Interview with Julia Deakin
You may know her as the red wine swilling, Lambert & Butler puffing landlady in Spaced, Alan Partridge’s chocolate covered love interest, or through various cameos in the beloved ‘cornetto trilogy’ of Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz and The World’s End.
Having recently starred in Boeing Boeing at the Crucible, we caught up with the brilliant Julia Deakin for a natter.
How does it feel to be back on stage? Feeling the pressure yet..?
Yeeaaahhh, I am (laughs). It’s been a long time since I’ve been on stage. I started strongly in theatre but have since been railroaded in a particular way with things in television and film, so it’s ten years since I’ve been on the stage. I’m just loving it though, it’s completely mad acting in a farce. I mean, I hate sports, but I guess it’s like playing a game of football – you just have to be on the ball, switched on all the time.
What attracted you to the role?
It’s a 60s script adapted from the French and I saw it revived in the West End with a few of my contemporary comedians in it. It was a modern spin and we’re doing the same thing. It was a great evening. I guess my character Bertha is like the voice of the man in the street amongst all the chaos of a man trying to juggle three relationships at exactly the same time. I’m way past eligible to play any of the air hostesses – and Bertha is the only other female role in the play. It’s a very good enthusiastic piece.
How do you find theatre in comparison with TV/film?
It’s much nicer to work with a company as you spend a lot more time together. Film is a bit more impersonal, you’re often only around a small group of people for shorter amounts of time.
For you, that small group of people often tends to be the same crowd. From your credits in Spaced, and the so called ‘cornetto trilogy’ of Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz and The World’s End, you’ve worked with many of the same actors. How did this come about?
I regard them as family – everyone is always helping each other out. I was invited onto Spaced after working with Simon and the others before. We had no idea what it would be like, we just had a laugh. Marsha is up there as one of my favourite roles. It was the chance to be creative as there was no specific way she had to be. I actually based her on a male friend of mine, who basically doesn’t give a f**k, has a lot of fun and has a very nice life (laughs). Spaced brought about other roles and opportunities. Unlike other actors my age, I’m often working with young, edgy people, a lot of the stuff I do is aimed at the Pegg and Partridge kind of demographic. It’s great to see that young people are still enjoying the shows/films as well. I think Spaced is currently on TV actually!
How do you look back on the ‘Pegg and Partridge’ era, as you put it?
My time with them is the most dearest to me. They’re so creative, adorable and modest. At the wrap party of The World’s End I managed to grab half an hour with Simon before he was jetting off to China. Simon and Nick are having a great time in America. Actually, there’s a scene in How to Lose Friends and Alienate People where Simon’s character is driving through LA looking bewildered and amazed and overwhelmed – and that’s just the story of Simon. Back in the days of Spaced they were always talking about Quentin Tarantino, other idols and their ideas and plans, and they actually ended up living with him at one point recently. It’s fantastic. But everyone is really affectionate towards working here and with each other.
Finally, what’s next for you?
I’ve just had the script for a film shooting in June called High Rise, adapted from J.G. Ballard’s High-Rise, by the same director as Down Terrace, Ben Wheatley, so we’ve worked together before. This only happened two days ago – so it’s hot off the press!
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Words: Rachel Heward.