Tell us about your character, Connie?
Connie met Douglas 20 years ago. She was a young artist, a wild dreamer, and he was a young, enthusiastic scientist. She took refuge in his absolute undying love for her, and I think over the years she’s completely settled for a life that she never ultimately wanted.
Connie gave up her art and became more of a teacher. She ended up doing other things besides being the creative person she had set out to be. Ironically, I think her years with Douglas in a stable marriage gave her the self-confidence she never had and it’s quite tragic, as I think Douglas loving her has given her that courage to leave. It’s also very sad as nothing horrible has happened. They are very good friends, which makes it very complicated and difficult. We meet her in the story when her confidence has grown, but as a younger woman, when we see her during flashbacks, she had very little self-confidence.
Were there any particular difficulties in playing her as a character?
What was difficult about playing Connie was that the book is very much told from Douglas’s point of view. You have the character of Douglas talking about himself, his wife, his marriage, his relationship with his son and that’s the narrative. What David has done in the screenplay is give life to Connie, but there was a lot of space for me to interpret the character and fill her out in my own way because she hadn’t quite been mined in the same way as Douglas.
What attracted you to the project?
For a woman of my age, this is a fantastic part and it’s humorous and deeply moving. Getting to work with Tom Hollander too is amazing - he’s a remarkable actor and I can’t say it to his face as he won’t let me. The opportunity to work on a script like this with him was just fantastic and it was so nerve wracking to go to the audition! A lot of my friends knew of the book and I felt terribly lucky to be cast. When I mention it to people, I’m so heartened by their response and it’s so encouraging. By having David adapt his own book, you keep the same flavour and humour and it stays totally true to the characters.
Tell us about filming in all the different locations.
The landscape of the story is so fantastic, we go from London and all around Europe. It was wonderful to film in these extraordinary locations. I’m excited to watch it as it will be fantastic to see these beautiful cities that we filmed in. I know Amsterdam, Paris and Barcelona very well. It’s so lovely to film on location, you can immerse yourself in the whole story and don’t have to work very hard in terms of imagination.
What makes Us different from other relationship dramas?
There’s nothing dramatic about the reason that Connie wants to leave Douglas, and that’s what makes it so difficult, knotty and complicated. There’s no affair. It’s subtle, and that’s what I think makes it unique.