So my iPhone is on voice memos and it's got this little lovely it's called my Under the Diva Mike. There you go with me.
Exactly. So I'm pretending I'm not technological. Actually, guys, you're aiming for this baby a million times, so I know I'm doing this very gently. And I think it's good, isn't it?
And it felt like, you know, does that go back? And it goes straight in your voice, notes David. Is it recording? No, no, not yet.
OK, see that? Let's do that. And then it will really well be working. Recording. Brilliant.
David Tennant does a podcast with Push Jumbo. How are you coping, the three of you? Yeah, there's been there's been a lot, David, a lot like I feel like when. The world was so different when we shot that waterfowl and I went to New York, it was just there's all kinds of things we talked about the like I just feel like another century.
And we'd already made a decision to move back to the UK from New York, right. So we knew what month we were moving. It just so happened we decided a year before, but it just happened to coincide with the beginning of lockdown. Yeah. So it has just been so much stuff like the show getting shut down two episodes before the end. Yeah, I'm saying it was going to be three weeks and not picking it up and then I was moving anyway.
Yeah. A container ship shipping container of our life trying to make its way over here, moving into a new place.
But everything being socially dist. quarantine area, it's open like mad. It fills up with hope. So we've come back, but it's like we haven't come back. Yeah, because are we really.
Well, because you come to this sort of Neverland, this weird kind of. Yeah. Hiatus world. Yeah. That being said, so happy to be home. I feel very lucky to have got out of New York when you did, did you have to leave slightly earlier than you'd planned to get out.
No, we ended up leaving the same day. Okay. Yeah. And there were another two actors on my British Airways flight with their families. Oh, right. Leaving.
Right, right. Yeah.
So we were all kind of like what you know, what show did you get at dinner, you know, that got shut down and you just what are you doing. What did you leave. What did you take. It was very Handmaid's Tale. Yeah. Climatic.
So for the last four years, you've spent a lot of time in New York playing Lucca Quinn and The Good Wife and then the good fight, the follow up, and you finally decide to move on. And just as you're about to film your departure like you've been saying, the whole thing gets shut down as a global pandemic. How much did you have left to shoot?
We had we were in the middle of episode seven and 10 episodes to shoot. Right. And did you ask, did you know what was planned for you? Yes, I knew my plan, my planned exit. I was exiting as was done with Windows. Right, right. And so we were both exiting. Both knew what was going on. It required a little bit of filming in Miami, pretending it was the Caribbean. Oh, nice. And if we'd done a bit of.
Yeah, but we the rumor the rumor of shut down in a week began in the morning. I know where I was later in middle of a turnaround. They just called everyone to say wow, go.
Wow. Yeah. Which is weird because like that scene whenever. No, I haven't actually sat down to watch any of the seven because I kind of feel funny way about it. We're seven complete. No, no, even no. I think they've made they've been able to edit. OK, seven is the last episode because I released or seven in the US.
Oh they have. Right. But it has no sense of the finale or of.
No, we had tons of scenes we haven't shot right here, which of course like as an actor your life. But you know, now my scene two and seven don't connect. You are. Yeah.
I was going to play five so big. Yeah. And they just had to kind of edit it together, which everybody says is great, but it's weird to think was missing and very unsatisfying for you at the end of this extraordinary journey playing this part and this amazing series.
I mean it's been a really big part of your life. You kind of want to be able to finish it, right?
Yeah. I mean, I honestly, it was very emotional for me because I haven't played one character on screen for that long ever. I was always a jumping actor just in terms of, you know, a play and then a miniseries and then apply. And I always liked it that way.
I liked to change and learn and change and move. And I took the job on Good Wife because I was just I loved the show so much I didn't know it was going to continue. And the next thing I knew, I'd been playing her for five years.
And I loved her and I made her and I was I was very connected to her. And I knew I was coming to the end of our journey together. So I'd begun to do all of my you know, you have your funny processes for letting go bit by bit, just kind of look after yourself, which I know sounds weird to normal people. They're just like, take a break and go home.
But I get very I'm so emotionally attached to them and I feel like I'm abandoning them if I just take my week off and go, yeah. So I was gradually going through this process of like, you know, in my office that's been my desk always. Those have been my drawers. Always I have been my fault. I know where all my files are kept. I know where the cases are kept. I have pens I've been using for years.
I have. So I was just glad this is all you carry.
You're me. Yeah. Loukas, there's no you know, you're the very linked, of course.
So I was gradually like going through and going back last time. I'm using this and I've written her a couple of letters I was going to leave in the desk for her when I left. Wow. And getting quite emotional to leave right now.
So I was all planned. I'm a planner. I'm a planner. Yeah. And then, yeah, they just shut it down. It's go home. So do you feel robbed of your of your morning process of your. Because you didn't get to stand around in the last day and have a cry or say goodbye or no, I think I was lucky that so after three or four weeks when they knew that nothing was going to happen, they knew I was leaving the country and they let me go in alone to the studio to get my stuff in the dressing room.
But I said, can I please have an hour on the stage? So I just went to the office, left the letters, oh, my God, I'm getting so upset. This is so ridiculous.
It's understandable. It's not a big deal.
I was really lucky. I got to walk and I went to the where I did my first scene with Giuliana. I went to the first courtroom I worked in. I went. You know, yeah, I just said goodbye to everything, so I felt like I felt like I got it. I wasn't that bothered about like everyone stand around and clap because jumbo and big speech and would I have, like, my flowers and chocolates? Yes, I would have my flowers and chocolates.
They haven't sent them anyway. No, they have not sent my flowers and chocolates. But I get it, you know, a lot bigger fish to fry. Yeah. But yeah.
So I got I got to say goodbye like that. But it was I wasn't expecting it to hit me that hard.
Well but it's been five years of your life, right. Yeah. And when I started I wasn't you know, I just got married. He was living in London. I wasn't living in New York. I didn't have a baby. I've been through so much there.
So as you say, they have got another season coming. So you had to make an active decision not to be part of that Haubegger wrestle was that. It was hard.
It was really hard. I talked to a few different people.
One thing we talked about, it took your advice about it. I talked to people that I respected in that had been in that situation or had had that opportunity, because it's hard. You spend so much of your early career, you know, trying not to be scared and trying to become more known, trying to get in the position where you can make decisions about the work you do. And so a job like this was a dream for me and so amazing.
But I just felt like I had done everything I could do with her. And it was beginning to niggle me like I was getting the little voice in the back of my head that was getting a bit itchy about, you know what? Now you know, you're 35 this year. Not not that this an age thing, but. Okay, fine. Now we've done what we can do. You've never been someone that just treads water. You have to kind of make yourself available in order to move forward.
So it was a wrestle business versus, ah, I've got a toddler. I've got a family. You know, I'm trying to build a life for myself, but my decisions have never been money decisions because that's not what always makes me happy. So I to go with my gut on it, I think.
Do you think familiarity as an enemy to creativity then. I wouldn't say familiarity, but comfort, OK? I think. I'm not going to pretend I made this quote up, I remember reading it or hearing it somewhere that you should always if you're a creative, you should always feel slightly uncomfortable in some way, like. Director, you haven't worked with actors, you worked with place, you haven't worked in stunt, you haven't done, you know, piece of theatre, we've never done that era accent.
You've never done because it somehow unlocks some stuff in you, gives you some new stuff. And yeah, I think I'd become comfortable in a lovely way, but I know that's not how I take. Right.
Interesting, because of course, one of the things you were leaving to move on to was to play Hamlet at the young in London, which are not immediately obvious casting for, you know.
Do you mean.
Well, it's it's a part that has historically tended to be played by a male actor.
But was that what you were looking for, something completely different, something? Or is it just about that part in particular? Because Hamlet is often seen as the real test of an actor's mettle, isn't it? Seems like. Yeah. That Olympic event.
Yeah. For actors, I don't I don't know about you, but Shakespeare is a weird one, isn't it, because everyone has their different relationships with it.
Yes. And I kind of can't. We do acting and we do theatre and we do TV and we do movies and whatever. And then you do Shakespeare. It's like, it's like a different identity, not Jeanerette. That's one word. I can't think of the right word. It's like a different game of. Tennis, yeah, and by that, I mean your relationship with it starts early in your life, sometimes it's a positive that spins to and it starts in school, it starts early.
You have this relationship with it and. Mine began negative, very young, and then I kind of grasped how brilliant it was, and then I felt empowered by it and I was a very emotional link with it. So then over the years, getting to play smaller parts and then bigger part and then bigger parts and then finally getting into play.
Marc Anthony, which was the the Julius Caesar. Of course, Julius Caesar.
Yeah, I was you know, I was building relationships with not just Shakespeare and the works, but how to do the work, but in this production.
I mean, maybe you don't know the answer to all these questions yet, but is the idea that you will be playing you will be playing a man or Hamlet will be a female, or can you be a bit more nebulous about it than that?
No, I'm playing him as a him. You are OK. The way the way I got there was that one of the things that so fascinated me about Hamlet was when it was written and where he was at in his life when he wrote it, and that it was on that cusp of the new century, which I didn't think was a coincidence. When you look at how different Hamlet is to be other men that he's written. Right. And then that was always making me think about what we've been going through the last 10 years with these big, big, important conversations about gender and identity and whether people do want to be label people don't want to be labeled and what masculinity actually means.
And it feels like we're right in the middle of that right now in terms of I no longer know what that word means. And I don't think anybody else does either, and I think that's a good thing. So I wanted to try to find a new man right now because I've got nieces and nephews that are kind of hitting their teens. And I watched them and I listen to them and I talk to them and the way that they see the world and masculine and feminine is just.
Completely different to how. I view the world when I was their age, and I'm only like, you know, yeah, 15 years older than them or something. Yeah. So I hadn't you know, I haven't answered all those questions yet, but I had decided that he would be him. And he would be the new man that was almost born too early, didn't quite couldn't fit into the state of Denmark and what was going on. Interesting.
And then gives it an extra sort of piquancy to the fact that there's a good word. David. Thank you very much. A woman playing that role. That sounds fascinating.
Some people haven't had a great reaction to me playing Hamlet. And I'd say defensiveness. OK, like what? Why do women feel like they need to play all the men's parts? OK, and this isn't this going to be like isn't this more about you being of color and a woman than about the actual play Hamlet?
Are there any jobs left for us, for her to sit in, done by white middle aged men?
And and look, I am I am an intersectional everything. Right. Right. I'm about equality for women. If that's equality for everyone, equality for black people. If that's equality for everyone. This isn't a statement. I'm not doing this because it's a statement about something or I have something to say for all the women, not black people and all the mothers and all the I'm just Keusch and I want to play Hamlet and that's it. Okay. Yes.
Does it make you angry, those kind of reactions or does it make you weary or what does it make you?
Not anymore. I went through a process of being angry for years. Then I was tired for years. Then I did a whole thing that was I don't want you to see me as of color and women. I just want you to see me as an actor. Can you just see me as an actor? And then act passed and now I just I dunno, I'm very I think people are processing and they're entitled to their fair processing of stuff. And when people get defensive, it's always much more about their own feelings than about you and what you've done.
And that's partly what a job is, right? It's like we're there to to to make people want to discuss and debate how you tell the story of human beings. So I'm not kind of not doing my job properly. I'm not doing that to hold us to our mirror up to nature. Yeah. So I don't I don't get no I don't get defensive or wary anymore.
Have you always gone to theater a lot? We were pretty poor growing up, so but my mum used to make massive efforts to make sure we were always at the Christmas panto. Right. And then whatever summer show was on at like the unicorn or the National, she would always be looking into schemes where she could get cheaper tickets, free tickets. We'd be taken to her if she thought, you know, I look back now and she was always like scouring papers for work.
There are workshops and things that were free.
Is that because your mum knew you were interested or was she already interested in that world?
Was she already looking for the mom and dad are both nurses, but my mom was always, you know, they're by very theatrical. Right. And in lines in life. Yes.
She's from Scunthorpe and he's from Nigeria. It's lot. Yeah, that's a very dramatic mix.
And yeah, I was dancing for when I was like two or three years old and I don't remember ever wanting to be anything else but an actor. So I guess she did know I was interested. And then of course, as a girl I would have got to five, got to eight, got to ten. She was like, okay, yeah, she's obsessed. So OK, whenever, whenever we could we would go. And you're one of six.
But were you the only only kid who was into that?
No one took it as seriously as I did. I I was digging out all my old diaries last week.
Oh yeah. I've kept diaries since I was like seven. That's brilliant. When I'm reading some of this stuff, I've actually got in there light bulbs around my name and he just jump out on Broadway. Oh, and I'm seven.
I don't think I even knew where it was.
It's the word. But you knew what you knew what the connotations of. I knew what it meant. Yeah.
Lots of pictures of limos, David. Lots of limos with lots of windows, lots of lots of like big house. And I'll have an ice cream fountain in the house. And it was all, you know, I was famous and all this stuff, but also a lot of writing about being depressed. MAN seven Understand me at seven. Several am I Winnie the Pooh diary. And a lot of, you know, maybe not knowing what that word really meant.
But I was very I was very emotional. I read a lot of books. I knew words. Right. So I think I was a bit theatrical and emotional and sensitive. And it was all very much like one day I will get out of here. Wow. Mum and Dad don't understand me. It's clear I was adopted and one day my parents will come.
It was all of that stuff. I was convinced I did not belong in the family.
You were going to act. It was a mistake. The mistake was made at the hospital. You know, what other explanation could there be?
So when you were you were you relatively unhappy then as a child or did you just enjoy those moments? I was just a drama queen.
She was a drama queen, presumably in a house with six kids. It's there's a lot going on. I mean, it's quite noisy. You've got to find who you are within that.
My parents did their best. They just had us really young. So they were kind of making it up as they went along and they started it like nineteen and just kept popping them out. Right. So it was all very tribal. The jumbo kids are doing this. They're jumbo considering that. Come on, Jumbo overhead line up jumbo. Put your vest on. Jambos. You know, it was all very like tribal group stuff, which is really fun when you're growing up.
Right, because you always have a buddy. If you fall out with one, you can be friends with the other one. And it's really fun growing up, but it's difficult to find an identity. It doesn't just make you part of the group. Sure. Yes, it must be. And I think I was maybe striving and trying to be seen as me. And that's kind of where it came from, and what about bringing you to your parents was let me make it up as they go along with a strict with you all.
My dad was when we were young, my dad's Nigerian, and he was a stay at home dad. He stayed at home for 16 years and my mom went to work. Okay.
So did he very much make the choice to be the stay at home parent? Yeah, right. Yeah. They made that choice to kind of together. They were both kind of in NHS work, but my mum was on a higher salary and they just decision they made. And so my relationship with my dad is more of an emotional one. My mum is more like a you know, we love each other, but it's more of a pragmatic one, maybe more traditionally how other people have their mum and dad the other way round.
My mum's the one you call it the toilet in your new flat. The issue with your housemates is blocked. Right. But my dad's the one you call if you feel overwhelmed and you need to cry.
Right. That's it. Because that's that's still quite uncommon. No. And when you were a kid, that must have been quite unique among your peer group, wasn't it?
Yeah. There was no stay at home dads. In fact, my dad was, I think, lonely to some extent because I remember there being a lot of mother and baby groups and he wasn't allowed in them. Right. Because it's not like it is now with so many more dads working from home, staying home. Yeah, and that would upset him because that's a lonely life with all those kids not being able to have or every woman you speak to in the playground thinking that you're possibly coming on to them because they don't quite understand why you're there with all these kids.
Right. He didn't really have any buddies, you know, so I think that made us more of a crew together. That's interesting, when you were talking earlier about that sense of wrestling with what masculinity is going forward and what I wonder how that was influenced by growing up with your dad as the. Do you know what, David? I have never thought about that till you've just said it right. That is really interesting. I mean, it's definitely affected my choices, my husband and my dad.
Are similar, but different in that my my husband works and is an alpha male, but has all the parts of my dad that I think are really valuable and that I like and I wouldn't need in a father for my kid. But gosh, no, I've never thought of that until you've just said it.
But yeah, I suppose I've always I've always known the spectrum of masculinity is way wider than what society has portrayed it to be to us, because I know the truth. When people say, oh, men just don't do that or oh, no, you know what men are like, I've always found myself always really being confusing to me because I don't get that right that knows how to cook. He taught me to cook.
And how have your family responded to your career then? Have they rejoiced in it? Have they been mystified by it?
I think a mixture of the two. I don't know if my parents will ever get used to the red carpet premiere meeting. Important people think, OK, not that anybody should have to, but you think after a certain amount of time.
I mean, the stories I could tell you about my parents, my parents, my mom, taking aside Martin Freeman at the Olivier Awards, just taking him aside and going, Martin, you know my Keusch just like that, that actually began. Right? The conversation, you know, my Keusch, he of course, it was completely blank. We don't all know each other, mum, or dated people.
We live in one big friendly acting house together. Right? We live in one. Yeah. We all know each other numbers. She's been nominated and he said, oh, good. Well, congratulations, you should be so proud of her. And she said, I am. And you know what? Your mum will be too. And then she walked off and I could just see him looking. Really? Puzzled and also just yeah, I mean, he was telling jokes for everyone.
My dad met Fiona Shaw when I opened Josephine and I at the Bush opening night, Fiona Shaw came. I was so starstruck, but I was talking to her in the garden and she was telling him he's like, what did and what do you do, Fiona?
He said, you know, she's so humble, have no ego. So she was like, you know, I'm an actor, too. And he went, Oh, wonderful. And he said, and, you know, cushiest proving you work hard, you know, you keep your head down. It can still happen. It can still happen. And then on top of that, he looked over her shoulder and went, oh, that woman was in Crossroads.
And he left brilliant. Quite right. And she told me that story later. And I was like, yeah. So I mean, look, this ain't nice. But having said that down to earth because yeah, course, yeah, their heads don't get big, but also you got to manage them. There are some places you don't take them out public. I've learnt from the past. Right. You have to know where you can take them away.
You can't take them. Yeah. Hugh Jackman probably. No. Oh. Did you not introduce them to Hugh Jackman.
I did briefly. But I made it a very moving, very fluid movement, very fluid. They got them come in on a matinee. Right. And then I made a whole route. I planned the route out what we were going to do with him, his dressing room on the way out. And I said to him, I'm going to make the pass.
And he was like, What do you mean? I got a style. I got a talk. We could have a drink, as I know. But now we don't we don't have a show tonight and they won't leave and they'll be asked, you know, this'll work. And they came to me and then I just fluidly move and down the hall to his room. He was lovely to the corner, you know, and caught them and took a picture.
And so night my mum and they they both were appropriate. They ask the correct questions. They didn't get his character wrong from the X-Men films, which what they were going to do. And then we just moved them on and he kept it moving. It was great. It's perfect. I'm their PR basically. Okay, I've got them over.
And you went to the Brit school at fourteen, didn't you? Did you feel like you were released into this wonderful new world at fourteen? That must have been extraordinary.
Do you remember the first time you showed up with people and thought I found my I found my trier? Yeah. Yeah. These are my people. Yeah, that's what it was like. Yeah. And the weirdest thing was I'm from South London, so you know that you have kids coming from all over the country to be at the school, see how kids of all these different accents. But you also had kids that would never mix. I'm from Lewisham.
When would I ever make them into Eton? Never. And and you had I'd never met gay kids. I never met. They were two kids transitioning there when I was going there, like there was people that I would never have met, but we were all there for the same reason. So we made this bond and we were part of the same tribe and there was never any trouble for that reason. Right. Had a high level of students who had been either suspended many times or expelled from other schools.
I've been up. And when they got to Brit school, nothing was ever wrong with them again. That's fascinating, isn't it? Yeah. And then from there, you went to drama school to the central square and did that continue there? Did it feel like you this was all you'd ever hoped for? No.
OK, that was a bit of a shock to the system. Right. I just thought would be like a grown up Brit school. I just I naively believed that drama school was just going to be even better because it was just no no other subject, you know, acting. Just acting all day. Every day. Yeah. Acting, I thought was going to be brilliant.
My friend Nathan Stewart Jarrett also went to school for team.
And we were going together, you know, and it was like we if we go time to be famous, like, we were so excited and we got there and automatically looked down upon for having been at the Brit school anyway.
Oh, I think yeah. I don't think people really understood what it was, you know, how it worked. And I think we were full of positive energy because I thought Brit school was all about looking after each other. Loyalty, competitive, but only if it's competitive and helpful for the whole group. It was, you know, real hippy school. Right. And then suddenly I got thrown into this thing that was like, some of you will live, but most of you will die.
Some of you are good, but most of you are shit. And if you are good, we're going to make you realise how shit you'll get better and you're just going to take it because you're paying us. And I was just a really hard worker, so I threw myself into it and I committed 110 percent and I worked my ass off and I just felt like everything was a brick wall and everything was wrong with me was too black to common.
My accent was too wrong. But I wish that somebody had said to me back then was everything that people are. Can you here is a tool. That you should definitely learn and understand, but that may not be what works if you don't try to be somebody else. But, you know, I had lots of good experiences, too. But now I think I don't think it's the way to teach people, especially young people. David was 78.
That's what always seems very dangerous to me, that you're doing this to people who I think people who want to become actors are often quite vulnerable anyway.
Definitely, you're damaging very thin skinned people and you may be damaged them forever. So be careful.
You know, it's a long time ago. Sure. It's totally different.
Yeah. Well, interesting, though, that the principal of Central School, Gavin Henderson, recently announced he was stepping down amid claims that he'd run a culture of systemic racism at the school. And you I saw you wrote on social media supporting that. Is that something you were aware of at the time?
No. When I became aware of that staff was actually when he himself particularly offered me a fellowship at the school and alumni fellowship, which was a great honor to be offered. They'd never given it to a woman or to a black person, which even now, looking back on it seems ridiculous when you think about that school is great.
And I couldn't accept it because, you know, I talk to a lot of students. I talk to a lot of young actors. And I just heard so many awful stories, too many awful stories for it not to be true about stuff that was going on there. And so I didn't say anything publicly about turning it down, but I just. Quietly informed the school that I couldn't accept it with what was going on, you know, the students were complaining there was a procedure happening.
And, you know, to the school's credit, the statement that they've made about the problems that have been there and the problems with him have been very honest and open, and they haven't shied away from what's been going on. And I do give them a lot of credit for that. They just flatly said, we've let you down. This never should have happened. We're changing our processes. And that's brilliant.
Well, as you say, they have vowed to improve and to make things better and to make sure these things don't happen, which is a start, right? You have to start, of course. Yeah.
Hey, Georgia. Yes, David, do you like podcasts where actors talk to amazing people about how great they are?
There is nothing I like more. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Well, if you like this podcast, I've got one you're going to love.
Go on. Just in long. You know him. Yes. The Justin Long. Yeah. From Alvin and the Chipmunks.
Yes. I mean also from he's just not that into you from dodgeball. From the TV show and. Yeah and no. Sure but but also Alvin and the Chinese also in Alvin and the Chipmunks. Yeah.
And he has a show on Wonderly called Life is Short with Justin Long did. That is very clever. He's got some amazing guests. OK, on Chelsea Handler. Excellent. Yeah. And Kristen Bell, she's my fave. I knew you were going to like that.
Well, she is on her show. Excellent. So where can we listen to. Well, you can subscribe to life for sure on our podcasts or Spotify or you can even join 100 plus in the wandering app to listen at free. So post drama school.
How easy was it for you? Did you go straight off into work? Oh, so easy, David.
I shot off into the Night Sky co-star. I had no I had no time. I had no script. Script. Oh, no, David. It couldn't have been more. Is it.
I can't. Did you come straight out of school and shoot off and eat it.
Kind of dating. Oh no. Oh no. I always manage to work, which was all to be honest, is the only aspiration at that time I had.
I just want to know what you want because all you get is growing up saying I want to be an actor, going to drama school, saying you want to be an actress, people telling you, you know, you'll never work. You don't know what you are. You know, 95 percent of actors are unemployed.
Any given statistic they always give you. Yeah.
Or your or everyone, you know, going when it's a lot about LAX or who you know. Exactly. Know exactly how to do anyone. So I'm screwed. Yeah, no, I will.
Not only because I've been aware of you from quite young. So to me it feels like you just show that's because I'm very old. Isn't that funny. No, I didn't know.
I mean I, I managed to join the jobs up. Pretty much I didn't have a lot of time sitting around thinking what's next, but it was a lot of it was, you know, touring Scotland and A and things like that and that stuff.
I would not complaining for a second, but yeah, I didn't sort of head off into fame and fortune to L.A..
David, we got you a ticket on a plane.
A long time to get to L.A.. Yeah. You know, I could yes, I could pay my rent, I suppose, pretty consistently.
Was that the case for, you know, not. I think that like. Yeah, the first. The first. And I kind of prepared myself, you know, I think we all know the normal trajectory, if you're going to end up working, is that you're going to do some part time jobs on the side to keep paying your bills. You're going to hope to get some auditions with your agent. You'll get one or two of them and you'll do one or two jobs a year and you'll fit that in.
And then you're you know, you're hoping you're going to build that up. The parts will get better as you learn more and that that will be the way it works. And I did the first year of doing that, but working many jobs because I didn't have any help or support. So I was living in London, renting in London.
So what sort of things were you doing? Everything. So I started off like I worked for an agency as teaching assistant market research, door to door sales for window for glazing, how I worked as a waitress at the windmill strip club.
I was just a waitress, though, just a waitress about the tips were very good.
I got fired actually because I tried to make the strippers rise up and demand more money. I mean. Yeah, right. I was an activist.
You see, always on that occasion I'm trying to be an activist. Yeah. Way more than tips.
Well, yeah, no, no one was interested. So, yeah, I was suffering there. I ran a pancake store North Coast Road Market in March because I decided at one point I wanted to be my own boss. So I got myself my license from that parent. So I did a pancake stall and I was doing the pancake, still postering Torchwood and everybody was watching Torchwood that week. It was on television. Wow. And I was having pancakes on the stool and people kept coming to the stall and being like, What are you doing here?
What she was you on telly and watch the telly to get again, to not catch you know, you don't need to be doing this. And I was like, oh. Oh yeah. Like because we shot that six months ago. The assumption is that all actors on a fortune all the time. Yes, yeah. Yeah. I'm, I got everything I had left.
I had no idea. Just er so many things. Was that OK. Well you sort of and you're getting bits of acting work in amongst all us then obviously. Yeah.
In amongst all of that I was kind of like you know, did a job at the globe and then you know, did a little bit of TV, but they were all very small, not very creatively rewarding parts.
But at the beginning. You're okay with that. Just happy to to work. But then into the second year and into the third year, it kind of became apparent that I wasn't moving. And so I wasn't learning. And and I would sometimes go into jobs where I would literally think.
Why did she get that part right? I could do a better job than that, I wasn't even seen for that part. I've got one line in this play and not in a kind of you know, I'm so much better than just in a kind of why wasn't I seen for that part?
It's interesting because you're you're almost saying that you didn't. And I was about to say you were just you just had bad luck. But I remember something you said about about luck that I thought was very astute, which was it's not really a thing. Luck is where preparation meets opportunity is. All right. Yes. Which I think is an extraordinary of looking at. I think that's very interesting.
And is that did that occur to you then? Didn't occur to me then. I just I try to remain positive. And I was always very much like, it's just not my time. It's just not my time. It's just not my time. When I say my time, I don't mean to go to L.A. and be a Hollywood star like you. I just wanted to go to Sainsbury's and have a choice of beans. Exactly.
You know, I just wanted to get to the end of the month without saying to my landlord again, please, will you let me give you the other hundred in two weeks, could you please. I've got to choose between because otherwise I can't get to my night job in bank, you know, like, I just that became exhausting. Living on the on the bread line became exhausting and then watching my friends go off on holiday and, you know, they had normal jobs doing things that normal people in their mid 20s do.
And I can't go out to dinner with them on a Friday night because I just can't afford to. Yeah. So, yes, I felt like it wasn't my time. But then as time went on, that started to change into this isn't just bad luck. I'm not I'm just not very good. I must not be very good. I bleak. Did you get a pretty bleak.
Yeah. I've talked about this before and with, with students and stuff as well as I think it is important to talk about an actor's mental health. But it, it, I was, I was just crushed between too many side. There was no relief, there was no relief by having a job where I could, like, express my creativity. There was no relief from being able to go to dinner or have a nice social life that took the pressure off.
It was I was just working crappy jobs. And I mean by that, I mean, you know, the waitress in either this or that or that and then. Like Hollywood, like desperately being so desperate to land some acting job, any acting job or damn demoralizing commercial just to kind of go, yes, that means I've seen an actor.
That means I still got a chance. That means like, you know, and the balance, there was no balance anymore. I just was miserable, miserable, miserable, and moved back home to my parents, moved into their attic like Mrs. Haversham or something, and was super low. I don't think I really I mean, I was joking saying, oh, yeah, I've written my diary. I'm so depressed at seven. But obviously I wasn't I just wasn't getting my own way or something.
But that was what I really was like. Oh, wow. Like I'm low. Really, really low. I don't want to talk to anyone. I don't want to get out of bed in the morning. My life is pointless. I am a pointless person and. I think that's when you start to think so do I need to be here really with anybody notice if I wasn't here? Wow. So, yeah, and that was the darkest, my darkest point, and at that point I thankfully went downstairs and talked to my parents, went to the doctor, talked to people I was ashamed to talk to people about.
I was embarrassed and ashamed, but I knew that that wasn't. Thankfully, I was lucky and knew that that wasn't a normal thought process and further down the line, after being able to get a lot of counselling and different therapies and I've actually learned a lot about that stuff. And it's interesting to know if you're a visual thinker, like a lot of actors are, sometimes when you're really low and you say this is this is a bit dark.
So it's no, this I think it's really important sometimes when you're very low. For me, I would picture myself dead. Having died and I talked to a therapist who once said to me, you know, when you're a visual thinker, the brain is a very smart thing, very smart thing, and it gives you lots of warnings before it will do anything that's really out of character. And sometimes when a brain shows you pictures of something, it's trying to tell you, warning, warning.
We are at the end of our tether. We are exhausted. We're not sleeping. We want it to be peaceful. OK, so now visualizing so it's almost like by imagining it, you can get a bit of peace. Right. Does that make sense? Like you're practicing your visualizing it rather than just going and doing it. And so that comforted me because it made me feel as crazy for, you know, that like because that's a scary thing when you start to think that way, like, fuck, am I on the edge?
Am I on the edge? Am I am I out of control? And you're not. But that is the point at which a lot of people don't go and discuss it with somebody because of the shame and the guilt and not wanting to be a burden and not wanting to be a problem. And but that's the point where people should talk about it, of course.
So what it was, was that what helped lift you out of that dark time or.
Well, at that point, I decided when I was kind of slightly back, more back on track mentally, I made a decision because that's what I'm like. I kind of go, okay, this isn't working change. Yeah. And I decided that I was going to spend my life being a bitter, twisted, miserable actor who was always at the back going, that's could have been me because I've met those two.
And I thought, you know, I'm going to do I'm going to become a teacher. And then my mom was chatting to me and just saying, fine, but I really feel like you should try to do something this summer that's creative so that you feel like you don't finish on a low note. And I'd always written stuff. I'd read skits and musicals I'd written like. It's just something that I did. I did think of myself as a writer.
I just always wrote stuff.
And I'd always been obsessed with Josephine Baker and other old movie stars and musical stars, like you always say, are you going to write that one woman show about Josephine Baker and you've never written it and you should write it, put it on at the Brockley Jack or one of the little puppets is just put it on. Put it on. It's going to be good for your mind. Put it on and then you can always look back and go. And that's how I finished acting.
And it was great. My family came. So I wrote the show that summer and put it on in a pop theater and yeah, it just exploded. Yeah. So that was the purpose of it. But what happened was I never went to start that course so that my route to Good Wife I think began with me getting so low that at it. Yeah.
So I could trace the whole route from there to there which seems like easy now but it's never, it's never as linear when you're living it as it, as you say, it's a big success in London. It transfers to New York. Yeah.
And that's where the show runners for the The Good Wife as it was then come to see you.
And they're still, for your part, straightaway come and be on our show. Well, what happened was Christine Baranski came to see the show, OK, and and she was in The Good Wife and I was very starstruck. And she came in and I was gushing. I love the show. I love the show. And then she left and then. Yeah, they came. Robert Michelle came, the show runners. And then yeah. Like offered me a job like next week, the next week.
And I did you know, when you were shooting that last season that there was going to be the spin off the good fight.
No, we didn't know we finished the show. It was all done. They informed me three weeks before I was due to fly back to London and live. We're doing spin off, we want you to be in it. We're starting in two months. Can you move your life here? So that's what happened.
But you're a fan of New York, so that that side of it, you were correct. Yeah. I mean, it was it was a no brainer.
Yeah. My poor husband had to kind of quit his job and change his whole life. But apart from that, nothing was to get married in New York, right?
We did. Yeah, yeah. Yeah. But that was before the good fight. Yeah. It's all very confusing.
So confusing. OK, so remember Hugh Jackman and my mom and dad. I do remember that. Yes. Right. So I was doing a show with Hugh Jackman, which was Jez Butterworth show the River. OK, Sean was flying every two weeks to see me in New York because we only got together. We were only together for three months when I got the show on Broadway, right, although you'd known each other longer, right? We've known each other.
No, we hadn't been an item. And we weren't like close friends. Yes, I was friends with his brother. We got together and it was brilliant life.
Fireworks, perfect. Like this is it? This is the man I wrote. This man in Josephine. I wrote This man became amazing. Life is perfect. And and then like, I get this job on Broadway, which is like my my dream. Sure. As with huge achievement, and they're like, okay, off you go, and we just started dating at that point and Donna said, look, this is this is up to you. If.
You don't want to continue this. I understand. But I'm going to Broadway. You don't you only get one shot at this and this is my shot, and he was like, all right, I'll come every two weeks and say, good for Sean. So he did. And then I guess we got into it, you know, we were to our relationship was intense and fast, but in a good way. And then I guess you got towards the end of the year, and although I'm not that kind of person, I'm not.
Well, Wendy, make silly decisions person, and neither is he. But he proposed to me in Central Park, and I guess it was more about saying wherever this road goes from here, I'm not going anywhere. I'm committed to this because next it could be Bulgaria, next it could be China. Next it could be. But like, I'm in this. And that was really more what we were doing. Right. And then we were just like, oh, we're in New York, fuck it, let's get married here.
So we got married in the theater after the matinee. All the audience left. We got married on the stage. He was a witness.
Hugh Jackman, nice man. A show business. Was the witness at your wedding? Yeah. Yeah. He even he didn't sign it with a pen. What he did was he has a Wolverine claw that's got three pens on it. He does these signatures with an eight nine jerkily.
That's what I thought you guys were going all the way through. People do funny things. I do it. Imagine how many autographs yesterday. Sure. Yeah. If you could do three, make it make it a lot easier.
So yeah. So yeah, we got married there and we had martinis and we wanted you know.
Right and square was great but that's sort of the die was cast then for your life being in New York for years to come as it would tonight, because then maybe because maybe something was one thing happened and you were you were stuck there until quite recently.
Not not this isn't it. That became where you lived. Yeah. And my son was born that well, quite. Yes.
And so now you're back home. You've left that behind you. Are you are you back home. Is this now do you live in London. No. Yes. Permanent Hamlet is still on the cards.
Yeah. Still happening. Are there other classical rules you want to take off?
Tonight, I forget how Jesus can get through that, can I just get through Hamlet first?
Well, all right, I'll let you have that. I suppose that's a bit of a it's potentially it's a bit of a bit Hasbrouck, isn't it? So I guess. Yeah, yeah.
I mean, there's no you scared. But how do you I mean, how I know you talked about a certain anxiety, but you seem pretty fearless to me.
Would you. Yeah. Do you think you're fearless?
Fairless makes it sound like I don't I'm not aware that there is imminent danger, like because you you know, like you say fearless, my husband will tell you I don't mean no.
That would be that would be careless, wouldn't it?
No, I'm not carefree. I'm a fearless control freak. I think that's the way to think of it. But am I fearless? I don't I just have to be a bit fearless. Probably that you're.
No, I don't think I'm fearless. I feel like I. I don't think of it, and then I look back at some of the things I've done and go and go, that was pretty fearless. That was pretty brave. It never feels like it at the time.
I feel like I'm sort of walking model of anxiety most of the time. So, yeah, I guess I am a bit fearless. That's great. But that Adnani, that makes you sound like I really, really care what people think.
I but I guess I suppose I mean, I'm 35 this year, but I don't have a problem with but I've, I've grown into that and grown into not having a problem with it.
I've grown into not having a problem with my age as a girl. Right. Right. Right. Because everyone told us we were supposed to. And I think that I've been through a few things now that made me realize that even when you're at the very bottom of fear. You can still come back up, so I guess my fearlessness is about I'm not afraid of failing. I know it will happen, but I'm not going to die. I'll just start again.
So then it takes that that they out of it, that makes you afraid of them, I suppose that makes sense. That makes perfect sense. I think that's a great model for life. Yeah, I'm full of em, David, I'm full of I'm full of Jumbo, she's full of it. That's my autobiography. Full of it. That was nice.
And I like the way you just leaned into the microphone to deliver the title as well. It was great. It worked very well.
And audio, I forgot. Now, again, says Khush, thank you for doing this.
Thank you for having me. It's been brilliant and we're very glad to have you back in this country.
David Tennant does a podcast with Is as Something Else and No Mystery production produced by Zooey Edwards, additional production from Harriet Wells, Sarah CamNet, Steve Akerman and George Tenant. The sound engineer was Josh Gibson. The executive producer is Chris Skinner. Next time, Hollywood, I mean, they are just concerned their.