Interview: Romola Garai
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Romola Garai is starring in one off BBC2 drama Legacy, set in the shady world of MI6 spies during the Cold War. Here she talks about her role, as spy and mother Anna. What initially attracted you to the role of Anna? I really wanted to work with Pete Travis (director) because I’d seen Omagh and Endgame and I thought he was a really amazing director. I also felt it was interesting to see a woman situated in a 1970s Cold War espionage piece which doesn’t often happen - especially a woman who is a mother and a wife. How would you describe Anna? I think she is somebody who is very emotionally in check, she probably does everything very competently in her life. She’s very good at her job, an organised mother and well put together. I think she is compartmentalised which is why it’s attractive to her to meet someone with youthful hope and who has a rich emotional life. The fact Charles has been quietly devastated by what has happened to his father and the affect that has had on his relationship with him is attractive to her – because it shows he is alive inside and still has feelings. Yet when it comes to having a relationship with him the possibility that their life could involve mess and risk and change are not things she is really comfortable with - which is sad. Is being a spy an important part of her identity? Yes, I think one of the most significant lines I have is within a speech where my character says: “I am strap hanging on the tube and I know I’ve got a secret.” It is important for spies that they have status - they know things other people don’t know. That’s something that actors always want to have, they never want to be the person who doesn’t have the information - we hate playing stupid and you always want to resist it. You are always saying to the director, “maybe I do know on a deeper level,” to which they usually respond, “no you don’t.” So yes it is very important to her because it gives her an elevated status and a sense of control which I think it important to her.
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