Anna Maxwell Martin: “I like my 40s. It’s my best decade ‘

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“I was absolutely delighted! I was the face of Covid, Ofsted, 2021 (large), venereal disease … ” Yes, Anna Maxwell Martin was “ super excited ” to be the biggest meme of 2021, when one of her expressions – like the smug and irritating DCS. Patricia Carmichael in Line Of Duty – went viral, soon to be branded as the face of everything the internet could think of.

Anna has truly been everywhere this year – 12.8 million people watched the sixth finale of the LOD series and Motherland (which she directs as the frenzied and hard-to-love Julia) is currently airing as one of the biggest hits of BBC Two, while its previous seasons top Netflix Charts. She’s filming an ITV thriller Hollington Drive, as we speak, will be on the West End Constellations show with Chris O’Dowd starting in August, has a six month Atlantic funded project more late in the year (‘what I can’t talk about’) and something else she can’t disclose ‘but literally when I got the email I almost died ‘. She’s already won two BAFTAs in her 20-year career, but is that saying too much that this is her best year?

“I think it would be absurd to say that there isn’t much around Line Of Duty,” she said. “ There is a huge zeitgeisty moment and I just find myself in it. However, at 44, Anna in particular appears to be becoming one of the UK’s biggest stars, in what is traditionally an ageist industry (well, for women). “Maybe the industry has changed, hasn’t it caught up a bit? ” she says. ‘You have Sarah Lancashires and Keeleys [Hawes] all lead the way in massive shows built around them … Nicola Walker [in, respectively, shows such as Happy Valley, Finding Alice and Unforgotten]. I’m really happy to be working, but I always assumed I would always be working. I always thought something was going to pop up! I’m busy…’

Despite this, Anna says she can live life with her two daughters (she and their father, director Roger Michell, are estranged) for the most part without the pain. “I’m not really recognized, maybe a little more recently, but it’s probably because Line Of Duty is watched by 10 billion people,” she says. “ I think there must be something in my face that is quite rubbery and that turns into the background. And also, they help you a lot, hairstyle and makeup – maybe I look so haggy and bouffant in real life that people just can’t tell.

There is no hagginess or baggy as Anna is sitting in a P & Co jumpsuit after our photoshoot. “ I’m not very confident about my face or anything like that, but I really like the clothes and work with it [stylist] Alexandra Mann, and she’s amazing at getting weird stuff and putting it on me and weirdly feeling good and confident. I really like that side. But isn’t she really so sure of her face? Since it is … ‘My business! This is where the money is! she interrupts with a laugh. “No, I really don’t feel anything on my face. While playing, you must have a memorable face, whatever that may mean.

© Zoe McConnell

Funny she should say memorable – when Motherland’s final season began, half of Twitter couldn’t believe Julia was the same person as LOD’s Carmichael, while the other half tried to explain is to act. She laughs (she laughs a lot, but not in Julia’s distinctive way). “In a way, it’s flattering – overwhelmingly, I felt really lucky to have two very different parts.

Did she feel so lucky to be filming Line Of Duty, Motherland and Sky’s Code 404 simultaneously in a pandemic? “ I wasn’t really a parent during that time, ” she jokes, pointing to her two adorable and very polite daughters who joined her on set. “That’s why they’re sprawled out there on an iPad – they don’t know why they’re here, they don’t know who I am.”

So no whining – Anna is very aware of privileges. “On Motherland we’re all buddies, so you go back to a set like that and you feel taken care of and have a laugh with your friends, it’s not that hard, is it?” She is careful when we talk about the reopening of the theater so that it is clear that times haven’t been as tough for bigger actors like her as they have for all the backstage and theater staff. .

As to whether she likes the very female-centric cast and crew of Motherland, she says, “I don’t think, ‘Hooray, I’m on an all-female show,’ I think we’re really getting into the balance. when it doesn’t. dominated by males and Caucasians. We absolutely need a different face from film and TV and we’re getting there, so that’s good.

For most people, Motherland is great because it’s such a recognizable take on middle class parenthood. But Anna doesn’t see herself in any of the characters, “ because they’re pretty extreme and I think the show is more and more about parenting more and more. Essentially, they are adults behaving like children. She does know, however, how Julia would have dealt with the pandemic, “Ooooh, badly. Very, very badly. She would have killed [her husband] Paul. ‘

Anna was never drawn into the culture or comparison of “mumfluencers”. “No, I have a radar, ‘Beep beep, looking for some fun mom friends,’ she said. “I chose my mother, my friends. Everyone at the gates of the school is a real hoot and the group is a real laugh. Not an Amanda in sight.

Aside from knowing her own memory, Anna barely has a social media presence, having only recently joined Instagram. “ My friend forced me to go to Instagram when I was pretty drunk, ” she says. “ I’m not very interested in people who constantly post or who seem like they’re having super idyllic lives. I’m raising two girls so it’s not very healthy, is it? But I like the other bum, like, “You like floral wallpaper, so we’re going to bombard you with chintzy sofas.”

“I’m not my friends,” she adds. “I’m going to call them, why would I speak to them via direct message?” I’m not on Twitter, you can’t just let it go on Twitter. Diane [Morgan from Motherland] tried. We both know this shouldn’t happen. I would be canceled before you could say, “Hashtag the face of the canceled year.”

Far from being canceled, Anna is set to return to Wales for ITV’s new four-part Hollington Drive, a project she spotted after loving the Irish crime drama Blood, which Sophie Petzal also has. written. “ Front foot – I never do that, but it’s so good I thought I would give it a try. ”

And her new ‘front line position’ means she may not just be based in the UK forever. “ It wasn’t until recently that I thought, ‘Oh we could all go and I’m going to try to finally work with Wes Anderson – my dream – and try to be a little more ambitious,’ she said. about a possible transatlantic movement. “ It wasn’t until now that I thought I could go to LA and brag a bit. When I was younger I just couldn’t … I love my 40s. I’m in the early days and think this is definitely my best decade. You really know yourself, you have a lot of friends, I have my lovely kids, I have a great life, I am very lucky and I work and when I go to work I never feel shy because I know people so i have a good time there. I feel a lot more confident than in my twenties. I was miserable in my twenties, ”she said, adding,“ If Covid doesn’t put things into perspective, what does?

Before heading to Los Angeles, could she take another turn as Carmichael – will there be another Line Of Duty series? “I wouldn’t know and I would never be told,” she promises, despite rumors on the Internet that the casting has started. Terribly, it all sounds a bit OCG (organized crime group, in the jargon of the show). ‘Until I get in the car and jump on the plane to Belfast [where it’s filmed], I wouldn’t know … I’m not in the crowd there and I’m not even sure the crowd knows. ‘

It cannot influence the reaction at the end of the division, with a spoiler alert! – see Detective Superintendent Ian Buckells’ unmasking as criminal mastermind H as a wet firecracker, others as a scathing political commentary on the nature of corruption. “I haven’t seen him,” she said. “My friends were pretty mixed, some of them loved the ending because they thought it was open to new things. I liked that it was Nigel [Boyle, who played Buckells], I always thought it was hilarious. I went on filming and my television in my hotel is not working, ”she adds, explaining how she managed to avoid the final. “I still haven’t spoken to reception. I say to myself: “Oh, I feel bad, they are so nice! “

Anna maxwell martin

© Zoe McConnell

As we wrap up, with me trying to figure out one of her secret projects, we joke that she’s doing I’m A Celebrity – a not-so-ridiculous idea, it turns out. “I was asked to go to the jungle; I would love a challenge, but I wouldn’t like boredom, ”she says – even though her daughters were enthusiastic. ‘They were like, “Oh my God, we’re going to be at the Versace Hotel for five weeks!” “In case future producers read, Anna shares that her two phobias are sandwiches and mayonnaise (she’s not laughing, she can’t say the words and has to spell them).” If they threw me in a coffin with it. those … that would be good TV, ”she said to herself.

Now, however, she needs to come home for some family time (“Oh, me and the kids are going to get hammered,” she jokes), homemade chicken Kiev and “to freak out.” the idea of ​​walking the dog – it’s not yet done ”. The dog, Bobby, is the star of his Instagram. “I support Battersea and everything they do – Paul O’Grady is my hero,” she said. “Diane and I want to continue. They once had Tom Hardy. It was the best TV ever.

One of the few big shows she hasn’t performed in this year. Again…

“Motherland” is Mondays at 9pm on BBC Two. Series 1-2 are available on BBC iPlayer

Photographer @zoemcconnell Styling @whatmollysees @alexandramann Hair @bjornkrischker Makeup @florriewhitemakeup Stylist assistants @sammiey_hughes @remyfarrell

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