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Hermione Norris on ITV1's: A Mother's Son
Hermione Norris in A Mother's Son
A Mother's Son is a gritty two-part ITV1 drama with a top-drawer cast. Starring Hermione Norris (Spooks), Martin Clunes (Doc Martin), Alexander Arnold (Skins) and Paul McGann (Withnail & I).
Hermione plays Rosie Haleton, a wife and mother quietly getting on with her life until the murder of a local teenager. Rosie finds a blood-stained pair of trainers hidden in her son Jamie's room, and is forced to think the unthinkable - could her teenage son be involved in murder?
MSN sat down for a chat with the acclaimed actress to talk role preparation, Downton Abbey and why men have it easier than women in Hollywood.
What attracted you to the role of Rosie Haleton in A Mother's Son?
The writing. Chris Lang's script was quite potent, raw and powerful. Often there are rewrites and uncertainties these days when you're cast in something, but this was a complete and concise piece of work that raised questions on many levels and that's why I took it.
It's a grim subject, but dark dramas tend to do well in the UK - why do you think that is?
I don't know, but I agree with you. I'm amazed that people watch hospital dramas, crime dramas... I don't why we like to watch such things on such a huge scale. Maybe it says something about humanity.
How do you research a role like this? Did you speak to women who've been in this position, for example?
No. Absolutely not. Chris' script was so clear and concise and Rosie's emotional storyline was very clearly laid out; his interpretation of a woman going through that resonated. It meant that I was with Rosie all the way through her journey.
What was it like working with the likes of Martin Clunes and Paul McGann?
Paul McGann was an absolute delight. He is one of the most generous actors - he's got a lovely spirit. I really enjoyed working with him. Alexander Arnold - who plays my son - he was a delight, really passionate about A Mother's Son; he worked very hard.
Martin Clunes, Alexander Arnold and Paul McGann in A Mother's Son
And Martin - who I've known for years, who has been a fixture on our screens for so long - he was just a bundle of laughs.
Sometimes a role physically and emotionally drains an actor - did you feel any of that with A Mother's Son?
When it was sitting in my in-tray, I did think 'is that somewhere you want to go? Because if you do take this part, you've really got to go there.' I knew it was for a short period of time - it was a month of intense work, shot in Suffolk, Surrey and London so I felt it was manageable.
British drama - Downton Abbey, Call The Midwife, Luther, Doctor Who - seems to be enjoying great success in America at the moment. Why do you think this is?
I would imagine that with Downton and Call The Midwife, it's the period that is so appealing. And I do think the British do costume drama beautifully. It's one of our strengths; the attention to detail with the costume, the make-up and the lighting is wonderful. I didn't know Luther had done so well over there, that's fantastic.
Are you ever tempted to follow the likes of Idris Elba and Hugh Laurie and make TV drama in America?
It's very different for boys than it is for girls. I've got a very nice career here and I love what I have here. If I got cast in something over there, I'd love to go. But I wouldn't want to peddle my wares because I don't have the grit to do that.
As far as an American career is concerned, it's very different for boys. The good female parts on TV are now played by movie stars; you've got Glenn Close and Claire Danes, for example. Movie actresses have now moved into TV so if they're older, they've got a film pedigree, and if they're younger - they're supermodels.
Finally, what do you want viewers to take away from A Mother's Son?
It raises many questions about integrating families, questioning our morals, our principles, what's right, what's wrong. We're asked lots of interesting questions on many levels about modern family life and the complexities in any relationships intertwining in not-straightforward circumstances.
A Mother's Son, Monday 3 September and Tuesday 4 September at 9pm on ITV1
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