The Honorable Woman

4 Questions with “THE HONORABLE WOMAN” Star Katherine Parkinson

THE HONORABLE WOMAN star Katherine Parkinson (Rachel Stein) reflects on maternal archetypes, the poignancy of the political thriller and the unexpected levity director Hugo Blick brings to the series.

Q: Who is Rachel Stein?

A: Rachel Stein is married to Nessa’s brother Ephra Stein with whom she has two children. Rachel is sort of the maternal archetype, focused on her family and unaware of what is happening around her. She doesn’t lie and isn’t involved in a lot of the deception, intrigue and complex games that are being played around her, so in a sense she is the simplest character of the piece.

Q: What did you first think when you read the script for THE HONORABLE WOMAN?

A: It’s really thrilling to read a script where there are so many brilliantly written female parts. Rachel has been written with great intelligence, great character and humor—with a wit and sharpness to her.

I also think it’s been written very generously. When you’re pregnant you can sometimes feel a bit marooned by your own size, a bit slushy brained, vulnerable and out of the picture, you don’t feel like you’re a normal person. It’s been written with a great generosity towards that. I think Hugo understands what it’s like for a woman to go through a pregnancy.

Q: What inspired you to work with Hugo Blick?

A: I think what’s really refreshing about Hugo’s work is that, like me, he has come from comedy. Even though he’s writing a drama, a thriller, it’s not po-faced. It’s not like he’s decided to switch genres and therefore has to be humorless, THE HONORABLE WOMAN is peppered with humor throughout. I feel when we make the distinction between comedy and drama it’s a little frustrating because life just isn’t like that, they don’t have to be mutually exclusive.

Q: What do you admire most about THE HONORABLE WOMAN?

A: THE HONORABLE WOMAN is undoubtedly a captivating thriller, but it’s also about something very important and is rooted in a wider context that is very real and very current. So it is of course entertainment, a fictional drama, but it is also important—it has something to say.

Click here to read an interview with Katherine Parkinson’s co-star Maggie Gyllenhaal.