'Funny Woman' star explores life as an ambitious woman in London's swinging '60s

Claire-Hope Ashide's „Funny Woman” premieres Sunday. Photo courtesy of PBS
Gemma Arterton attends the 2018 BAFTAs at the Royal Albert Hall in London. File photo by Paul Treadway/UPI
Rupert Everett arrives on the red carpet before the screening of „Hysteria” during the 6th Rome International Film Festival in 2011. File photo by David Silba/UPI
Oliver Parker attends the premiere of „Johnny English Reborn” at the Empire, Leicester Square in 2011. File photo by Rune Hellstad/UPI

New York, Jan. 7 (UPI) — Top Boy And children of men Actress Claire-Hope Ashide says she wants to star in a new drama series. Funny girlBecause it allowed us to explore what it was like to be a woman in the workplace of another era.

„I've never done a period piece before, so I found it a very interesting thing to explore, so when I heard the idea I was already in the mindset of 'yes,'” Ashideh, 36, told UPI recently. Zoom interview.


„Reading the scripts and meeting the whole team and the writers…it was an incredibly easy 'yes'. These are really nice people, smart people.”

Airing Sundays on PBS, the show is based on the best-selling novel by Nick Hornby. Funny girland follows Barbara Parker (played by Gemma Arterton), a London shopkeeper who defies the odds to become a star in a male-dominated television comedy in the 1960s.

Morwenna Banks wrote the screenplay and Oliver Parker directed the series, which also stars Rupert Everett, David Threlfall, Arshar Ali, Alexa Davies and Matthew Beard. It has already been renewed for a second season.

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Ashideh plays Diane Lewis, a journalist who is as ambitious and successful in her own field as Barbara reveals.

„Creating characters that have all the dimensions that we have as humans is harder than people think, because none of us are the same,” the actress said.

Noting that women of color are often written for television as „really flat and one-dimensional,” she said that Diane is a skillfully crafted exception, a woman the actress likes and understands, even if not always with. Agree.

„Diane is a young woman and she's a journalist, she's a thinker, and she's trying to have fun, like a lot of swinging '60s people in London did,” Ashideh said.

„But he navigates an incredibly difficult socio-political landscape as skillfully as he can,” he added. „There are all these very interesting threads to his character Funny girl The team is well-knit.”

Ashide described Diane's relationship with Barbara as realistically developed over the six episodes of season 1.

„In the beginning, they both seem like very open, very beautiful and loving women,” she said.

„But I think, unfortunately — like a lot of women are with each other, they identify with each other very quickly, two women who want to make a connection and see beneath the surface. That's the beginning of a wonderful relationship.”

Working on a period film that didn't take place in her lifetime, set in the not-too-distant past, gave Ashide a perspective on where the world is today in terms of opportunities and attitudes toward women and minorities.

„What's really striking is how much things have changed and how right it feels,” he said.

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„Everything looks so different — the way people dress and the music — but there are these real crystal points where you go, 'It could be today, it could be tomorrow'. It was really interesting and frustrating in a lot of ways.”

An avid reader, Ashide read many of Hornby's books funny girl, But that's not what inspired the show.

„You study something, you create a part of the world for yourself, and it's very difficult to destroy that world because it's a part of you,” he said.

„I'm glad I didn't read the book, because I didn't do any of that building and was able to come to it completely new.”

One of her first roles was in the 2006 adaptation of PD James' acclaimed post-apocalyptic novel. boys, Clive Owen and Julianne Moore co-star.

“I was very young and new to the business and had no idea of ​​its importance,” Ashideh said.

„I was back at work, doing the best job I could, and it was a very intense and immersive experience. I will always be incredibly fond of it,” he added.

„A part of me thinks that if I were to do it now, I would do this, that or the other, but I think it has to be exactly where it occupies in my life. A freshness and a naiveness is exactly what I needed for the role. I am very proud of the film. „

Ashideh said she recently re-watched the movie — about how society would completely fall apart if people couldn't have children — and thought it was „terrifyingly current.”

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„Of course there was a hope for me and a lot of people, that we are very slow, but some kind of progress should be made for us to be better and better for each other,” the actress said.

„We feel a little bit now that we're writing the cracks, what we really need to do is tear down the whole house and start over,” he added.

„It's kind of bleak, and I don't know what the answer is. … But I think a lot of people are doing good things.”

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