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Jodie plays Sarah, an assistant in a care home who builds a relationship with resident Tony, played by Stephen Graham, only to see that tested to the limits when Covid hits.
The one-off film, written by BAFTA award-winning writer Jack Thorne, has already been praised as one of the most important dramas of the year, highlighting the traumatic situation faced by care home residents and staff during the pandemic.
“This is my first time being a part of a show like this and the feeling that I came away with was like no other feeling I’d had before on a production because it felt bigger than all of us,” explains Jodie.
“There was no ego, nobody was out to get anything for themselves, we all pulled together and we all wanted so desperately to be there, to handle it with care and to do the best job we possibly could.
“Every piece serves a purpose, whether it’s to entertain and switch off, or to hold a mirror up to society and say ‘look at what it is we’re doing, look at what we’re not paying attention to’ and it was so remarkable to be able to tell this story. It was special.”
For 28-year-old Jodie, being cast in a role set in a fictional Liverpool care home meant being able to use her own accent for once.
“I loved filming in my own accent, it’s the first time I’ve been able to do it in a long, long time and it was so wonderful to be able to do it. And my accent gets so much stronger when I’m around Stephen, so it probably got very out of hand!
“Hopefully when people who are from Liverpool watch it they see themselves, I think they really will, which is really exciting.
“I’ve always felt to get close to a character I need to be further away from myself, I’ve very rarely been able to use my own accent, so there was something really special about being able to explore that side of myself and the women that I know and the fire that I know is present within so many women in my life – it felt like a celebration in a way.”
Jodie’s performance in Help is intense and brilliant and she reveals she was able to capture the reality thanks to speaking with care workers before filming began.
“I was really lucky because Channel 4 put me in touch with a few women from several care homes across the UK and they were so open and willing to chat to me and nothing was off limits.
“To have that access was incredible and also for me, there’s so much love and happiness within these homes and I feel like that’s another element that Jack captures so beautifully.
“I wanted to know about all those stories as well, just the day to day of the relationships, funny stories, and just really get into their heads from an emotional standpoint.
“The biggest thing for me was that there is no black and white, it’s not residents and carers, it’s a family. They act on instinct, thinking how would I want my family to be treated? So I wrote all those things down and hopefully we are able to show both sides.”
As for working alongside Stephen, who she famously credited with kickstarting her career in her 2019 BAFTA winning speech, she says it more than lived up to expectations.
“It was everything I thought it would be and more,” she smiles. “Stephen has been such an incredible figure in my life whether he realises it or not.
“I think we’re both instinctive and like to leave things to the minute and it’s so incredible when you get to set with someone who’s willing to be as vulnerable and open as you because then you’re like, we have no idea where this is going to go but let’s do it. Every moment was like that on set with Stephen.
“We had a lovely time, there wwere times when we had giggles when we shouldn’t have had giggles, and all those normal nuances of being on a film set but I’d do it again, and again, and again and again.”
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