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29 October 2014
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He Knew He Was Right
Laura Fraser as Emily Trevelyan

He Knew He Was Right

Laura Fraser - Emily Trevelyan

A no-nonsense Scot, Laura Fraser didn't find it difficult to play an independent spirited young woman with a mind of her own, even if the character of Emily is from an era when women were usually acquiescent, dutiful wives.

At the time of the casting for the role of Emily, Laura was living in New York with her Irish actor boyfriend Carl. She financed her own journey to the audition for the role and it proved to be a successful investment.

Both producer Nigel Stafford-Clark and director Tom Vaughan knew they had found their Emily straight away.

"Emily is very strong-willed," says Fraser. "At first she's quite immature and naïve but she thinks she's really worldly-wise. She's excited about life.

"There is a little bit of me in Emily, as I can also be quite reckless but I'm not as stubborn as she is. I understand her: she doesn't compromise, which is not very smart in life but she won't lie."

Emily and her husband Louis, played by Oliver Dimsdale, are the couple whose marriage breakdown forms the dark central core of the drama and Trollope's searing novel.

It is Louis' unreasonable jealousy over his wife's friendship with her father's friend which brings about disastrous consequences.

"I've been a jealous person myself," explains Fraser. "I've been distrustful, convinced that somebody's having an affair with somebody else. If you believe it in your head, everything looks like a lie. When you're looking for it, you always see it - even the change of expression in their face."

Fraser is now happily settled with Carl and until recently they were planning to build a home in the US.

"We realised that building a house from scratch was a massive undertaking. I was homesick and as we were planning to move back to Europe within five years anyway we decided to move now.

"We've bought an old farmhouse by the sea on the west coast of Ireland and we'll be moving there in May."

While filming He Knew He Was right Laura and Carl were international commuters, with Laura going home to Carl as often as she could during the 12-week shoot, and Carl visiting her twice.

"You travel for this job anyway, so you just go home to a different place. I lived in London for seven years and filming He Knew He Was Right was the first job I had in London since I moved to New York.

"It was weird being on location in a town I know so well. When I moved from Glasgow I first looked at London like a wide-eyed tourist and it was the same when I moved to New York. Now they're both just places where I lived."

One of the problems Laura encountered while living across the Atlantic was the distance from her family, with whom she is very close.

She knew she wanted to act by the age of 10, having been inspired by her father, owner of a building company, who wrote shows for her school.

"We used to put on shows in the house and my two brothers Kyle and Don and my sister Paula and I would dress up. Sometimes we did them in the garden and had all the neighbours around.

"My dad did it just for fun, but a few years ago he sold his company and became a full-time writer. Both of my parents had a change of career. My mum was a nurse and now she's a college lecturer."

Laura has been a professional actress since she was 18 and luckily there's no sign she wants a career change herself.

She studied at the Royal Scottish Academy for Music and Drama but she only completed a year of the three-year course.

She was working while she was studying, including making an episode of Taggart and appearing in a short film with Peter Mullan.

"I was doing a job in every term, so I realised I wasn't committed and left. I got a Scottish agent who put me up for Small Faces, which was directed by Gillies Mackinnon."

Laura hasn't been out of work since. She will soon be seen in the acclaimed film 16 Years of Alcohol, which premiered at last year's Edinburgh Festival, and the HBO production Iron-Jawed Angels, about the suffragette movement with Angelica Huston and Hilary Swank.

While she decides what her next role will be, she's back to commuting to New York so that she and Carl can pack up and leave for the wilder shores of Ireland.

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