My role in lesbian drama Lip Service
I was trying to read the scripts for Lip Service, between scenes, covered in raspberry syrup, sat on a really cold and dirty set of a horror movie I was doing called Prowl in Bulgaria.
And two thoughts crossed my mind: Wow, Frankie is an awesome part, and... that'll never happen.
So with that in mind, I went to the audition, pretty much straight off the plane, bit scruffy, bit tired, bit shell-shocked from the horror film, probably a little bit of the crusty blood-syrup still in my hair.
I had a bit of a chat and a read. I really liked the producer, Polly Williams, and the writer, Harriet Braun, who were with Jill Trevellick (the casting director) but I fully expected nothing to come of it. Then my agent called me and told me they liked me and that I wasn't allowed to go to New York. (I had been planning to move there for a little while.)
I thought Frankie should have stayed in New York and everyone else flew out to see her. It may have messed with the story somewhat, but we all would have had a great time in NYC.
Next came a couple of chemistry read sessions - these are auditions to 'test' the connection between two actors in front of a camera. Sometimes there is something that just works between two actors, and you're not quite sure what it is. This was when I first met John McKay, director of episodes one and two.
It was quite interesting for me to stay in the room after the other actor's audition was over. Usually you get around 10 minutes to prove yourself for a team you could potentially be working with for four months.
It's pretty cool to hear the commentary after an actor has left the room. It was never nearly as bad as we actors always assume it is. Kudos, the production company, and Jill brought in some brilliant actors for all the roles.
Being cast as Frankie was fantastic. I couldn't wait to get my grips on her. She's dark and wild, troublemaking and impulsive. She flips from being intensely introvert to bolshie and provocative.
I remember John coining the phrase 'cold fire' for Frankie, referring to her emotional duality in any given scene. Because whatever Frankie appears to be thinking or feeling, there is quite often an intense contradiction underneath.
I liked that you couldn't put anything past Frankie, and that none of the characters would know what was coming next from her. That's quite exciting to play.
I got to work with some amazing actors on Lip Service. Not only were they abundantly talented, but really lovely people. We all got on really well, and although I didn't have much time to socialise whilst filming, we found our moments for dancing and debauchery.
I had very little time off. But I relished every moment of filming. We had to do some pretty intense scenes. And luckily we had a great crew around to support us.
Our director of photography, Neville Kidd, was fantastic. He shot Lip Service beautifully, and would make us feel very safe and comfortable, especially in the sex scenes. Even when his head was right by our bottoms.
One of the funny filming moments was the scene where Jay picks up Frankie from the airport. This is where the magic of editing is truly evident.
Because filming that scene, Emun Elliott (Jay) couldn't drive, so we had a driver double. This meant that during Jay's shots they had to fix a steering wheel to the passenger side of the car, and flip the shot in the edit.
Now, the car was quite small, so we had the driver double and Emun in the front, and I was sandwiched between John McKay and Neville and his camera. Giving my lines from the backseat, and vice versa with Emun for my takes.
If you look closely, you can see the shadow of the stunt driver's glasses on the seat next to Frankie. It goes to show how much work goes into what seems like a simple scene. I felt somewhat close to Neville and John after that.
We had a great costume and make up team on the show. They came at us with these fantastic ideas, and really listened to our thoughts and conceptions. I think every one of the characters has a very distinctive style that suits each of their personalities.
I also like the music in Lip Service. I think moments are picked out nicely with certain tracks, yet there isn't a need to have a score running under the whole show. Some times the silent moments are the most effective.
Funnily enough I listened to The XX pretty much every night when I was doing script work during filming, and one of their tracks has ended up scoring a very important scene for Frankie.
I actually had a Frankie soundtrack on my iPod. Songs that would either rile me up or cool me down or make me feel sexy etc. We stayed in rented flats while filming and I turned mine into what I thought Frankie's flat would look like.
I like photography myself, so I had all my cameras strewn about, films and negatives everywhere. I had a great postcard book of magazine covers of 1950s pin-ups, which I tore out and stuck everywhere. I also had a mirror covered in all things Frankie, from photos to poems to quotes scrawled in eyeliner and lipstick.
I think Fiona Button (Tess) thought I was mad. I probably was a bit. She didn't like hanging out in my flat, so we ran lines and drank tea in hers. Rock'n'roll.
It's always a combination of terror and excitement when a show you have done is going out. You never know what an audience will make of it. You wonder who you'll take to, who you'll like or loathe or want to get to know. Every character is so different.
I'm not sure I could choose between Tess, Frankie and Cat, as to who I would be friends with in reality. I think I would need a bit of all of them in my life. Even Frankie.
Ruta Gedmintas plays Frankie in Lip Service.