Recommended second chance
Anne-Marie Duff plays a hairdresser who bravely defies gangsters on a housing estate in Jimmy McGovern’s hard-hitting series. Here, the former Shameless star discusses her episode.
Is this the kind of drama that makes you think, ‘What would I do in this situation?’
Well, that’s the point – in a way – of the whole series. You get to see people who you either empathise or identify with, or people that you know very little about, but you are still forced to examine what it is to be in their shoes. That’s why Jimmy is such a clever writer.
He does create fantastic dilemmas, doesn’t he?
Oh God, yes, but he’s lucky with Accused, because they’re co-written [he worked with playwright Carol Cullington on Anne-Marie’s episode]. They’ve come up with scenarios he might not have investigated.
Have you worked with Jimmy before?
No, I haven’t actually. I was so in awe when I met him at the read-through. He’s just someone who I’ve grown up with. There are not many writers of his ilk about. Well, I’m sure there are, but they’re not regularly commissioned. So as an actor you’re very lucky to work them. Writers and musicians – they’re always the people I get most star-struck around.
Your co-star is Twenty Twelve and Rev. actress Olivia Colman. How did you create your on-screen friendship?
Luckily, we bonded quite quickly. We immediately had a good rapport, and we didn’t have to work at it too much. The schedule was very tight, but it just meant that we had to work very quickly together, which forces you to engage.
When you’re dealing with such a sad story, is there quite a sombre atmosphere on set?
I’m not so sure. It just depends. Each set is very different, because every director is very different. Some sets are terribly quiet and serious, and some directors have more raucous sets, and that’s also defined by the kind of story you’re telling, weirdly.
David Blair is an amazing director, and he takes every moment very seriously, but we also had good giggle. I think that’s kind of a necessity when you’re telling serious stories, otherwise it can become too ponderous. It’s important that you keep it lively and keep the energy up.
You married your former Shameless co-star James McAvoy in 2006, but he has since become a Hollywood star. What’s it been like witnessing that?
Dude, I’m just married to the man I’m married to. And that’s who I have in the house. I don’t have anyone else in the house.
When you’re relaxing at home, do you discuss your work? Or do you tend not talk about it?
I think if you had two doctors in the house, they’d talk shop, so it’s inevitable. But ultimately, you choose a job because the writing is amazing or the director is interesting – you know, those kinds of things govern my decisions for work. So I’m lucky.