DC: Was there a point during the broadcast of series 3 when you realised how massive the storyline had become with fans?
LL: No, because I never really knew anything about it. I don’t go on the internet and look at things and it’s not big enough to be in the papers and have articles written about it. So for me, it was a totally other world because watching it as an insider as opposed to an outside audience member, you don’t really know what the reception is; you can’t tell. So I didn’t have a clue, I still don’t really.
DC: You really don’t know how big Naomily has become for fans all over the world?
LL: Not really, no! I don’t think it is big, I mean big for me would be in the papers every day, people writing about it. I mean, I know it’s got fans, but I can’t really tell what spectrum it’s on. Because I’m in it, it’s so hard to see it from an outsider’s point of view.
DC: So going into series 4, you didn’t feel pressure because of the fan response?
LL: I did because people had spoken to me and I’d met a lot of fans and everything that they’d said was sort of like "Oh, you helped me come out" or "you did this, or you did that." So in that sense it wasn’t quantity. The things people were saying were very important things. They weren’t just "Oh yeah, you kissed that girl, didn’t you?" So I did feel like I need to do them justice. You can’t always aim to please, you have to just get on with it. But yeah, I did feel a bit of pressure. I didn’t want to let anyone down and also because I knew what Naomi had done and I was like "Oh God, everyone is going to hate me!"
DC: You’ve talked in other interviews about fans who’ve told you that Naomily helped them come out, have there been other sorts of stories about the ways people have been personally affected by the storyline?
LL: I had a girl who I met [when] I went to Cardiff to do a PA with Luke [Pasqualino]. She said basically "My boyfriend used to hit me and I started watching Naomi and you made me believe that I’m a strong enough person to get up and leave him." That’s an amazing thing to hear from another human being, and it was really different because I’d never heard anything like that. I’d heard things about coming out, which — it makes me so happy to hear that. But then in hearing that from her, it was like, wow, that was a serious problem that I somehow helped without even knowing — there’s not a much better feeling than that.
DC: I can imagine! Do you remember what you said?
LL: She needs to not see him anymore, I told her! I said give me his number and I’ll go beat him up for you and she said, "No, no!" So I said, "Alright, I won’t!"
DC: Any other feedback?
LL: People that have said I made them want to get into acting, people that give me compliments and say I think you’re good.
DC: Jack Thorne told me that he usually hates it when actors improvise lines but he loved the way you and Kat kind of did your own thing at the end of the "oilz" scene.
LL: Me and Kat would give each other absolutely hysterics. We’re like two little girls at school being naughty; we’re just in hysterics ninety percent of the time. I think she’s hilarious, she’s so funny, and we were just lying on the floor doing this scene and she kept saying it and I just kept laughing. By that point we were comfortable enough with what we were doing. Sometimes directors don’t say cut, they just let it carry on and you know that they’re doing that because you’ve seen it done before, so we just carried on. It wasn’t really improvisation, we just carried on lying there being stupid. At one point I caught Simon [Massey, the director] out of the corner of my eye sitting behind the screen pissing himself. Everyone in the room was trying not to laugh, everyone was just watching us being idiots.
LL: [Laughs] I like that! I’d like to! I mean we email each other, not a lot, but we email. When we meet we don’t sort of talk, we say hello, but then we go and he emails me, which is nice. I feel very flattered because he is a really good writer, and yet he wants to have my input. He wants to hear whether I like something that he’s written or not and he wants to ask if I’d like to be involved in something else and have my feedback. And that’s sort of like, "but why do you want my feedback, I’m a no one and you’re an amazing writer?" So in that way, it’s really flattering that he feels that way about me.
DC: Has it been good to feel like you’re striking out in a new direction with The Fades, playing a character who’s quite different from Naomi?
LL: Yeah, it’s been really nice.
DC: Do you know whether the series has been picked up yet?
LL: No, but the actors are the last to know. I watched a screening of it and it was really good.
DC: I’m guessing you’re not allowed to talk about it yet.
LL: No, sorry.
DC: We’ll just have to keep our fingers crossed that it gets commissioned so that we can see it! Of course the question on everyone’s mind is whether you will be back for the Skins film.
LL: I don’t really know, I don’t think anyone knows what’s happening with [the film].
DC: What else is on the horizon for you?
LL: Who knows? I’m seeing what comes up!
For updates on her Naomily book, follow Dr. Ann-Marie Cook on Twitter.