A three-part contemporary ghost story
When she took on the role of care assistant Hannah Ward, young actress Jodie Comer didn't anticipate she would be singing the title song.
"Nothing really got mentioned about the singing during the audition , so when it came round and they asked if I could sing I was like ‘Oh, OK!’ – I’m no Whitney Houston, but I can hold a tune! I used to sing when I was into local theatre but gave it up to concentrate on dance.
"I liked singing as Hannah though, as it really shows all aspects of her and adds to the whole atmosphere. They ended up using it for the opening titles too. When people hear it, they’re probably going to be expecting the Simon and Garfunkel version but ours is much more traditional and quite different. The version I sing is really good for the atmosphere of the episodes as it is quite eerie."
Describing her character, Jodie says: "Hannah works in a care home but it’s not her first love, she wants to go to university and spread her wings, but because of the circumstances at home she can’t. What really attracted me to the role is that she is just so compassionate and caring and she has this ability to keep things together, even when there’s so much going on at home, the fact she’s still able to look after other people and forget about her own problems is inspiring.
"I like that she is the rock in the family; her mum and brother really rely on her. Throughout the series she becomes a rock for the other characters too and they confide in her and trust her. I love how strong she is, her personality and the relationships she forms with other people - especially with Tom (Michael Palin)."
Jodie and her dad are big fans of the Python films so for Jodie it was thrilling to be working so closely with Palin.
"Hannah takes an instant like to Tom. Tom doesn’t speak to anyone much, and doesn’t give much away, but they have this relationship where Tom opens up to her and trusts her, which says a lot about the two of them. She genuinely cares about him and worries about his welfare, as well as him as a person. She wants to know everything about him and even goes to the extent of breaking the rules in the care home as she is determined to find out everything about this elderly man she has met. There’s a lovely moment with Tom where his youth really comes back, and when he is around Hannah he is like a kid again, which is relevant to the story about him not having his childhood. He might be an old man, but he has so much youth and life about him still. Their relationship is completely unexpected but it was lovely to film these scenes with Michael."
And Jodie continues: "I really like the relationship between Hannah and Rob (Mark Addy) too. She really doesn’t like him at first and has no time for him, but as the story progresses they become close and she speaks to him about things she wouldn’t talk to anyone else about – about her dad, her mum, the situation at home. She usually just bottles everything up as she doesn’t have anyone to talk to and then Rob comes along and, eventually, she really opens up to him. He’s the closest male figure she has had since her Dad passed, and while he is by no means a replacement, she really relies on Rob a lot towards the end."
While Jodie didn't do any specific research to play the role of Hannah she spent hours writing notes and poring over the scripts so she knew her character inside out.
"I just built up how I imagined her to be and I started doing that from the audition process, which I don’t usually do. Because I loved the script so much I found myself making notes on the side and picking up little things. I did spend a lot of time just imagining what it would be like at home, not having her dad, doing full day shifts at work, and then having to pick her brother up from school and cook dinner.
"That was so hard, as I’ve never known anything like what Hannah goes through – her dad died when she was barely a teenager and she has this guilt weighing on her every day. She resents her mother for not fulfilling her role as a parent. She lost her dad, but at the same time she kind of lost her mum too. It’s not the right way, but that’s how her mum coped with the death of her husband – drinking, sleeping all day and having different men at the house – people deal with grief in different ways, but at the same time Hannah is thinking ‘I’m coping, why aren’t you?’
"She hides this though, she never ever feels sorry for herself – she’s never dwelling on it as she is just not like that. What I love most about her is that she draws everyone together, whether it is at home or the care home. She is always taking care of people."
Jodie says she is terrified by ghost stories but by far the scariest thing she had to do while filming Remember was film under water.
She recalls: "Filming in the tank was really scary. I had done all the training with the specialist scuba divers the day before and was fine, but when I got into bed the night before I had things going over in my mind and convinced myself I wasn’t going to be able to do it. When it came to filming it I completely lost my bottle and could feel my eyes filling up with tears. They managed to calm me down and amazingly enough I managed to do the shot in one take!
"It was about as deep as a two storey house – which is pretty deep! We had about seven people down there with us watching us and making sure we were OK. I just had this terrible feeling and worked myself up shaking my head and saying I couldn’t do it. In the end I just closed my eyes and got on with it and it was all fine."
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