6 Questions with Liar Star Joanne Froggatt (Laura)
Liar star Joanne Froggatt discusses how she approached the show’s sensitive topics, her character Laura’s sudden unravelling and why she hopes audiences stick around for all six episodes before coming to their own conclusions.
Q: Can you tell us about your character Laura?
A: When we first meet Laura at the beginning of the series she’s a modern, intelligent woman, living in a nice place, great career, very confident. She’s just splitting up from her boyfriend, but it’s not a great heartbreak. I think it’s been a mutual decision and it was a long time coming. [We’re] meeting her at a time when she’s quite positive about the future really, and a little bit apprehensive, of course, having just come out of a relationship, but feeling quite empowered and knowing she’s made the right decision. She’s somebody that really knows her own mind. Then through events in the story, her life changes forever. And she absolutely spirals into a sort of realm that she’s never really experienced before.
She spirals out of control. And that’s not something that’s really part of her nature. And we find out during the series that she has secrets, as all the characters do, and that she has the capability to lie about things to try to — in her mind — prove her point. So, ultimately all the characters have lies that they tell at some point during the show. And Laura is certainly a part of that as well. She doesn’t always make the best decisions. In fact, every single character makes some terrible decisions. It’s a story about lying, as the title would suggest. It’s a story about secrets. I also think it’s a story almost about obsession.
She’s not what we first expect her to be. But I don’t think anybody in this series is.
Q: What are Laura’s first impressions of Andrew?
A: First impressions of Andrew are, from Laura’s point of view, that he’s very handsome. He’s a widower. He has a teenage son. He’s a surgeon. So he’s got a great career. He’s got a nice house. He seems very together. Seems very kind, very responsive, mild mannered, a real gentleman.
Q: What challenges does Laura face in Liar?
A: She’s well-respected at school. She’s well-respected in her hobbies and her personal life. And she finds herself in a situation where she’s absolutely not respected in any way, shape or form. And she finds that a very difficult place to be, and also deals with that by diving head-on into things, rather than trying to work things out and taking a step back and looking at things as a whole. She’s angry and she’s quite reactive, and she doesn’t always think about the consequences of her actions.
Q: How do you approach making a show such as Liar that touches on many sensitive topics?
A: When you are doing a show that centers around any sensitive subject matter, obviously, there is an extra burden on your shoulders, but there’s an extra thought process that’s there all the time. It’s an extra responsibly to get it right. And by getting it right I mean that for me, as the actor, my performance is authentic because my worst fear in terms of my work would be somebody sat at home watching [and] they had been through a similar situation, or knows somebody who had been through a similar situation, and not believing what I did, or not believing that I put my heart and soul into it. I feel it’s a massive responsibility. But I don’t think that’s a bad thing. I think it just all helps you to push yourself even further and make sure you’re always checking yourself, and checking that it’s the best work you can do.
Q: What other challenges did you face in playing this role?
A: Laura is a very challenging character to play, which is one of the reasons I was interested in playing her. Obviously, Jack and Harry’s writing certainly is amazing. And so, when I started reading the script I was very drawn into it and thought that this is definitely something I would watch, and it’s definitely something if I started watching, I wouldn’t turn off. In terms of it as an actress approaching the role, she is, I think, possibly, one of the most challenging characters I’ve played. And I’ve played quite a few challenging characters [Laughs]. For many reasons this was emotionally challenging. It was physically quite challenging.
Laura often makes decisions which I wish she wouldn’t. She makes some wrong turns, certainly. And although as an actress I have to absolutely get my head around the reasons for her doing that — and I did that — I sort of did a lot of research and looked into a lot of things to give myself reasons for the way she behaves and the way she reacts. But, as all the characters in the show, she’s flawed. She’s human. She’s flawed, as we all are. And that’s what interested me about her, really.
Q: What do you hope audiences get out of Liar?
A: There’s a lot of twist and turns. So, I think it’s important to sort of have a full view of the whole six episodes before making up one’s mind about who’s right, who’s wrong, what’s right, and what’s wrong. I certainly think it’s going to be a show that people discuss as home and I think everybody’s view on it will be different, depending on their life experiences.
Liar airs Wednesdays at 10/9c on SundanceTV.