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24 September 2014
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Hustle - Stacie Monroe (Jaime Murray)

"Word is she and Mickey had a thing once . . . she's not just a pretty face, she's sharp . . . maybe even in Mickey's league."

Jaime Murray plays Stacie MonroeStarting a new job is always a nerve-wracking situation to be in but couple that with the fact that you are working with some of the best and most respected workers in your field and it can be an absolutely terrifying prospect - a prospect that befell newcomer, Jaime Murray, on her first day in her role as Stacie Monroe in Hustle.

"I was terrified before I started," laughs the beautiful actress. "In fact, when we were filming the first couple of episodes I was absolutely petrified and was convinced that it would be really obvious on screen. So when I watched some of it on tape I was totally amazed that you couldn't see how frightened I really was.

"I kept thinking, 'Oh my God! I'm working with Adrian Lester and Robert Vaughn. Any time now someone is going to tap me on the shoulder and ask me to get my coat!'"

Murray, whose father Billy is known to millions of TV viewers as DS Beech in The Bill, almost never made it to the small screen because her parents were dead set against the idea of her following in her father's footsteps.

"I always wanted to be an actress but I didn't think my parents would take it very well," laughs Murray. "They wanted me to have an academic career and because I did well at school, the natural progression for me was to go to university.

"I went to study philosophy and psychology but by doing so I had to leave home and quickly realised that the course really wasn't something I wanted to do.

"I thought this is a really serious degree at a really serious university and I'm going to have to get a really serious job at a desk or in a white coat - I just couldn't cope with that so I left my course and went to drama school.

"My parents weren't exactly over the moon about my decision but I think they were just worried for me more than anything. I think my dad's main concern was to protect me.

"I think we have worked out our relationship now. It consists of him knowing that he can't say anything that I'm going to take any notice of - it's your archetypal father/daughter relationship!

"He is good at standing back and not interfering too much, just being there as a shoulder to cry on if I need it."

Murray was diagnosed as being dyslexic just before her A-levels but she certainly hasn't let that hold her back. In fact she believes that it may have been to her advantage.

"I was having a lot of problems with my school work, problems with stuff that I should have found quite easy, so I had some tests and found out I was dyslexic which explained a lot.

"Robert Vaughn is pretty quiet most of the time but then suddenly comes out with a pearl of wisdom now and again.

"He once said to me, 'Somebody once told me: beware of people with weaknesses because for every weakness there is a strength to compensate'.

"I thought that was really interesting because I'm sure that, like me, a lot of dyslexics have problems with academic work but excel at anything creative."

Murray plays Stacie Monroe a beautiful, self-assured, confident and very smart lady. Stacie is not a woman who loses her cool easily and she is not afraid to use her femininity to ensure the success of a con.

Murray herself is described by several of the Hustle production team as that rare specimen - a stunningly beautiful actress who can actually act. But is she as street-wise and confident as her on screen persona?

"Stacie is sassy and confident. She is very stable and has her head screwed on, she knows how to cope with any situation. In fact, she is just the type of person I've always wanted to be! Very cool, calm and collected - nothing really flusters her.

"There is a definite closeness in the team. She's got a father/ daughter relationship with Albert and a competitive rivalry with Danny - she finds him so annoying most of the time but he is an irresistible character so she can't help being a bit flirty, despite herself."

Stacie is a vital member to the gang, using her feminine wiles to ensnare unsuspecting marks. As part of their research, all five members of the team were coached in pickpocketing and sleight of hand. In fact the card tricks became something of an obsession on set.

"There was an amazing guy who came in to show us some pickpocketing and card tricks. He taught us a couple of card shuffles and some tricks and for the first few months of the shoot the boys and I were practising all the time.

"But we got so obsessive, it got to the point when Adrian would show me yet another trick and I'd be like, 'Oh for God's sake, not another one!'

"I had to learn how to pick pockets and I realised that most cons are all about diversion - while you're trying to con somebody you're doing something to distract them in the opposite direction so they don't notice and that's exactly how pickpockets work.

"After that I went through a stage of intense paranoia! I had lost my purse and I had to cancel all my cards, I was in a frenzy. I was looking around at everyone thinking they were all thieves but it turned out I had just left it in my seat at the theatre!"

If Murray had decided to pursue a career as a long con artist rather than an actor, would she be able to make any money?

"I find it difficult to lie and that sort of thing makes me very anxious. I'm not very good at deceiving people but I have a very creative mind. I could probably think up the scams and be the person behind the scenes - I would be Mr Big!"


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