, Suranne Jones) under the line, still much I try to scuffle the content back to her.
But I must contend on talking about her performance, which is the beating heart of the show her character, Grace, is widowed at the launch, and the story also goes backwards into the coercive abuse of her marriage – and the siblings who may have assassinated her hubby. While the other four sisters have a tight, ridiculous escapade dynamic, Grace is insulated, “ this lowered, reduced existent. We do n’t indeed know who she really is. She’s just an opaque interpretation of commodity. That was the tricky thing, desperately trying to make her feel like a real woman. It’s like she’s aquatic. Where’s the fifth family? She’s down there, beneath the swells. ” Domestic abuse has been a longstanding cause for Duff since 2006, when she played a woman escaping a violent relationship in Born Equal, directed by Dominic Savage. “ I had been in touch with Women’s Aid and visited harborages at that time. I ’d spoken to women who had been in violent scripts, but also veritably coercive scripts. It was fascinating talking to women about shame – how one of the captivity bars is that you ca n’t admit you ’ve wedded someone who treats you that way. Because also who are you? ”

Bad Sisters is plainly not the first show to dramatise the content, but the script – four sisters veritably near, one set piecemeal, her insulation ever more violent – ever gives it a power and palpability I ’ve noway seen ahead. It looks like it was no fun and games to film, either, because the others get all the laughs. “ I felt veritably insulated at times, actually, on the shoot, ” Duff says. “ I would go ‘ Hi girls ’ as they went in to do a scene without me. It was perfect in a way, because that’s how compulsion works. Socially, it was n’t fantastic. In terms of being a fibber, it was great. ”
It sounds like hell, but liar is way more important to Duff than socialising, and fabrication more sufferable than fact. “ You ’re inside of a character and you ’re being told what to say and there’s relief to that. The unpredictability and query of the real world isterrifying.However, you know where you are, If you ’re in a play. Indeed if you ’re going to die, you know you ’re going to die. ” The show is set in Ireland, and though Duff, 51, was born and grew up in London, both her parents are Irish. Her accentuation is pitch-perfect and she’s proud of her binary nation, flexing her EU passport and averring her son has a Celtic sense of humour. She trained at the Drama Centre London, which closed down in 2020. scholars used to surname it the Trauma Centre, because everyone was so horrible. There, they told her she could forget being a lead because she was too important of a mite. “ It was like an vituperative relationship – you could be thrown out at any time, you could do a show and be told it was the worst thing they ’d ever seen. You were always saying ‘ Please love me, please love me. ’ Which also made the outside world feel much easier. Everyone was suddenly so probative. ”

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