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adminOctober 27, 2018

Wonderland Magazine

Allow me to introduce the “impossible girl”. She’s visited hundreds of galaxies with a Time Lord and ruled the British Empire, dealt with dukes and Daleks (I’ll leave you to decide which are worse), but right now the most impossible thing she’s facing is trying to find somewhere to chat to me on the phone without cracking up the people around her. “Sorry!” She laughs when we finally connect. “You just caught me in the car with my driver and I knew he’d just giggle at everything I’m saying!

Of course, the girl in question is Jenna Coleman, who obtained the tagline from her role as the Eleventh Doctor’s companion in the beloved BBC series Doctor Who. Accompanying both Matt Smith and Peter Capaldi, Jenna rose to fame as Clara Oswald, the witty school teacher with the ability to charm alien life forms in numerous universes.

The chance to escape to different worlds has always appealed to Jenna and exploring alternate realities is what first made her want to get into acting. “I remember reading Enid Blyton and loads of books and their worlds becoming very vivid in my head,” she recalls. “I just remember being really, really young and for some reason it always just felt very simple. Acting was always what I wanted to do, it was more the ‘how’ that was always the more complicated thing.

Putting in the hard work to make the “how” happen, Jenna scored her first role in Emmerdale in 2005, before getting the coveted companion role in 2012. Stepping into such a popular fandom was initially quite intimidating, but Jenna has since established a legacy as one of the most adored of the Doctor’s partners (soz, Martha). “I’ve never done anything where you’re the only new cog in a very oiled machine,” she explains. “It’s like you’re literally the only newbie on your own, which is quite a strange thing. You kind of have to hop onto a train that’s already full-speed ahead.”Rapping up her final season as Clara, Jenna was thrust straight into yet another world. This time: Victorian England. Taking on the starring role as Queen Victoria in the acclaimed ITV series Victoria, it was a bit of an adjustment from a Cyberman fighting sidekick. “I had like three weeks to prep so it was a really hard one actually,” she remembers. “And there was so much research material!”Doing her homework, Jenna dove into Queen Vic’s diaries to try and get into the mindset of a young woman entrusted with ruling an entire empire. “There’s so much that people think they know about her,” she tells me. “You’ve got the diaries, you’ve got the historical biographies. You’re taking someone that we all think we know so well and we know so iconically from portraits and history. I’m just trying to really get behind that and bring her to life – really peel away the layers and get to know her. It was a challenge but I also love it.” She laughs. “I didn’t think I liked her at first! I love her, but I don’t always like her. What’s amazing is that now we’re a couple of series in, I can keep going back and reading her diaries. I feel like I keep getting to her more and more and she’s a bit of a companion now.

Currently heading into their third series, Jenna’s brief break from resuming Victoria filming wasn’t as relaxing as one might expect. Heading to Australia in February, instead of having some well-deserved chill time on the sunny beaches, she got straight into her most challenging role yet.

Starring in the BBC’s upcoming psychological thriller The Cry, Jenna plays the lead role of Joanna, a young mother who travels to Australia with her newborn son and slightly shitty husband amidst a custody battle over her husband’s daughter from a previous marriage. Once they’ve landed, all seems to be going okay when suddenly her life is thrown into disarray after her son disappears. Based on the Helen Fitzgerald novel of the same name, if you’ve watched the trailer, you’ll know that it’s destined to be one of those shows that’ll have you glued to your television screen, barely breathing, with twists and turns that will leave you speechless.

Shooting between Oz and Glasgow, it’s set to come out on September 30th, filling that inevitable Bodyguard-shaped hole within our lives. Quite a difficult filming process, the show runs on two different timelines − one taking place when the baby goes missing and the other in the present day at a trial, although “a trial for what?” is a question I’m yet to learn the answer to. “We kept calling it ‘going down the vortex’ because you’re shooting all these timelines and obviously it’s a psychological thriller so there are certain aspects of what you can give away and when.Jenna explains. “There’s a certain version which kind of keeps everyone at arm’s length a little bit, so you’re never giving too much away at once.” She pauses. “This will all make sense once you’ve seen it, but, oh my god, in terms of playing it, it was the most narratively complicated job I’ve ever done!

Not only were the timelines hard to grasp at first, but Jenna originally found her role quite struggling too. “I had real issues with the idea of playing a mother with issues. That would be fundamentally something that I maybe wouldn’t be able to do justice because I’m not a mother,” she discloses. “It was hugely challenging. But to be honest, a lot of my friends have got new babies and a couple of them sent me the most incredible emails. I spoke with them and got really amazing, and searingly honest, details about the realities of being a new mum. It’s the most beautiful thing in the world, but just because it’s so beautiful it doesn’t mean it doesn’t come without questions about your own identity and loneliness. I think it was a really interesting way to explore post-natal depression in a way that I don’t feel I have ever really seen very much on the screen.

Her portrayal of a struggling mother is, at many times, difficult to watch. In the first episode, she’s on the 24-hour-long flight to Australia, screaming baby in arms, husband fast asleep, getting disapproving looks from other passengers as she frantically tries to settle her son. It’s a moment that I’m sure many have been a part of, I know that I’ve given my fair share of eye rolls to crying children on flights before, and it’s this aspect that The Cry wants to tap into. “It has a lot of questions,Jenna muses. “It questions our society about the pressures on new mums. But also the pressure of the media, and how media can spin a version of the truth.

The latter is in response to the “whodunnit” aspect of the show, the twist in the first episode which leads you to believe that maybe the baby hasn’t only gone missing. “I guess it’s the funny thing of going through one of the most extreme emotional experiences of your life at the same time as being under this media scrutiny,Jenna details. “Those two things coinciding and happening at once is really quite an interesting angle to look at psychologically. And an interesting story to tell.

Who do you think did it?” She asks, cueing me to launch into the various theories that are spinning around in my mind. Is it too obvious to be the ex-wife? Or how about the struggling young mum? Maybe it’s the husband’s daughter who is secretly jealous of her dad moving on and creating a new life? Maybe it’s someone else altogether? “That’s what I felt like reading it!” She laughs. “I felt like I didn’t quite know what was going on. It was leading me in different directions and I just kept turning the page!

What’s not up for debate though, is the fact that Jenna is breathtaking in the show and her portrayal is sure to get her even more critical acclaim. For the “impossible girl”, it really seems like she can do anything.

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adminFebruary 20, 2018

BBC MEDIA CENTRE – Filming in Scotland and Australia and directed by Glendyn Ivin (Safe Harbour, Gallipoli, The Beautiful Lie), The Cry is the first scripted television commission for Scottish-based production company Synchronicity Films.

Joanna (Coleman) and her husband Alistair (Leslie), travel with their baby from Scotland to Australia to see Alistair’s mother, Elizabeth (Gonet) and to fight for custody of Alistair’s daughter Chloe (Kavenagh) against his Australian ex-wife Alexandra (Keddie). However, when they arrive in Australia, Joanna and Alistair are forced to face an unthinkable tragedy that changes their lives and their marriage forever. It is the catalyst for a journey into the disintegrating psychology of a young woman, exposing the myths and truths of motherhood.

Elizabeth Kilgarriff, BBC Drama Senior Commissioning Editor, and Gaynor Holmes, BBC Drama Commissioning Executive, say: “We’re very excited to have started filming in Australia and to have such an incredible array of Australian talent joining Jenna and Ewen, topped off with some of Scotland’s most accomplished actors. Watching them bring Helen FitzGerald’s gripping, page-turner novel and Jacquelin Perske’s wonderful scripts to life is a joy and we can’t wait for BBC One audiences to see The Cry.”

Claire Mundell, Executive Producer for Synchronicity Films, says: “I am delighted to have such a talented cast joining Jenna, Ewen and the team. It’s so exciting to have such brilliant Scottish actors as Stella and Sophie joining our absolutely stellar Australian cast Asher, Alex, Markell and Shareena and to tell this thrilling story which spans the two countries. The start of shooting marks an incredible moment for our company as we start production on what is a truly international drama with Scottish roots. We could not be more thrilled to be shooting the show in the incredible Australian light of Melbourne, and contrasting that with the beautiful West End of Glasgow.”

The Cry is a 4×60’ drama written by Jacquelin Perske. The drama will be produced by Brian Kaczynski and Executive Produced by Claire Mundell for Synchronicity Films and Elizabeth Kilgarriff and Gaynor Holmes for BBC One. The Cry is currently being filmed in and around Melbourne and Glasgow with the support of Film Victoria and Creative Scotland. DRG hold the distribution rights. Stuart Menzies and December Media are the local Australian producer and ABC is the Australian broadcaster.

adminFebruary 19, 2018

VARIETY – Jenna Coleman will return to her role as British monarch “Victoria” after ITV and PBS Masterpiece greenlit a third season of the royal drama. Coleman plays the young Queen Victoria opposite Tom Hughes as Prince Albert, and who also returns for Season 3, which will continue to follow the life of the monarch and her family and the events of the day.

The second series followed Victoria from her accession to the throne to her marriage to Prince Albert. The show was created by Daisy Goodwin, who revealed the setting for the next outing. “Series three will start in 1848 which was a hugely dramatic and eventful time for both the royal family and Europe, with revolutions on the continent and uncertainty around the monarchy. Viewers can expect more drama than ever before in the third series,” she said Tuesday.

The show has fared well on ITV in the U.K. with Season 2 garnering a 25% audience share. It is sold internationally by the broadcaster’s distribution arm, ITV Studios Global Entertainment, which has done deals in 150 territories for the show.

It is produced by ITV-backed Mammoth Screen. Company managing director Damien Timmer said: “Jenna Coleman and Tom Hughes shine as Victoria and Albert and it’s an honor to have them back for a third series, which covers a tumultuous period in our country’s history, filled to the brim with royal scandals, political skirmishes and constitutional crises, as new historical figures enter the saga to challenge Victoria and Albert as never before.”

“Victoria” is a co-production with Masterpiece on PBS, with PBS’ Rebecca Eaton among the executive producers. The new season was commissioned by ITV’s head of drama, Polly Hill, who said: “Filled with romance, political crises and family drama, Daisy Goodwin’s scripts bring this fascinating part of history to life so vividly and we look forward to regaling audiences with the next part of the illustrious queen’s reign.”

adminJanuary 17, 2018

Jenna Coleman (Victoria, Doctor Who) and Ewen Leslie (Safe Harbour, Top of the Lake) star in The Cry, a four-part thrilling, psychological BBC One drama written by Jacquelin Perske, adapted from the novel by Helen FitzGerald.
Filming in Scotland and Australia and directed by Glendyn Ivin (Safe Harbour, Gallipoli, The Beautiful Lie), The Cry is the first scripted television commission for Scottish-based production company Synchronicity Films.

On being cast in The CryJenna Coleman says: “I first read Jacquelin Perske’s script on a plane, it felt like walking a tightrope, racing page to page, unsettling, unknowable, uncomfortable, and thrilling. I look forward to tackling this challenge and bringing it to the screen with such a talented team in Glendyn Ivin, Brian Kaczynski and Claire Mundell with Synchronicity Films and the BBC.”

Ewen Leslie says: “From Helen FitzGerald’s addictive and exciting novel, to Jacquelin Perske’s beautifully written scripts, I’m absolutely thrilled to be a part of the amazing team that has been formed to bring these complicated characters and thrilling story to the screen. Synchronicity Films have a great track record in producing high quality drama and Glendyn Ivin is without a doubt one of the most exciting directors working today. I’m over the moon that they’ve asked me to join this amazing project.”

Joanna (Coleman) and her husband Alistair (Leslie) deal with unthinkable tragedy under the white light of public scrutiny and in their private lives when their newborn baby is abducted from a small coastal town in Australia – changing their lives and their marriage forever. It is the catalyst for a journey into the disintegrating psychology of a young woman, exposing the myths and truths of motherhood.

Claire Mundell, Executive Producer for Synchronicity Films, says: “We couldn’t be more excited to have Jenna and Ewen as our lead cast, and to be bringing this emotional rollercoaster of a story to BBC and international audiences. I’m honoured that Synchronicity’s first scripted commission for BBC Drama is Helen FitzGerald’s Scottish-Australian page turner The Cry, brought to the screen by the combined talents of writer Jacquelin Perske and director Glendyn Ivin.”

Piers Wenger, Controller of BBC Drama, says: “The Cry is an intense, psychological thriller which constantly surprises and I know that with the fantastic Jenna Coleman and Ewen Leslie leading the cast as the young couple thrown into haunting and exceptional circumstances, this will be a truly unmissable series for BBC One.”

The Cry is a 4×60’ drama written by Jacquelin Perske. The drama will be produced by Brian Kaczynski and Executive Produced by Claire Mundell for Synchronicity Films and Elizabeth Kilgarriff and Gaynor Holmes for BBC One. The Cry will be shot in and around Melbourne and Glasgow with the support of Film Victoria and Creative Scotland and DRG hold the distribution rights.

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adminJanuary 14, 2017


adminJanuary 13, 2017

The first season of the eight-part drama series Victoria (which has already been picked up for a second season), airing on Masterpiece on PBS, follows the young Queen Victoria (Jenna Coleman) from her accession to the throne as a very young and vulnerable 18-year-old, through her education in politics, courtship and marriage. It is the story of a monarch who was raised to be the pawn of her powerful elders, but who wasted no time in voicing her own opinion and taking charge in her own way, as she learned what it meant to be the most powerful woman in the world.

During this 1-on-1 interview with Collider, actress Jenna Coleman (Doctor Who) talked about her first time playing someone real, what she did to prepare for the role, what she loves most about Queen Victoria, understanding what it must have been like to be in a position like this, the huge journey she gets to take with the role, and what having been a part of the much beloved Doctor Who means to her, personally and professionally.

Collider: What’s it been like to take on Queen Victoria?

Image via PBS

JENNA COLEMAN: I’ve never played anybody real before. It’s always been fiction that you can research through a book or whatever has been adapted, but nothing that’s really happened. There’s so much to access. It’s history and it’s interesting reading from biography to biography because the voices are very different and it can be so subjective. I just read a range. (Show Creator) Daisy [Goodwin ] gave me a bit list of stuff to read, to try to get an idea of her character. 

 

 

Can you imagine what it must have been like to be in a position like this while being so young? That must have been so crazy!

COLEMAN: Daisy was having a conversation with her daughter and turned around and looked at her and thought, “Wow, could you imagine if you became the most powerful woman in the room tomorrow? You’re a teenager!” The thing about Victoria is that she was extremely obstinate and stubborn, by all accounts. Lord Melbourne said, “The Queen only tends to think forwards. Once she’s made up her mind, there is no unearthly power that will make her go ‘round.” It’s that stubbornness and that will that made her who she was. Otherwise, being an 18-year-old in that position, I can’t begin to imagine. She’d never really spent any time by herself or spent a night in a room by herself or had been in a room alone with a man before, and she was becoming the most powerful woman in the world and had to navigate Parliament. When you put it into context, it is an extraordinary story.

Do you think the fact that she didn’t seem to know or care about how she was supposed to behave is what helped people like her?

COLEMAN: Yeah, and it’s one of the things I love most about her. None of the way she’s supposed to behave and the uniform of her life has squashed her lust for life, regardless of growing up in the Kensington system. I find that really amazing about her. Also, she’s so unapologetically herself. She’s flawed, in that way, but I think it’s what makes her really human. It’s really interesting to play because she’s so inconsistent. She’s so many things. She can be quite childish and frivolous, at times, and emotional, but other times, she’s like the wisest person in the world, way above her years. She was tempestuous and she was known for violent outbursts when she was younger, but she was incredibly romantic and with a big heart. She was very loyal to her servants. She was such a multitude of things, so trying to play that inconsistency of her character and also be unapologetically flawed yet likeable has been interesting to navigate. It’s all really, really fun to play. I keep watching Judi Dench’s Mrs. Brown. That’s what Daisy said she thinks is the most accurate performance of the Victoria she has studied and read. It’s interesting to think, “Okay, that’s the Victoria in 40 years time. That’s where we’re headed.” That way, you can get the essence, but she’s a lot younger and she’s very vibrant. She’s been through a lot, but you can see where she’s headed to, in a way.

Did it ever get totally overwhelming playing someone like this, especially with all of the emotional ups and downs?

Image via PBS

Image via PBS

COLEMAN: Yeah. I always want more time. You want more time to shoot, but you have to just roll with the punches. You do as much prep as you can, and then you throw it all away, get on set, and see what happens and what the other actors bring ‘cause that changes everything. You get as prepared as you can be, but then you have to be willing to fuck it all up. Peter Capaldi probably taught me that the most. You just want to keep it alive, and hopefully, if you’ve prepped well enough, that’s there. It’s interesting because there’s such growth in this series. We really start at a place where she’s really, really young and really vulnerable and uncertain, and then we really see her grow into Queen and that role of command. You’ll see her fall in love and go through the coronation, and get pregnant and become a mother. The arc of the series is one of huge growth, and of becoming more and more Victoria, as we go on.

What was it like for you to go from fighting aliens to ruling a kingdom? Did it feel equally daunting?

COLEMAN: It’s just different ways of working. It’s interesting, working on the voice was something I felt a lot of pressure on, in particular. It’s trying to get the sense of someone who’s younger yet regal, and that doesn’t distance, but is really accessible. I thought Emily Blunt did an amazing job in Young Victoria. There wasn’t really a day on set that wasn’t huge. You’ve got these journals that she’s written in, that tell you how she felt on the day. It just felt like you could shoot it as a feature film, but we were shooting in for TV, and we just wanted to get the detail. There is so much detail and you move through it all so fast. There’s so much wealth in all of the moment and you want to capture that.

What was it like to put on the clothes and the contacts, be on these sets, and have people call you, “Your Majesty”?

COLEMAN: Alastair Bruce, who worked on Downton Abbey a lot, comes in and talks about protocol, and he was like, “Look, when you’re in a position like this, you never play the power. It’s just inherent that it’s there. It’s about the way people respond to you, rather than you trying to project a certain status.” I think that, if you have that status, you don’t need to. He was really useful. He said, “It’s the people around you that make you Queen by their reaction to you, but you’ve got nothing to prove.” She’s an inexperienced 18-year-old girl, going through everything that an 18-year-old girl goes through, at the same time that you’re navigating ruling and being the most powerful woman in the world. She was 4’11” and 18 years old, and so openly passionate. It’s fascinating. 

Did you ever put yourself in her shoes and wonder if you could have stepped into a role like that, at 18 years old?

COLEMAN: Yeah, and the answer is resolutely no. Her mother told her that she had to sign a regency to give up her power until she turned 21, and she just said no. She was about to become the Queen of England and her mother was telling her to do this, and she said no. She was a force of nature, and she remained that way. People just see these images of her, but by all accounts, she loved to laugh. Her humor was so apparent. She was very sociable, she had a love of opera and music, and she used to paint all of the dramatic scenes of the opera. It really captured her imagination.

You were one of the longest running Companions on Doctor Who. What was that experience like for you? Do you feel like it really made you grow, as an actor?

COLEMAN: Yeah, it really did. It’s such a different way of working. It’s such a unique show and a unique beast, in itself. Every two weeks, it’s so different, and you’re playing an over-arching character. It’s the relationships with Matt [Smith] and Peter [Capaldi] that made that job everything that it is, and what they taught me, as actors. They’re so uniquely wonderful and really amazing friends. I think I was very lucky to have fallen into the hands of both of them, and we’re really good friends today

Image via PBS

Victoria premieres on Masterpiece on PBS on January 15th.

adminDecember 2, 2016

Can you tell us a little bit about Shop Small and the role you play in helping small businesses?

I’m supporting Amex’s Shop Small campaign to encourage people to ‘shop small’ in the lead-up to Christmas in particular. And helping to shine a light on some my favourite independent shops.

Why do you think Small Business Saturday is such an important cause to support?

I think it’s important to encourage the creativity and individualism that small shops offer. I love to spend my Saturdays stumbling across a new independent store and finding an upcoming designer to offer something new for the home or for an individual gift. Also, the personal customer service, in your local coffee shop for example. I think variety and individualism is the key and one of things I adore so much about living in London.

How would you encourage people to support small businesses in their everyday lives?

It’s all about discovery, and finding those smaller, one-of-a-kind shops and taking enjoyment from it. It’s simple. I’ve really enjoyed sharing my tips and ‘finds’.

What was the first record you ever bought?

Cher, ‘The Shoop Shoop Song’ or Johnny Nash, ‘I Can See Clearly Now’.

What is your favourite film?

Hardest question ever, but I love classics like Bringing Up Baby, Betty Blue and Little White Lies. I am a big fan of Damien Chazelle too.

What do you have an irrational fear of?

Rollercoasters. Ironic after growing up in Blackpool.

What is your favourite childhood book?

Black Beauty strikes a chord. Alongside Enid Blyton’s The Wishing-Chair.

What is your signature dance move?

All about the hands. And a slight hip bob.

What surprises people about you?

That I am indeed of Scottish/English descent

Who was the first actress you were inspired by?

Maxine Peake at the Royal Exchange Theatre in Manchester, where I used to go on school trips.

What was a book that changed your life?

East of Eden, I remember reading the section about ‘Thou Mayest’ and finding it pretty profound wherever I was in my life at that point. Recently, I adored Donna Tartt’s Goldfinch, it felt very ‘big’.

What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?

I was in Bali with a taxi driver and he was trying to explain his life philosophy through a language barrier and it came out as “making easy”. I love the simplicity of this. I also read a Ricky Gervais quote on Instagram today which was: “No one else knows that they’re doing either”, which gives me immense comfort.

What are you most proud of?

I am proud that all my girlfriends from school have maintained such close friendships for 16 years now, through school, university, moving to London, working in totally different fields, life moving in different directions and now entering our 30s together.

What are the skincare products you can’t live without?

Bioderma, Su-Man toner, Linda Meredith Q3, Sisley Black Rose mask, [which is] especially good for a flight.

What is your signature scent?

Acqua di Parma Ginepro Di Sardegna.

What is the best beauty tip you’ve ever been given?

Ice your face for two minutes after cleansing – the cheapest and most powerful trick. It also wakes you up.

How do you keep in shape?

I really believe in functional medicine and try to put a lot of vitamins into my body. I switch between yoga and jogging, As of recent, a bit of horse-riding too. 


Who is your beauty icon?

Keira Knightley. I think she has such a Romantic grace about her.