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24 September 2014
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Africa Lives On The BBC
Kelly MacDonald stars in The Girl in the Cafe

Africa Lives On The BBC

The Girl in the Café - Kelly MacDonald

"It was both comforting and terrifying to go in to audition for The Girl in the Café, as I'd worked with everyone in the room on State Of Play: the director David (Yates), producer Hilary (Bevan Jones) and obviously Bill (Nighy)," says Kelly MacDonald.


"At least if people don't know you, you can try and pretend to be more sophisticated or funny or something; but they all knew my tricks!


"It's called The Girl in the Café - as they meet in a café! From the very first scene, you are just completely intrigued by these two people.


"Lawrence and Gina are both so different, but similar in the fact that they are both quite uncomfortable in their own skin. I think that's what pulls them together.


"I think Lawrence finds in Gina somebody that he can relax with and she somehow understands him. She's the first person to stop and pay attention to him and they seem to 'get it' with each other.


"You totally travel with and believe in them. The age gap is immaterial - they're the right kind of shapes to fit together. There is a real love between the two characters and hopefully you'll just be rooting for them.


"Gina is an enigma. She doesn't give a lot away about herself, although you are aware that she's got a past that might not have been the happiest.


"When they meet, she's not aware of what he does for a living and I think she is surprised when she finds out that he works for the Government and works with all these incredibly powerful people.


"She is quite taken aback by it but interested in what his working life means, and what his life's all about.


"Richard's writing has got a definite style and he makes it so easy for an actor. It's such an easy job - I would love to pretend that it's been such hard work and I really struggle to achieve these emotions, but it's a gift it's there in the writing already.


"I was a bit scared because Gina does ask these incredibly important and valid questions as the film unfolds. She asks people who should know better really, but her little voice seems to shine out.


"Gina is fresh and quite naïve in a way. She's like a sponge, learning from Lawrence, asking the poignant questions that cut through all the nonsense about these complicated political issues - which Gina sees quite simply.


"So really Gina's the voice of the average person on the street.


"I love working with Bill Nighy. I'm so lucky with this job. I was lucky to work with him on State Of Play and I remember thinking, 'God, I hope this isn't the last time I get to work with him'. So this is just a joy!


"I read a quote from Richard (Curtis) that said, when he starts talking about the G8 Summit, people think he's talking about a vegetable drink. I was one of those people and I just feel really proud that I can help to let other people know what it's all about, because I'm just learning about it all too."


Kelly MacDonald's career began with a starring role in the film Trainspotting. Her movie career has continued with roles in Stella Does Tricks; Elizabeth; Gosford Park; Never Land; Intermission; and Tristram Shandy.


On television, Kelly is best known for playing Della in the award-winning series State Of Play.


She will soon be seen as Evangeline in the major new movie, Nanny McPhee.

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