Chicks Chat with…
Elaine Cassidy, award winning actress, mother, wife. Her wonderful career has spanned over a two decades (she started young!). Star of Theatre, TV and Film her credits include; The Paradise, A Room with a View, Harpers Island, Mum’s List and of course Channel 4’s No Offence to name but a very few. She lives in London with her husband and two children. We at Those London Chicks are so pleased Elaine has taken the time out of her busy schedule to discuss her new projects and life in general.
We mentioned in your intro that you’ve been in the business for over twenty years. How did you first get into acting as a girl and what was your first experience like?
I guess if I’m to talk about my first experience it would have to be when I played Pinocchio aged 4 in the school play. First I was cast as an angel, which I was chuffed about, but then the teacher decided to have all the angels with blonde hair so I was cast as Pinocchio. I wasn’t happy at first but very quickly realised that I had most of the lines, so every cloud… I really enjoyed being on stage and acting out make believe.
You are married to Actor/ Writer/Producer Stephen Lord whom I’ve had the pleasure of working with. Have you guys worked together as actors, or would that be too weird?
We have worked quite a number of times as actors. We met on a film called The Truth and acted opposite each other. Shortly after that we played brother and sister in a short film called The Marsh. Then Stephen directed me in a webisode series he created, wrote, produced and also appeared in called Dr Hoo, with Ian Hart playing The Doctor. We also worked together on an animation pilot called Gettin’ On that he created. We were both voices for the animated characters along with Imelda Staunton and Andy Serkis. Most recently, we acted alongside each other in a film he produced called Strangeways Here We Come. We only had one scene together but I think our history of working together shows that we don’t find it weird working together.
You have starred in Strangeways Here We Come which sounds brilliant tell us about it?
It was a mad shoot. I was doing a play down in London and at the weekends I would travel up to London as they scheduled all my scenes into the days I had available. The character was off her face for most of the film so I never knew what would happen with each take. It turned out to be really fun and liberating.
You have worked all over the world and almost never seem too stop. How do you manage to make that work as a mother?
I have the most amazing husband. That’s how I manage to make it work. He is so supportive in every which way.
How does working in the US compare to working her in the UK?
I think the biggest difference is in the US you always have craft service. No matter what time of the filming day you can snack and eat on pretty much anything and everything. Also, the US was the first time I experienced crew clapping after takes. In the UK, people are a lot more subtle on expressing whether they are impressed with the execution of some scenes.
“It’s always character, script and director…”
We can’t have this chat without talking about the brilliant No Offence, you’ve are fantastic in it. We pleased that it’s coming back for a third season. What can we expect from this next series and your character Dinah?
I have no idea. I have yet to read the scripts. Her core will be the same no doubt, but as to what situations she finds herself in, your guess is as good as mine.
Paul Abbott writes such amazing parts for strong women, is that what drew you to taking the role in the first place?
Yes, and just the fact that the piece is written by Paul Abbott. I think he writes great roles for all, and he has a uniqueness for creating individual worlds.
Speaking of strong female characters, your career is full of you playing them. What has been your profound or most enjoyable character you’ve played and why?
That’s so hard to answer as I love each and everyone of them in different ways. It’s hard to choose.
What are the factors that contribute to you taking a role or not, especially has a mother?
It’s always character, script and director. The script is so important as that is the core element that everyone gets attracted to and if that is strong and good then it will secure the top talent. I generally want to play parts that are very different from the last part I have just played.
What will such an amazingly busy work life, being a mum and wife What do you like to do for ‘you’ time?
Watching good tv shows and films. Knitting is a guilty pleasure of mine. And when I’m baking and cooking, then I know I have time for me.
What is your latest TV project the six-part Thriller Acceptable Risk about and when can we see it?
It is a psychological thriller set in the high stakes of Big Pharma. I play Sarah, who was a solicitor for a big pharmaceutical company. When her husband suddenly dies under suspicious circumstances she starts to search for answers and the truth. She finds herself walking further and further into a complex world of every shade of grey and her life becomes in danger.
Finally, what advice would you give to an aspiring actress hoping to break into the business?
Have a Plan B. Keep living your life. Don’t put it on hold. Don’t let the business put a value on you, always know your worth but also know it may never happen unless you have these three things, talent, work hard and LUCK!!!