Just a few more days until we are safe… or should we say, ready to enjoy “Safe,” one of Netflix’s latest original shows.
Hannah Arterton will play young detective, Emma, who is looking for a girl who has gone missing. During the investigation, she uncovers the many secrets of the town, where not everything is as it seems.
We met with Hannah in London, surrounded by the 70s vibe of the Simmons bar in Soho. Like any good detective would, she didn’t give much away about the upcoming series. Nonetheless, she was happy to share with us how her passion for acting came to be, a few tricks to keep a relaxed and smooth mood on set and much more.
Discover with us this young, talented actress, who is definitely a rising star to watch this year!
The first person you told you wanted to be an actress?
Hmm, who was that? Maybe my dad, actually.
And, was it a process for you or was it more like a click, like “I want to be an actress”?
When I was much younger I wanted to be a singer, a musician. And I still do that, and it was what I was really pursuing, but then I went to a performing arts college when I was 16 and I had an acting department and a music department and I really couldn’t choose between the two. It was really a cross-road moment, and I just decided to do music, but then when I was 18 I thought: “I’m gonna give acting a go” and went to drama school.
What’s the best advice you have received so far?
It was actually from my sister, she was like “just think the thought, you don’t need to do anything just think it, less is more, think the thought.”
To this day, what is the experience that has influenced you the most, in your acting and when approaching a character?
Probably being at drama school. Because when I went to drama school, I hadn’t really done any acting before, so I was completely new to it and I was like a sponge taking everything in. We did a lot of Stanislavski workshops where we didn’t deal with any text; it was just doing things, like getting ready to go out, and that’s your goal. Looking at things from that point of view is psychologically really interesting, because as an actor it simplified everything, and it made it much cleaner. So looking back (such a long time ago!), those classes were what really stayed with me.
What can you tell us about your upcoming TV series, “Safe”?
I play a young detective who has moved to a new town, where a daughter of one of the residents has gone missing. Because my character is new to the town you go on a journey with her and learn about these people’s lives and how they all know each other and what life is like, living in this community. Not all is as it seems!
How did you approach this character in particular?
My way in was mostly through learning what really drives her. She (Emma) lives for the work, she loves her job. She doesn’t really have much else in her life, she is quite a lonely person and so really commits everything that she has to job. She is driven, instinctive and brave – she trusts her instincts and acts on them.
“My way in was mostly through learning what really drives her.”
“I would like to continue playing complicated, ambitious women.”
What was the best part of working with such an international cast, English, American, Irish and French?
We all just got on so well and laughed all day! I know that lots of people need to be quite serious, but when you are dealing with such a heavy matter, it is so important to have a sense of humor and laugh and be able to relax. I feel that everybody, cast and crew, relax when there is laughter, and when you relax you feel more capable and brave to really go there emotionally; if you feel relaxed and calm and accepted you can then really go crazy in the emotional scenes; because you feel safe, you feel like everyone is supporting you, and wants you to do the best job you can. Or at least that’s how I work anyway!
What’s next for Hannah?
Well, what is next? I’ve got a couple of movies coming up this year that I actually shot ages ago, one was actually 2 years ago and the other one was a year and a half ago. I’d love to do a play this year; I haven’t done one in a very long time. So maybe a play and then I’d like to continue playing complicated, ambitious women who have a lot going on, their life is not run by relationships, they have a job, they have kids, they have real stuff going on. I feel I’ve been very lucky with my career so far that I’ve been playing women like that, and it’s great.
And your dream role? Maybe something that involves some singing too…
Yeah, I would love to do that, something musical, something quite fantastical as well, like a fantasy with music. I don’t know what that would be; maybe I have to write it myself!
Maybe something from the 70s!
Yes maybe, like I could play a singer-songwriter from the 70s. That would definitely fit in with the shoot we have just done.
NOW, ON THE FUN PART…
Must have on set: My dog! I take my dog with me to most places. He is my lucky charm in the trailer.
Superpower: Oh, if I could have one? Teleportation, for sure. So when I am tired I can just be in my bed. And never late! That would change my life since I am always late.
Epic Fail on the Job: I almost certainly have one. I fall over a lot, so probably wearing some special costume and then falling over, I’ve done that a few times. I don’t think I’ve ever fallen over during a take when the camera is rolling, but that’s probably what I am going to do next!
Happy Place: Near where I live there is a beautiful lake where I walk my dog. It’s really high up and the water is quite high and there is so much sky reflection in the water. Any time of the day it looks completely different depending on light and weather, it’s beautiful.
Favorite Accent: Hmm… I love a Northern Irish accent, it’s very strong.
Favorite movie then: “Pinocchio” actually. I used to love it; I used to call it Nocchio. I used to love it and when the whale came at the end… I was terrified, every time I cried because I loved Pinocchio so much … “Nocchio, no!”
A film you love now you have recently seen: I’ve watched this Australian film on Netflix called “The Babadook,” it’s incredible! It’s a horror film and I don’t usually like horror films, but my boyfriend really loves them so I was just like “let’s watch it” and it was incredible. First-time female director, it’s her debut, she’s is an actress and she wrote and directed it, and it’s just the most incredible film about grief, it’s very moving and scary.
Favorite quote: I’ve got one at the moment that I love, which goes, “And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.” It’s beautiful, it’s just like “do it, don’t’ be scared.”
“Do it, don’t’ be scared.”
The last series you binge-watched: About a week ago I watched season 1 and 2 of “Search Party,” it’s so good! Funny, kind of sick sitcom, but really like a detective story too mixed together. Very good, very funny.
What have you already crossed from your bucket list: This time last year I was in Sri-Lanka and I saw wild elephants, a mum and her baby. And when the baby saw us, it did a sound like a little trumpet. I was crying; I was an absolute mess. Seeing wild elephants was amazing.
The most beautiful thing while filming…”Safe”: I developed a really great friendship with my co-star Amanda Abbington, and that was probably the most beautiful thing. If she ever reads that she would be like “Leave me alone, stop texting me, Hannah.” I love her, she is amazing.
Ops! Break time
Snack Crush: I really love chipsticks, they are long and thin and really salty. I could just eat them all day! Chipsticks salt & vinegar, they are very British. They are the best!
Sweets or Popcorn? Popcorn, definitely!
Since we are Italian… Hawaiian pizza, yay or nay? No, it’s wrong! Is this dinner or is this dessert? It’s horrible!
Photos and Video by Johnny Carrano.
Makeup by Nena Makridou.
Hair by Daniel Watts at The King’s Canary.
Thanks to Simmons Bar – Soho.
Harlan Coben’s SAFE will be available to stream on Netflix from 10th May.