On October 30, Jenna Coleman attended the the Harper’s Bazaar Women Of The Year Awards 2018 held at the Claridge’s Hotel in London – where she was honored with the TV Actress award, hailed by her former Doctor Who co-star Peter Capaldi :
With outstanding appearances in Doctor Who, Victoria and the haunting drama The Cry, Jenna Coleman has established herself as a leading lady of the small screen.
Jenna looked terrific in a maxi dress, which featured blue lace embroidery with bedded details throughout by Mary Katrantzou.
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Jenna Coleman has lifted the lid on the “complex narrative” of BBC psychological thriller The Cry. The former Doctor Who star also revealed, in an interview with Deadline, that she’s looking forward to not “wearing a maternity bra” in her next role as she prepares to star alongside Sally Field in a stage version of Arthur Miller’s All My Sons.
In The Cry, which just finished its run on BBC One, where it was the British public broadcaster’s second best new drama this year, Coleman plays Joanna, a mother who faces the glare of public scrutiny after a deeply personal trauma involving her young child.
The four-part series, which is produced by Synchronicity Films, is told in a non-linear fashion, jumping from her and her husband Alistair, played by Top of the Lake: China Girl star Ewen Leslie being in Australia, to flashbacks about their initial romance.
She told Deadline, “For everybody across the production from costume to continuity, it’s the most complex narrative because you have to always keep the linear version in your head as well as the non-linear and the psychological thriller aspects. So, you have to play the truth of what you know as the story but how and what you reveal and how you play the truth of that emotion has to be perceived in numerous eventualities of the story and we didn’t film it in order either.”
It is based on Helen FitzGerald’s book. “The ending is on page one of the book so we’re telling people to buy the book but to read it after,” she added.
Synchronicity Films’ Founder and Creative Director Claire Mundell, who exec produced the series, said the show was developed over four years with Jacquelin Perske adapting. “We’ve taken the essence of the book and the ending and there’s a few surprises in there. We spent a lot of time talking about what is the order of this story because we need to take the audience on a journey; we need to get to know these characters, understand them and find out how they came together but then it’s a thriller and it’s all about what you reveal and when,” she added.
Victoria star Coleman said she initially read the scripts on a plane, fitting given that some of the key initial scenes in the show feature on an airplane, and was drawn to the complicated characters. “So much of episode one is about being a new mother in such an unflinchingly honest way but the story then takes on such a different psychological element. I also feel each episode is its own thing; the disintegration of Joanna’s psychology and then being in the camera lens of the media. It feels really dense. Even with the post-natal depression at the beginning, we then go into traumatic stress and as it unravels you understand more and more, but to have someone at the edge of such emotion and unimaginable circumstances but has to suppress it means that it feels like every scene is at breaking point.”
Coleman, who is represented by UTA and Troika, admitted that she initially felt miscast in the role as she didn’t have children herself. “Fundamentally, everything for Joanna is the connection between her and her child, even when the child goes missing, everything is about the umbilical cord and the pressure I put on myself to be really access the truth of that and that’s not something [I’ve got].”
The show is set to launch on Sundance Now in the U.S. later this year. “We’re really excited about the U.S launch and I think Sundance is the right home, particularly because of the way the show is directed by Glendyn Ivin, who is a film director, who has a very filmic sensibility and it looks like top notch home.”
Up next for Coleman is Arthur Miller’s All My Sons alongside Sally Field, Bill Pullman and Colin Morgan next April. The adaptation is being directed by Jeremy Herrin. “I’m excited; it’s far enough away not to feel the fear. I’ve been looking for a while for the right [stage] part and it’s such an ensemble thing. It’s playing within veneer; it’s all coded. It’s something that is presented with so much simmering underneath and that will be really interesting to explore.”
Coleman, who has been regularly pregnant on ITV period drama Victoria, admitted that she’s looking forward to not playing a mother in her next small screen role. “I’d love to not wear a maternity bra in my next role; I’ve run out of labor noises,” she said. “After Doctor Who, the idea of doing something sci-fi [didn’t appeal] and then I wanted to do The Cry after Victoria because it was so so different. I think when the scripts come and where they catch you in your life and what you’ve been doing. It feels like an incredibly rich time in TV to try and can wait out for those good roles.”
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.”
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.
Check the pictures in our gallery!
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On June 19, Jenna Coleman attended the Serpentine Summper Party 2018 at The Serpentine Gallery in London, England.
Also were at the annual celebrity soirée Ellie Goulding, Kaya Scodelario, Princess Eugenie, Princess Beatrice, Natalie Dormer and among others. The Serpentine Summper Party was hosted by Chanel
Jenna was wearing a cream-coloured jumpsuit by Chanel Resort 2018 which featured a stunning overlay of embellished detailing a matching clutch, as well as a pair of sky-high gold heels.
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Public Appearances > 2018 > Jun 19 │Serpentine Summer Party 2018