Had you read Kate Atkinson’s novels before you took on this role?
“Was I fan of Kate’s novels? You betcha! I have loved her books all along, they are really clever stories and they resonate a lot.”
Why did the role of police officer turned security guard Tracy Waterhouse appeal to you?
“I was in Edinburgh anyway, so that was the first thing. Then when they said she was a security guard, I knew it would be a flat shoe. So that was it, really. Edinburgh, flat shoe, Kate Atkinson!”
Are we right in saying that this is a role lacking in humour?
“Tracy has a moment of madness, she buys a child in a car park! She is an ex-police constable who had never been promoted and is now head of security in a shopping mall. It seems like quite a routine, ordinary job. She lives on her own, is not married, doesn’t have children, she doesn’t seem to have much of a social life – she has a sort of closed-down life.”
How did you prepare for such a role?
“I’m wary of putting too much psychological impetus into things that may not exist. But she certainly has some wish to have a child, or to have had a child, and maybe a wish to have had a different sort of a life.”
Were there any particularly tough scenes you had to film?
“They wanted me to punch a child’s mother in the face, but I was unable to bring myself to do it. It was written out; we compromised. It is very hard to pull your hand back to punch a small woman who is already pinned up against a car – maybe this is why I had no career in Bond films!”
Will we be seeing more of you in acting roles in the future, or will you continue to spend most of your time writing?
“I do love writing, I am not one of these miserable writers, I love it. I don’t covet acting roles, but I do covet people. I see them and think: ‘I would love to work with them’, or ‘I’d love to write something for them.’ It is like a sweet shop when you see all these talented people.”