Thursday 18 Sep 2014
Being faced with the unimaginable and making a difficult choice "is not a simple argument", according to acclaimed British actor Stephen Campbell Moore, who plays Dr Anne Turner's son, Edward, in Frank McGuinness's potent drama inspired by the doctor who chose to end her own life.
"A Short Stay In Switzerland is a balanced presentation of a true story of someone who makes a choice against the wishes of the people that are close to her, yet she sticks by what she believes, and her family support her.
"Others disagreed, but Anne Turner believed what she was doing was right for her," explains the 29-year-old actor, whose television credits include He Knew He Was Right, Ashes To Ashes and Lark Rise To Candleford.
"I don't know what I would do if I was faced with the situation that Anne Turner and her children had to face because it is not a simple argument," continues the London-born actor, whose theatre credits include a critically acclaimed performance in The History Boys.
"The good thing about this film is that it is not a crass agenda piece; it is not saying this is an absolute truth because, on the one hand, you have Claire, Harriet Walter's character, saying: 'I think you are a coward, I don't believe this is right,' which is then countered by Anne Turner (Julie Walters), who says: 'This is not cowardice, I've seen what happens, and this is no life.' Both make valid points.
"Part of the reason why this is such a powerful subject is that most people are conflicted about the nature of actually choosing to die. It is such a hard thing to describe and to tackle, which is why this film is so well-written," says the Guildhall School of Music and Drama graduate who is currently in Budapest filming Season Of The Witch with Nicholas Cage.
Like his co-stars in A Short Stay In Switzerland (Julie Walters, Liz White and Lyndsey Marshal), Stephen says that meeting Dr Turner's family was a great help to him and that being introduced to Edward gave him a greater insight into the story.
"Meeting Edward Turner was very pleasant and enlightening. I didn't want to ask him specific questions – even though you're trying to tell their story you don't want to be intrusive.
"There can be a tendency to start being acquisitive for information because you're playing the part, and you're about to begin filming in three days, but people open up to you and have a much more receptive relationship if you don't try to mine them for information.
"He also didn't try to assert anything which was good. He said I didn't have to try to mimic him; there was no vanity in the idea of someone portraying him; no sort of embarrassment about some actor trying to have a go at his walk, his talk – that wasn't important to Edward in any way; the only thing that was important was we told the story as clearly and concisely as possible, which I respected."
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