December 14th, 2018   Author: admin   Interviews - News - The Long Song

“I’m doing things that go against my instincts as a person”

Hayley Atwell admitted that she felt “disgusting” playing such an execrable character in BBC One’s adaptation of Andrea Levy’s novel The Long Song, but that made it all the more important to inject “humanity” into the role.

The 36-year-old Agent Carter star plays Caroline Mortimer – a mistress who wields her power and status over a slave she plucks from her mother as a young child called July [played by Tamara Lawrance] during the final days of slavery in 19th century Jamaica.

Atwell says it would have been “reductive to play Caroline as a monster” and instead wanted to explore why Caroline did what she did, and what damage her systematic cruelty upon others ultimately did to her own soul.

“Caroline is so against my own value system and my own understanding but that was all the more reason that I wanted to put humanity in her,” the actress told Harper’s Bazaar UK at a screening for the series.

“Because it would be reductive to play her as a monster. That doesn’t give us anything, it doesn’t help us with the complex, intelligent question or conversation around it. I felt disgusting, and I felt gross but then I thought that’s how I’m meant to feel. I’m doing things going that against my instincts as a person.”

Atwell continued that Caroline didn’t really have much power or authority – despite being a sister of a plantation owner – and that her bullying behaviour is down to her own “insecurity and cowardice”

“Caroline has nothing that gives her any independent identity…. She gets a sense that the slaves are smarter than she is, and they know something about her that she doesn’t know about herself and therein lies how pathetic and almost endearing and awful she is,” she explained.

“It’s very textbook, I think, that bullying that comes from insecurity and cowardice, and where she tries to assert this authority that she doesn’t really have. I wanted to explore the psychological damage or the damage done to one’s psyche, when that person inflicts damage on someone else you think, ‘I bet she can’t live in her one skin’. She’s crawling in self-loathing.”

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September 26th, 2018   Author: admin   The Long Song

Hayley Atwell and Sir Lenny Henry will star in a TV adaptation of Andrea Levy’s bestselling novel The Long Song, the BBC has announced.

The three-part series will also star Tamara Lawrance and Jack Lowden.

Set during the final days of slavery in 19th-century Jamaica, the story follows the strong-willed young slave July, played by Lawrance.

Atwell plays the odious plantation owner Caroline Mortimer, while Lowden appears as Robert Goodwin, the charming new overseer who is determined to improve the plantation for the slaves and mistress alike.

Henry will play Godfrey in the BBC One series, which has been adapted by Sarah Williams from Levy’s book, and will be directed by Mahalia Belo.

The Long Song was shortlisted for the 2010 Man Booker prize and was the recipient of the 2011 Walter Scott prize.

Lawrance, who previously appeared in King Charles III and Undercover, said of her character July: “She relishes mutiny with wit and courage; finding ways to win in spite of her circumstances. She also rings true to Jamaica’s national heroes – Nanny, Paul Bogle and Sam Sharpe – who, by standing up for their own humanity, shifted world history.

“I believe stories like these illuminate the legacy of slavery in relation to where we are today. It’s all still relevant!”

Also joining the cast are the EastEnders actor Dona Croll, The Boy With the Topknot star Sharon Duncan-Brewster and Ayesha Antoine. [Source]

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