Star Gemma Arterton (Rita O’Grady) and director Rupert Goold talk about Made In Dagenham to BBC London News.
Did you know the books?
I did know the books because I read all of them at school and I loved them. I was a real bookworm when I was at school and I identified with Mildred and some of the teachers at school.
Why did you identify with Mildred?
She is the original underdog and at school I was quite similar…not the most popular. I even thought I looked like her when I was little because I had the freckles and the scruffy hair and always had my shoelaces untied. I just felt a bit like her I guess.
Did that stay with you, I know you have cat?
I don’t know if it was a subconscious thing but my cat Spike is exactly the same as Tabby. He is a black and white cat, the same as Tabby. He is a very lazy, cuddly cat – and when I was rereading the books I remembered and thought ‘Oh yeah! He is just like Tabby!’. I think in my mind when I was a kid that was the perfect cat so maybe that’s why I got him.
Did you find comfort in the books?
I think why we love Jill Murphy and these books so much is because there is bullying and the teachers are harsh and horrible but we know that Mildred is the heroine. No matter what she does, she always has a good reason for doing it and she is always trying her best. She is so misunderstood but she always wins in the end.
How was it like to perform them?
It was quite a challenge to perform them, this is the first audiobook that I’ve done and you want to do it justice and make sure every word is perfect and all the characters are clear. But it was great to revisit them. I remembered fragments from each book and even the drawings and illustrations. When I was a child I really loved the girls and the mischief they got up. It was wonderful getting back into it as an adult and understanding the other characters, the teachers – Miss Hardbroom. I loved the journey Miss Hardbroom goes on but when I was a child I thought she was horrible. I didn’t really understand the sarcasm and underlying tones.
Miss Hardbroom has her roots in reality and when you were voicing it did it have a reality for you?
Miss Hardbroom is a bit lonely and has been neglected in her childhood. I had a teacher like that at school. She was very very scary and she seemingly enjoyed the power of children being frightened of her but was actually a kind person outside of school.
Bond girl Gemma Arterton has spoken of the challenges of her new stage role in musical Made in Dagenham. Report by Lauren Hood.
The irrepressible host returns with another sofa full of guests, beginning with Oscar-winner Denzel Washington – talking about his movie update of 1980s TV series The Equalizer – and Doctor Who star Peter Capaldi, who reveals how it feels to be holding the key to the Tardis, having been a lifelong fan of the show. Graham also chats to actress Gemma Arterton, who is about to hit the West End in a musical version of the 2010 movie Made in Dagenham, and the music is provided by singer-songwriter George Ezra, performing Blame It on Me.
Short video of Arterton answering question at Toronto Film Festival 2014. Also on stage is director Anne Fontaine (centre) and actress Isabelle Candelier (far right). She was just asked if it is accidental that her recent films have been remakes of classics.
In theaters on September 18, 2014.