Jodie Comer: ‘I felt I had to tread very carefully making Rillington Place’

​”It’s such a sensitive subject,” explains the Thirteen actress.

BBC One is tackling a real-life miscarriage of justice in new three-part drama Rillington Place.

It tells the story of Timothy Evans (Nico Mirallegro) – an innocent man falsely accused of the murders committed by his neighbour, John Christie (Tim Roth).

Jodie Comer (Thirteen, Doctor Foster) plays Evans’ wife Beryl and told Digital Spy that she “absolutely” felt a sense of responsibility in taking on the part.

“It’s such a sensitive subject,” she said. “I felt I had to tread very carefully – and I definitely felt a responsibility. There are families now still having to deal with what happened.

“For them to open up to us – to producers, to directors – and sit there and talk through and relive these moments again… I think it’s such a credit to them.”

It was the injustice of Evans’ story that appealed to Comer – and a desire that he and his wife not be forgotten.

“Every day in the newspapers, we’re just bombarded with awful events. It’s so easy to just forget these people and forget what happened to them. So I felt it was really important to tell this story.”

Roth is joined on-screen by Samantha Morton as Christie’s wife Ethel, while Comer was reunited with her My Mad Fat Diary co-star Mirallegro.

“It’s strange, because Nico and I had a lot of emotional scenes, which are always hard. But we both really understand how each other works, so it was actually very… I don’t think ‘fun’ is the word, but creatively it was really rewarding. We both pushed each other.

“We get on really well, so you’re not pussy-footing round. You can just tell each other how you’re feeling or if you want to try something different – we’re very open with each other, in that sense. I think it helped, just diving straight into it.”

Rillington Place begins on Tuesday at 9pm on BBC One.

Source: Digital Spy

Jodie Comer on Rillington Place

Jodie Comer on Rillington Place: ‘Oh, my God, these are real people and it actually happened’

The sunny Liverpudlian actress, who plays one of the victims of real-life serial killer John Christie in BBC1’s Rillington Place, is the go-to girl for traumatised young women

Comer plays serial killer victim Beryl Evans in BBC1’s Rillington Place about John Christie who murdered at least eight women, including his wife, in Notting Hill

“I’m quite a happy person,” says the 23-year-old actress Jodie Comer, with a warm and genuine laugh. We’d actually been speaking about her casting in Steven, an upcoming movie about the pre-stardom life of the “Pope of Mope”, Mancunian singer Morrissey, and how Comer enjoys listening to The Smiths, but her words might also be a rebuke to the way casting directors see her as either victim material – or, frankly, a bit of a bitch.

She was the latter in BBC1’s Bafta-winning hit of 2015, Doctor Foster, the younger “other woman” in the marriage of Suranne Jones’s cuckolded GP. And she was the victim in BBC3’s excellent Thirteen, a psychologically compelling drama, playing a 26-year-old woman who escapes the cellar in which she has been imprisoned for the past 13 years.

Now she’s playing the victim again, the real-life Beryl Evans in BBC1’s impressive new recreation of the life and crimes of John Christie, the serial killer who murdered at least eight women, including his wife, in the 1940s and early 1950s in Notting Hill. Beryl and her husband Timothy Evans were unfortunate enough to rent the upstairs flat from Christie at 10 Rillington Place – and Timothy was wrongly convicted and hanged for murdering Beryl and their two-year-old daughter, Geraldine.

Christie appeared as a witness for the prosecution at Evans’ trial, but later admitted to the killings and was himself hanged in 1953. This terrible miscarriage of justice had a large influence on the subsequent abolition of the death penalty, while Evans was granted a posthumous pardon and his conviction overturned.

“It’s the first role I’ve had where I felt a huge responsibility because I know these families still have to deal with what happened to loved ones,” says Comer. “It wasn’t that long ago, and then having to open up to producers and directors and relive it all again. Beryl’s niece came to set one day … I wasn’t there unfortunately so I couldn’t meet her … but I wouldn’t have known what questions to ask anyway. It’s such a delicate situation.”

Beryl Evans, pregnant with an unwanted second child, had been persuaded by Christie’s mendacious boasts of having trained as a doctor to allow him to perform an abortion on her, at a time when such an operation was illegal. He subsequently raped and strangled (or possibly the other way round) Beryl, disposing of her body in the garden shed – the garden itself being otherwise occupied by earlier victims.

“You never actually see the murder which I think is a good thing,” says Comer. “I always find with dramas that the more that’s left to the imagination of the audience the better.”

Indeed Rillington Place is interestingly structured, with its three episodes showing the crimes from the differing perspectives of (first) Christie’s wife Ethel (played by Samantha Morton), then of Timothy Evans, and finally of Christie himself – played with a soft Yorkshire accent and bald pate by Tim Roth, who manages to be chilling while suggesting the shambling gait of Woody Allen.

“I love Yorkshire accents and this has ruined them for me,” says Comer. “The thing I find the most unsettling about the character is that people weren’t terrified of him – they always say it’s the quiet ones or the nice ones.”

Roth, who is superb, was apparently unsure about taking the role, as was Richard Attenborough when approached to play Christie for Richard Fleischer’s 1971 film 10 Rillington Place – John Hurt’s breakthrough film, playing Timothy Evans (Judy Geeson portrayed Beryl). The reputation of that film, so much closer to the events – as well as the abolition of the death penalty in 1965, and the legalisation of abortion in 1967 – has grown over the years. “I watched it before I started filming,” says Comer. “You get lost in watching it and then you suddenly think, ‘Oh, my God, these are real people and it actually happened.’”

Filmed in Glasgow on authentically dingy sets, Rillington Place is a sharp corrective for anyone hankering after the mythical good old days. “The set was an exact replica, except the rooms were little bigger than they would have been,” says Comer. “Even these were so tiny, and when Nico and me were filming the space really played a part because it felt so claustrophobic… you couldn’t get away from each other.”

Nico Mirallegro and Comer share some intimate scenes, a potentially embarrassing process made easier by the fact that the two actors knew each other from My Mad Fat Diary, the E4 comedy in which Comer played the good-looking and popular best friend of Sharon Rooney’s main protagonist, Rae Earl, and Miraleggro played Rae’s boyfriend Finn.

“It’s so nice when you go on to a job and you’ve worked with someone before,” says Comer. “Especially if you’re playing a love interest and you have to have an ease with each other on screen.”

My Mad Fat Diary was Comer’s breakthrough role after the familiar rite of passage for budding television actors – Holby City, Doctors, Casualty – and which substituted for giving drama school a miss. And what many people may not realise, because she never gets to speak with her normal accent on screen, is that Comer was born in Liverpool, her father a masseur and her mother working for a transport company in the city. “There was one small Jimmy McGovern drama early on, but I now wonder whether I’ll ever get to use my real accent,” she says. “I don’t think many people want it, which is a shame.”

Comer first discovered her talent at the age of 13 when she won a competition at the now defunct Liverpool Drama Festival in which contestants had to recite a monologue – hers was about the Hillsborough disaster. This led to a part in a Radio 4 play being recorded at the city’s Everyman Theatre, and an agent.

If My Mad Fat Diary showcased a talent for comedy, then her role as the ambiguous kidnap victim Ivy Moxham in Thirteen was a revelation. “I so wanted and needed a role like that,” says Comer, who researched Ivy by reading about the real-life case of Natascha Kampusch, the Austrian woman kidnapped at the age of ten and who managed to escape eight years later.

“I kind of realised that I could never fully fathom what this girl has gone through,” says Comer. “But the book gave me more of an idea of the living conditions she’d been in, the abuse that she went through, how she counted time and all these little details you never think about.”

“Also Ness [Vanessa] Caswill, who directed the first block, she did a lot of physical rehearsals with me. She would tell me to close my eyes and imagine I’m in a dark room and he [the abductor] has turned the lights out and you have to work your way round the room and look for something you’re trying to find. You start feeling materials more, like the carpet, it was such a good exercise.”

By contrast, her role in the upcoming Morrissey biopic, Steven, sounds more cheerful, playing a fictional character called Christine, a composite of a group of girls who worked in the same Inland Revenue office in Manchester, and apparently annoyed the future pop star. “She doesn’t think before she speaks and she was quite narrow-minded,” says Comer of Christine. “And especially after doing Rillington Place and Thirteen, she was just so much fun.”

Before that, however, Comer had the title role in The White Princess, a sort of (but apparently not) sequel to the flop BBC history drama The White Queen, but this time produced by Starz network in the United States. Comer plays Elizabeth of York, contracted in a dynastic marriage to the first Tudor king, Henry VII. “It takes place just after the Battle of Bosworth Field and it follows Elizabeth and Henry’s marriage over a seven year period,” she says.

“I’d always wanted to do costume drama, but period dramas often become very wooden. Just because they’re born in the 1400s all of a sudden people start losing their sense of humour or their personalities.”

Currently filming the second series of Doctor Foster, in which she hopes her marriage-breaking character Kate will come across more sympathetically, Comer is then going to take a well-earned holiday in the sun – a girl’s holiday with her mum (she still lives with her parents in Liverpool) – and a chance to regain some colour after being so wan in The White Princess.

“I’ve still got my Tudor tan,” she laughs. “I wasn’t allowed to go in the sun for pretty much most of this year and I had to wear factor 50. I’m looking a bit lilac…”

Rillington Place starts on BBC1 on 29 November at 9pm

Source: Independent UK

Gallery Update: Photoshoots & Portraits

I’ve added more of 10 photoshoots and portraits of Jodie to the gallery. Enjoy!


GALLERY LINK
Photoshoots & Portraits > Headshots
Photoshoots & Portraits > Photoshoots from 2014 > Session #1
Photoshoots & Portraits > Photoshoots from 2015 > Session #1
Photoshoots & Portraits > Photoshoots from 2015 > Session #2
Photoshoots & Portraits > Photoshoots from 2016 > Session #3
Photoshoots & Portraits > Photoshoots from 2016 > Session #1
Photoshoots & Portraits > Photoshoots from 2016 > Session #3 – Donna Ida

‘Thirteen’ Doesn’t Need A Season 2, According To Jodie Comer

BBC America’s latest thriller series has come to a conclusion, though with only five episodes it may feel like it ended all too soon. Though while Thirteen will not have a Season 2, that’s probably for the best because it told a complete story, and that’s not a bad thing. In an interview with Bustle, the series’ star Jodie Comer talked about the show’s importance, working with a largely female crew, and what her hopes are for Ivy if, hypothetically, there was a Season 2.

“It’s weird,” Comer says, “I haven’t really thought about [Season 2] really, because I’ve always believed that the show should just have one [Season].” The show’s creator Marnie Dickens told RadioTimes that she always envisioned it as a complete, one season-long story. If it did continue, “I just want Ivy to be able to be comfortable with herself,” Comer posits, “and just to get back to grips with normalcy and finding her own self. Because it’s such a big change, and I think she really struggles with that. Just to be happy.”

She says that working with a female writer and a female director helped tell Ivy’s story as a formerly abducted women. It created a healthy environment that helped the subject matter. “If you had certain questions,” she says, “you weren’t afraid to bring those up.” Abducted women and their escape stories have become quite popular recently. However, Ivy’s story shouldn’t have reminded you of Room or Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt at all, really. For one thing, it’s a mystery.

“It starts from Ivy’s escape,” Comer says, “and it’s left up to the audience’s imagination what she’s gone through. People have to look at Ivy and see the way she’s behaving to make their own judgements about what she’s experienced. [Thirteen] also gives you a view as to what these people, not just what these people go through, but the consequences and the repercussions that it has on their family and friends and home life.” It didn’t focus on Ivy’s time in captivity, which is part of what drew the actress to the role in the first place.

While Thirteen may be over, you won’t be missing the actress for long. She’s starring in another series, The White Princess, on Starz. While Princess Elizabeth is different from Ivy (for one thing, Comer says she’s gone from 15 minutes in the makeup chair on Thirteen to two hours getting into period gowns for The White Princess), she’s still leading the charge on the show. Based on Thirteen, I think fans can be assured that The White Princess is in excellent hands.

Source: Bustle

Jodie Comer Boards Morrissey Biopic ‘Steven’

Jodie Comer has joined the cast of Steven, the Mark Gill-directed biopic of iconic British singer Morrissey. This film marks Comer’s big screen debut, following on from her eye-catching turn as the 22-year-old mistress/homewrecker in BBC’s ratings phenomenon Doctor Foster. She joins the previously announced Jack Lowden and Jessica Brown Findlay in the film.

The news comes on the heels of Comer landing the plum lead role The White Princess, the sequel to Starz’ War of the Roses historical TV drama The White Queen.

Gill has written the script with William Thacker, his collaborator on the 2014 Oscar-nominated short The Voorman Problem. HanWay is handling sales on the project which starts principal photography in April. Entertainment One has taken UK rights.

Comer most recently starred in Thirteen, the BBC Three/BBC America five-part drama about a young woman working her way back into society after being abducted. Comer played Ivy Moxham, who escaped from a cellar after thirteen years. The series explored how to pick up the threads of a life half-lived and how to survive as a family under great pressure.

Comer also established herself as one to watch with her performances in My Mad Fat Diary and most memorably in BBC One’s hugely successful series, Doctor Foster, where she was revealed to have been having a three-year-affair with the husband of her parents’ friend Doctor Foster, played by Suranne Jones. The series 1 finale drew in almost 10 million viewers in the UK.

Comer is repped by Independent Talent Group in the UK and ICM Partners in the U.S.

Source: Deadline

Jodie Comer Lands Lead Role In Starz Sequel ‘The White Princess’

Jodie Comer, best known for her turn as the 22-year-old mistress/homewrecker in BBC’s ratings phenomenon Doctor Foster, has landed the plum title role in The White Princess, the sequel to the acclaimed historical TV drama The White Queen. The series will be a Starz production, which will air it in the U.S. (The White Queen was a BBC/Starz collaboration).

The White Princess is the latest installment of Philippa Gregory’s Cousins’ War novels, chronicling the long-running War of the Roses. That’s the internecine 15th century conflict for control of the throne of England, fought between supporters of rival branches of the royal House of Plantagenet and the Houses of Lancaster and York. Not the 1989 divorce dramedy starring Michael Douglas and Kathleen Turner.

The White Princess continues the story beyond The White Queen, following the beautiful eldest daughter of Edward IV and Elizabeth Woodville – the White Queen – the young princess Elizabeth. She faces a conflict of loyalties between the red rose and the white. Forced into marriage with Henry VII, she must reconcile her slowly growing love for him with her loyalty to the House of York, and choose between her mother’s rebellion and her husband’s tyranny. Then she has to meet the Pretender, whose claim denies the House of Tudor itself.

Comer most recently starred in Thirteen, the BBC Three/BBC America five-part drama about a young woman working her way back into society after being abducted. Comer played Ivy Moxham, who escaped from a cellar after thirteen years. The series explored how to pick up the threads of a life half-lived and how to survive as a family under great pressure.

Comer also established herself as one to watch with her performances in My Mad Fat Diary and most memorably in BBC One’s hugely successful series, Doctor Foster, where she was revealed to have been having a three-year-affair with the husband of her parents’ friend Doctor Foster, played by Suranne Jones. The series 1 finale drew in almost 10 million viewers in the UK.

Comer is in good company with The White Princess. Her mother, the White Queen, was played to much acclaim by Rebecca Ferguson, who has since established herself as a bona fine leading lady with scene-stealing turns opposite Tom Cruise in Mission Impossible- Rogue Nation and scoring parts in The Snowman opposite Michael Fassbender and Life opposite Ryan Reynolds.

Comer is repped by Independent Talent Group and ICM Partners.

Source: Deadline