“We really had to bond as a cast and be part of this odd little world” - hmv.com talks to Ashley Jensen about her role in The Lobster
Romantic comedies don’t come much stranger than The Lobster. Starring Rachel Weisz and Colin Farrell, it is set in a city where single people are given 45 days to find a romantic partner before they are let loose into the woods and turned into an animal. Directed by Yorgos Lanthimos, the award-winning filmmaker behind Alps and Dogtooth, it was a box office and critical hit and comes to DVD today (February 8th).
To celebrate its release we chatted to Ashley Jensen, who you might know best from her role as Maggie in Ricky Gervais’ Extras. She told us all about making this strange comedy...
How did you get involved in this movie?
“It all came through my agent. I knew of Yorgos and I’d seen Dogtooth so I was quite surprised when I got the call, I was like ‘Really? Are you sure?’. I’m mainly known for comedy and I knew a lot of actors would kill for these kind of roles so I was pleasantly surprised to get the call.”
“I went up to London and got the script and I was on the train home and it was running late so I started reading the script and I found it so compelling and so engrossing that I wound up getting on the wrong train and ended up heading down to Portsmouth! Which isn't ideal as I live in Bath!”
How did you find the script? You can’t have read many like it...
“Yeah, I found it amazing and I was so flattered that they wanted me for the role. I know Yorgos had seen Extras and I think he doesn’t tend to write characters with particular physical characteristics, he just writes them and then looks for people whose work he likes. He was brilliant to work with.”
How was it to film? It looked like an intense shoot?
“We really lived it. We stayed at the hotel where we shot, so we’d literally come down for breakfast eat in that dining room where a lot of the scenes are shot. So it really was like being in our own little world and being in the movie the whole time. We were in County Kerry and the only way out was by taxi, a taxi you had to book a long time in advance, so we were trapped there and that definitely added to the feeling. We really had to bond as a cast and be part of this odd little world.”
What was Yorgos like to work with?
“He was brilliant and he made sure we had great fun on set. I had no idea what to expect, I wondered how he captured these movies that are so unique, but he’s very relaxed. He’s always trying to get you to pare things down and never overact. I think he works very hard on getting his casting right and then puts all his faith in the choices he’s made.”
It’s a fantastic cast, who did you get to work with?
“I loved working with Colin Farrell. He’s so funny, extremely funny and I know it was a big departure for him, he was a joy to act with. John C. Reilly was great too, I’ve been a fan of his for a long time and to spend time running around with him was incredible.”
Finally what’s next for you?
“I’ve just finished the new season of Agatha Raisin and that should be on soon. It’s a whimsical comedy about a Public Relations hotshot who moves out of the city and randomly gets accused of murder. It’s a lot of fun.”
The Lobster is out now on DVD.