Liz White – Interview

This is a box. A magical box, playing a magical tune. But inside this box, there lies a surprise. Do you know who’s in it today? It’s Liz White! Annie from the superb never to be surpassed “Life On Mars” and Lizzie in the excellent “Our Zoo” (sometimes the “Beeb” just comes up with diamonds). Recently Liz has also been in the film “Pride”, if you haven’t seen it, the trailer below should convince you that you should see it!

It seems that Liz has a Midas touch when it comes to picking her scripts / projects because everything she has touched has done extremely well. Is it pure luck, hard work or being very selective and patient in waiting for the right script? Probably a combination of all three. In any case. When we saw a respite in the crowd of people for her we took our chance in getting an interview with her.

How’s London Film and Comic Con going for you so far?

Liz – Yeah, really enjoying it, met loads of lovely people that have come to the table, and signed lots of things, it’s good!

You’ve played quite a few roles, which for you has been the most challenging or best so far?

Liz – Different ones for different reasons really, but actually funnily enough, the “Woman in Black” was really challenging because I was in disguise, wearing latex, it wasn’t a mask as such, it was more, it was just makeup that they put on my skin. Three different layers of it! And then the veils and then the big mourning gown I had to wear. And so people on set didn’t really want to talk to me because I looked so weird, and that was really challenging, to play someone who was ostracised, and in doing that I felt a bit ostracised myself. So it sort of played on all of those vulnerability fears that one might have.

Sounds really tough to deal with, how difficult was it dealing with the makeup?

Liz – Yeah, I had to, it was the smell that was the worst thing. It used to get right into your brain and you’d get a bit of a glue headache.

“Life on Mars” was an incredibly strong script with well developed characters, how difficult is it to find scripts of that quality?

Liz – “Life on Mars” really stood out when it arrived. At first, you read the first ten pages, and the same when you start looking at the first episode, it just seems like any other cop drama. And then you get past page ten and he has the car accident, and boom, you’re in the seventies. So before I got to that page, I just thought it was a bit boring, a bit pedestrian, but I knew John Simms was attached and I couldn’t really understand why. Then of course you get to that bit, and you realise why. So, I haven’t read anything since that has that same sort of twist or impact in it. But I have read some brilliant scripts, like “Pride”, the film that’s out at the moment which is about the lesbian and gay group that supported the miners in 1984 / 1985, again a really really strong script, and you know immediately it’s going to be of the highest quality. But yes, they are few and far between, but for the last eighteen months actually, I’ve been really lucky and have worked on “From There to Here” which is filmed in Manchester, “Our Zoo” filmed in Cheshire, “Pride”, it’s been a really lovely time of interesting work, interesting scripts.

It’s not just luck though, it’s hard work too.

Liz – Yeah, it has been hard work. I enjoy it so much, this is all I’ve ever wanted to do. I love it!

What was it about the “Our Zoo” script that really pulled you in?

Liz – Well, again, it’s a true story of a family that overcome all adversity in order to realise their dream. And to make something for television that’s not crime based is a real treat. So this essentially is a good family show, the like of which we don’t really have much on TV. Ralf Little used to call it “Heartbeat” with animals, which it’s not, it’s much more complex than just a soap opera about animals, but on the other hand it’s a very wholesome tale.

In “Life on Mars”, do you find it shocking how culture was and that it actually wasn’t that long ago?

Liz – Yeah, you really notice it being a woman, that you’ll be over powered by a man, often. More so in the seventies, very sensitive to that. And actually on set it’s a male dominated industry, quite often I’d be the only girl for days, filming, two days filming, maybe that whole week. So you do feel the difference, and when men get together in groups like that it can be quite over whelming. Having said that though John, Phil, Dean and Marshall were lovely lovely people so, we got on really well. But you know, you are sensitive to it, a woman in a man’s world.

We would very much like to thank Liz for kindly agreeing to the interview with us, it was a gruelling weekend and she must have been shattered and possibly relieved it was the Sunday!

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