Q&A with Amber Rose Revah

[What Remains is] very contemporary and the themes that explored are just so ‘now’. You can’t switch off when you watch it. You’re drawn to each and every character and it’s so gripping."Amber Rose Revah
Category: BBC One; Drama

What kind of a woman in Vidya?

She’s a very pragmatic woman. She goes on her feelings and instincts. She’s not someone who sits back and listens to what people have to say, she’s more of a do-er. Hence her being with Michael as they are very different characters. You imagine that she’s gone against her parents wishes. She’s been raised by Asian parents but she wants to break the mould as she’s very independent.

Why do you think Vidya becomes so involved in the case?

Part of it is just out of boredom. She’s heavily pregnant when they move in but she likes to keep active. You see that in the first episode when she’s carrying boxes. She doesn’t like just sitting at home. She’s being told by everyone to keep it easy but I think, like a lot of women, when people say that it’s the last thing you want to do. Also, she feels a huge empathy towards Melissa. She wants to know more and understand who Melissa might have been and get to the bottom of what happened to her.

Do you think Vidya is lonely?

Yes. I don’t think that is inherent in her character but at this period in her life, being pregnant, certainly she’s lonely. She’s indoors and she’s not used to that in her everyday life. She’s not at work and she’s a working woman, Michael’s at work and she doesn’t have her family with her as she’s moved in to her new place. So the case is something that takes up her imagination and takes up her time.

What do you think her relationship with Michael is like?

They have a really good relationship. They are very different but I think that means that they can learn from each other. They are attracted to each other’s qualities that they don’t necessarily have in themselves. He’s charming and bold and outgoing and I think possibly he’s very different to who her parents would want her to marry, so part of it is rebellion. She’s also a realist. She’s pregnant now and it wasn’t planned but she’s going to get on with it and make it work.

What is her relationship with Len like?

That’s a really interesting one and was really interesting when we were filming because that was something to me that I discovered as we went along. You’ve got these characters that are just so different. They are different ages, she is this symbol of birth and youth and growing and he’s retiring, he’s slower and has low energy. But they both have very similar morals and principles and they are both really determined individuals. While at first they are a little bit at odds with each other, the more that they realise that values wise, and about important things, they are similar, they slowly start to warm to each other. They slowly try to understand each other and want to understand each other. That’s a really nice relationship that flows through the four episodes and they become crucial to each other.

How does Vidya feels about becoming a mother?

She’s excited. She’s young and this wasn’t planned but she’s very pragmatic. She wants to carry on doing stuff and to paint and to hang curtains. She’s looking forward to it and will see how it is when it happens.

What was it like playing a pregnant woman? Did you have to do a lot of research?

It was really interesting because I haven’t played anyone pregnant before and I’m going on to film a film where I’m pregnant so I think now because of the age I’m at I’m going to be playing quite a few pregnant people! It was the first time I’d played someone pregnant and it was fascinating.

There was one day when I was sitting in a coffee shop reading books on pregnancy and there was this really heavily pregnant woman next to me. I asked her if she’d mind if I asked her a few questions and we sat there for an hour and a half whilst I quizzed her about everything, such as how she’s feeling and what her worries were. I hope she watches What Remains! It was so beneficial to me playing the character and it meant that myself along with Coky (director) dispelled a lot of very common ideas about what a pregnant woman is like. Coky and I both had the same idea that she wouldn’t hold her belly. You have a tendency to do that when you’re wearing a belly, to rest your hands on it, but I found out is that you don’t do that at all when you’re pregnant. It’s a part of your body that has just grown and you walk around as normal.

What attracted you to the role and to What Remains?

When I first got the call from my agent she told me the people involved and I thought that was great and wanted to read for it. She sent the script over and, frankly, that clinched it for me. I really wanted to do this job. The script was brilliant, it kept me engaged. I read the first two episodes, because that’s all they would send me, so I called my agent and asked her to try and get the other two episodes as I really wanted to read them. After I’d gone to the first reading and they called me back for the second reading they sent over the other two episodes and I was just completely taken over. I was just so happy when I got the call saying they would like me to play Vidya because it was something I really wanted to work on.

What was it like working with the rest of the cast? You did a lot of scenes with Russell Tovey and David Threlfall…

What can I say, it was great! Russell is an enigma. He’s so interesting as a person and as an actor. He’s so true to himself and he’s so down to earth and I just find that endearing. It was lovely to play that relationship with him because he’s so open which meant that we were able to have that realism on screen. With David, as with his character, it was very interesting getting to know each other and bouncing off each other’s dynamics. They were all such experienced and such knowledgeable actors that working with them all was a privilege.

Do you think what has happened to Melissa in What Remains is reflective of society today?

I just find it very strange and I think that’s what drew me to the script so much when I read it. I have issues with Facebook and Twitter. I think they are brilliant for a lot of reasons but I also think it’s weird and allows people access to everything through a screen, not in reality. The fact that this girl was dead for two years and no one had noticed or contacted anyone is such a disconcerting occurrence. It’s horrid, strange and confusing and it’s possible. I’ve always said about London, because I was born here and grew up here, it’s so many people to feel so isolated amongst. That phrase resonates so much with a lot of people that live here because you’re surrounded by people but you can feel so lonely and people can disappear.

What can audiences look forward to about What Remains?

I think the writing makes it stand out, and the characters who are so compelling. It’s very contemporary and the themes that explored are just so ‘now’. You can’t switch off when you watch it. You’re drawn to each and every character and it’s so gripping.