Thursday 27 Nov 2014
Aisling Loftus recently played Gemma Adams, in BBC One's Five Daughters. In Dive she plays ambitious diver Lindsey who is set to represent Team GB in the 2012 Olympics. Lindsey's life is a routine of school and diving practice but when she returns home to discover her father has moved out and her mum's new boyfriend has moved in, her world crumbles. When she meets Robert he is the perfect antidote to her structured life. Aisling Loftus talks about how she was cast as Lindsey.
"I got the role of Lindsey by auditioning; a process that I wasn't very familiar with at the time but now it feels like second nature. When they cast me and Jack, it made sense that they would cast the rest of our peer group from Nottingham and Derby – some of the other young people in Dive are from the television workshop that Jack and I used to attend."
Aisling reveals the qualities she saw in Lindsey and the similarities she shares with the character she was portraying.
"Lindsey seemed to have this kind of amazing self possession. She was very self contained, very focused, very driven. Her way of life is very disciplined and structured and that jars with what it is to be 15. I thought that was a really interesting thing about Lindsey, but then at the same time she wants to embrace the excitement that comes with Robert. In some ways she's very much 15, but she has this parallel life with diving.
"I think I've got a similar – although in many ways different – drive. I'm a driven person and quite single minded as Lindsey is. So I did feel like I had an affinity with her but at the same time, I kind of admire her and her bravery in the situation she finds herself in."
Aisling decided she would approach Lindsey's pregnancy from her own perspective. She explains why and outlines why Robert and Lindsey click when they are such different people.
"I thought about talking to girls that had had babies but then that kind of makes the assumption that there's some kind of personality trait which leads some people to having babies. It's a very personal decision, anybody could fall pregnant and I felt I needed to approach it as Lindsey would approach it, as an individual rather than somebody that fits in a certain category.
"Robert's kind of the antidote to this rigid, structured life and he's so fun and charismatic and unpredictable and exciting. He just injects this new life into her and the life that she's got at the moment. I think it's completely natural. I believe that they could fall for each other, like they do. I think she kind of takes him by the hand and leads him through this minefield of stuff but at the same time he's only 16 and he brings with him all the baggage of being 16, whereas Lindsey has somewhat offloaded some of that with the discipline and the maturity that her diving regime has instilled in her."
Aisling knew Jack from the television workshops they attended when they were younger. She recalls her experience filming Dive with such an impressive cast – particularly some invaluable advice Ewen Bremner gave her.
"It was brilliant. I've know Jack since I was about 13, but we hadn't worked on anything together, just television workshops. Obviously, he's been doing so well and he's so much fun but at the same time very respectful and a proper gentleman. It was just a blessing to work with someone so talented but so lovely and funny.
"Gina's (McKee) got this serenity about her. She's so talented and it did make me think that's where I want to be. I really want to strive for what's she's achieved.
"I think I struck a chord most with Ewen Bremner and Kate Dickie. Kate I'm still in touch with now and she's so supportive of me, I think we're quite similar. She's been really supportive of me.
"Ewen said something that's really stuck with me, I loved working with him. I was finding something difficult and Dom said that he couldn't see something Lindsey was feeling and I felt like I was feeling it but it wasn't coming across. And then, Ewen said, never demonstrate emotion on the surface because then you're not actually feeling it. It looks like you're just doing some acting; adjust your emotion so that it comes out more obviously. It really stuck me and it's stayed with me in auditions."
Aisling's portrayal of a diver gave her a new found respect for the sport.
"I like the combination of it being about this amazing physical strength but then also about this precision and it looks so beautiful and graceful; divers have to be so strong to make these incredible movements. I didn't appreciate how skilled they are. Jenny (Aisling's diving double) said she might go to 2012, which is awesome. I've got my fingers crossed for her and I really hope she makes it."
Aisling sums up her thoughts about Dive by saying: "I don't think Dive is trying to do anything political or has an agenda, but I think what it does do is it tells the story of two individuals, not of a teenage pregnancy.
"So hopefully people will connect with Robert and Lindsey. They're flawed but they're good people. Maybe, it can dispel some of the ideas that go with teenage parents. All these ideas about irresponsibility and not being clever enough to say, no get rid of the baby, which is really silly because at any point in your life it's a very personal decision and you have to make a very considered judgement. The idea that just because they're a few years younger than what is considered to be a good age to have a baby doesn't mean that they haven't put a lot of thought into it. I think people assume the worst of teenage parents.
"I hope people see a 21st Century love story – that's what it is. It's completely devoid of sheen and gloss and neatness and the things you see in portrayals of love in film and telly. What Dominic does is get to the core of it and it is raw and messy but they love each other."
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