INTERVIEW: Joanne Froggatt on her challenging lead role in ‘LIAR’ | CROOKES MAGAZINE
Having now played two TRAUMATIZED CHARACTERS back-to-back, Joanne Froggatt has taken a FEARLESS approach in taking on challenging roles.
Off the back of her three Emmy nominations and Golden Globe win for her role in the acclaimed historical drama ‘Downton Abbey’, Joanne Froggatt returns to centre stage in ‘Liar’ — a six-part miniseries in which she takes plays a victim of sexual abuse searching for the truth.
Anyone familiar with ‘Downton Abbey’ will know that Froggatt similarly portrayed a victim of sexual abuse in that as well. I spoke to her about the preparation and the challenges that came with her performance in ‘Liar’.
‘Liar’ is written by the acclaimed writing brothers — Harry & Jack Williams (‘The Missing, ‘Fleabag’). Joanne described their script to me as “fantastic”, but said that as actors, they had a lot of “freedom”. “We had a lot of freedom, with our first block director James Strong and our second block director Sam Donovan, to change things up a little and improvise certain parts of certain scenes, so the filming process felt very collaborative and creative.”
With the intense subject matter that the series covers, I was interested to know what her dynamic with Ioan Gruffudd — who plays her suspected rapist — was like on-set. “Luckily Ioan and I got on brilliantly, as did the rest of the cast and crew. It felt like a really tight knit, supportive set. I think we needed it to be, because of the intense nature of the scenes”.
Joanne was clear that she took on the role, she wanted to prepare for the tough role as best she could.
“I did quite a lot of research. I watched a lot of documentaries and spoke to a counsellor. With any character, you have to make sense of their behaviour and emotions in your own head, and why they may act in a certain way”.
AC: Initially, how many scripts were you given to read?
JF: I initially only read the first episode, before accepting the role, but I did know where the storyline was going. That was the first question I asked! By the time we started filming, we had the first 3 episodes with the final 3 following shortly afterwards. As I say, we all knew how the story was going to unfold but there were still so many surprises in Jack and Harry’s scripts.
AC: You’ve now played two characters who have been subject to sexual violence, if the opportunity to play third came about, would you be hesitant?
At the moment, I would be hesitant because as an actor you want to constantly show your versatility, that’s what keeps work interesting and challenging. However, it would totally depend on the project, the timing and the circumstances.
AC: Harry and Jack Williams’ ‘Rellik’ has been airing at the same time as ‘Liar’ on a different channel, have you been watching any of ‘Rellik’?
JF: I haven’t had a chance to watch it yet, but I have it all recorded on my Sky planner, so I’m going to binge watch it one weekend.
AC: It’s been announced that there will be a second season of ‘Liar’. Who would you like to see join the cast?
JF: Yes, it’s been confirmed that we will be doing a second season of Liar. I’m so thrilled that it has been so well received. I’m not sure who I’d like to see join the cast. I think we have a fantastic cast and a fantastic range of characters who have a lot more to reveal, but who knows, I’m certain Jack and Harry will surprise us all.
AC: What are your ambitions as an actor?
JF: To keep doing work that I’m proud of and that I enjoy, and to produce some of my own projects.
You can now catch Joanne Froggatt in ‘Liar’ on ITV Player. Also, you can watch it in America on Sundance TV.
Photography — Joseph Sinclair
Styling — Angie Smith
Make up — Justine Jenkins
Hair — Narad Kutowaroo using Unite Hair
Interview — Adam Crookes