AMC: Do you subscribe to any specific established acting technique?
KP: Iguess Method Acting probably because you just have to be it. If I have ascene where I have to cry, I think I’ve used tear stick once because I hate it. Because you’ve got water running from your eyes doesn’t mean you’re really sad, it means you’ve got water in them. I’ll make myself really tired and basically depress myself all of the day. That scene where me and Lily were in the carpark in Bristol—Lily’s the same, Lily cries for real—and we were there for four hours on a Friday afternoon, crying the whole time. And by the end of it, on the train back to Londonthat night, me and Lily sat in silence because we were really depressed. Yeah, Method Acting, because makes it easy for yourself if you just are and if you actually can feel those things.
AMC: How long does it take to come down emotionally from those sorts of intensely dramatic scenes?
KP: Ifyou’re doing it on Friday evening, I think you stay that way for the rest of the day, really. At least you’re a bit, like [mimes depressed expression] especially because you know when your eyes have been crying and they’re swollen and horrible and then you’re just shattered. I reckon that day it probably took me until Saturday lunchtime to come outof it and that’s only because I woke up at Saturday lunchtime. It’s difficult because once you’re in there, you got yourself there by thinking about certain things which you can’t then just shake off because they’re serious things.
AMC: What sorts of things do you think about?
KP: Itsometimes helps if I contrast what Emily is going through in the story to something I’ve been through because then I can make the connection and remember how I felt and then remind myself of that feeling and then try and make what I was feeling in the past about that, try and project that onto what Emily is feeling, like it’s happening to me again, if that makes sense. So I just have to try and bring feelings from there and the story from here now.
AMC: The challenge is in doing that over and over again on cue.
KP: Oh my God! Once they tried to make me—there was this one bit where I had to use tear stick or actually they just put drops in my eyes. I was talking to Naomi and she said literally a line to me and in between her line and the next line I had to make a tear come out of this eye and roll down my cheek. I really don’t know if I can control which eye the tear comes out of or if I can get that upset in one line. That was definitely necessary for a tear stick.
It’s okay if you can be crying from the beginning of a scene. There’s a scene that scene just made me cry because it’s so sweet: at the end of Emily’s episode in the second series, everything crazy has happened, and John Bishop who plays my dad,who’s so cool and lovely, he comes in in his bathrobe and I’m sitting crying on the counter. And when he comes in and gives me a hug, every time he hugged me that made me cry anyway because I was already in that place and if someone gives you a hug, you’re like ‘wah-hah’ [mimes tears].
If you’re crying from the beginning of the scene it makes it much easier but if you have to, like, in the scene bring yourself up to it and then start crying that means that after every scene you have to bring yourself down, wipe the tears and be like, ‘I’m okay’, and then doit all again. And that’s really difficult.