Cara Horgan is not new to period drama, and now we find her in “Traitors,” a spy thriller set right after WWII.
In our interview, Cara told us about the kind of attentive research she did in order to prepare to play her character Rae, a Jewish woman working as a typist at the Home Office.
Read on to find out more about “Traitors,” Cara’s upcoming project and some curiosities, like her epic fail on the job and guilty pleasure film.
On “Traitors,” what can you tell us about this new project?
“Traitors” is a spy thriller set in the aftermath of the Second World War. It explores the lives of a group of people at a very heightened and stressful moment in history. A spy has been planted in the Home Office and a young woman is recruited to find out who that is. It’s brilliantly written script that is tense, dark and full of surprises.
What about your character Rae, how did you approach it? What kind of research did you before filming?
My character Rae is a Jewish woman who is a typist at the Home Office. Because of the time “Traitors” is set, which is straight after World War II, Rae hides her religion from her colleagues. Her young son was sent away to America during the war and has come back a very different boy and barely remembers her. She is a woman with a secret who is not necessarily who she seems! I loved playing Rae so much. I did a lot of research into what it was to be a Jewish woman in 1940’s Britain which was incredibly upsetting.
She’s a really intelligent and determined woman with strong political views but because of her class and gender, has to conduct herself very discreetly and carefully. I watched documentaries and read a lot of accounts of the atmosphere at the time.
“Traitors” is not your first historical project, what aspect of this kind of works catches your attention the most?
I’ve always loved historical novels and it’s really cool imagining how you might have behaved in a set of circumstances in a different era. Our amazing costumes and the incredible set on “Traitors” were so helpful for transporting us back to the 1940s.
For me, the most important thing is the script and the character’s journey. I love doing all the research and it’s so fun to explore people moving and surviving through life situations different to my own, no matter when in history it is set.
“The most important thing is the script and the character’s journey.”
E R A
In what historical period would your dream role be living? And of course, what is your dream role?
There are so many dream roles! I always wanted to play complicated women who are not what they seem. Throughout history women like Marie Curie, Isabella Bird, Simone de Beauvoir, Mary Shelley, Hedy Lamarr to name a few.
What would the motto on your t-shirt be?
I’ve always liked the motto:
“It’s nice to be important but it’s more important to be nice!”
What’s your guilty pleasure movie?
My guilty pleasure movie is probably “Four Weddings and a Funeral.” The characters are hilarious and it’s a great blend of romantic and cynical. It always hits the spot!
Have you ever had an epic fail on the job?
In terms of epic fails on jobs I was once in a play at The Barbican Theatre in London and in front of a full audience and I fell over on stage, dropped the props I was carrying and really hurt myself! It was so embarrassing, but I tried to pretend it was deliberate and part of the scene. I’m not sure anyone believed me!
What play should everybody watch at least once?
I think everybody and some point needs to see both “Hamlet“ and “King Lear.” Those are stories that transcend time and explore themes of loyalty, death, jealousy, love and what it is to be human.
What was the most beautiful thing you experienced or learned while filming “Traitors”?
The most beautiful thing about filming “Traitors” was definitely the team of people who made it. Everyone was so good and their job as well as being lovely, fun and supportive. It’s so much easier to do great work when you are surrounded by people who are wonderful.
What’s next for Cara?
I have another project coming out later this year where I play a CIA agent investigating crimes in Berlin so very different to “Traitors”! I am filming something at the moment which I have to keep secret but I hope it continues to be a busy year full of great scripts. I’d also like to travel a bit more this year too!
Photo by Will Bremridge
Makeup by Marcio