Lovely to meet you Georgia! So…you play the character Joan Blackett in ITV’s new drama series, The Singapore Grip, can you tell us a bit about this character and what attracted you to the part?
Lovely to meet you too! The show takes place in Singapore during World War Two, and Joan and her father Walter (played by David Morrissey) are plotting, scheming, and fighting to protect their thriving rubber empire as their world crumbles around them. I was so enthralled by Joan from the very first time I read the script; she is intoxicatingly charming, terrifyingly ruthless, and completely bamboozling. I remember as I was reading it I truly had no idea what she was going to do next, and deciding how to bring that energy to the screen was a really exciting challenge.
Do you think it is important to have more characters like Joan on screens?
It’s definitely exciting to see a young woman on screen who is anything but passive; she is in control of every relationship she enters and pursues her objectives aggressively and unapologetically.
Would you and Joan ever be friends in normal life?
The show is a satire, shining a critical spotlight on the British rule, and Joan represents some really nasty realities of Britain’s colonial history. I don’t imagine there’d be a single issue Joan and I would see eye-to-eye on…
The show was filmed on location in Malaysia. The sets, props and costumes all look so exquisite. What was it like filming in Malaysia and did you get to keep any of the gorgeous costumes you got to wear in the show?
Filming in Malaysia was such an incredible experience. There were logistical challenges that came with that environment – searing hot temperatures and relentless thunderstorms, for example – but it’s such a beautiful and varied country and I woke up every day grateful and gobsmacked to be experiencing this new place. Joan had upwards of 25 costumes in the show, all of which were handmade, and two of them did make their way home with me: a mustard yellow two-piece set with these funky flared shorts, and a backless silver floor-length gown, both of which I wear in the first episode. Where will I wear them? I’m not sure. But I have done a bit of flouncing around my flat in the dress in some particularly mad lockdown moments!
How did this project differ from others you have completed so far?
Joan is certainly the largest role I’ve played, and this was my first time working outside of Australia. What was really nice though was that it reinforced for me that the thing I love about film sets is pretty universal; that magical feeling when the machine is moving, and a huge group of passionate individuals combine their skills to deliver a story they’re excited to tell. It’s a pretty extraordinary alchemy and I’ve felt it in tiny indie films, through to huge big-budget sets, and I’m thrilled to be a part of it every time.
I noticed that you are also heavily into music. Do you play any instruments? Do you have any other passions/hobbies?
My Dad’s life motto is ‘A day without music is a day wasted’, so our house was always full of it growing up. I did a play back in my home state of Tasmania not long after finishing drama school, and my Dad used those 6 weeks that I was home to teach me to play the bass so that he, my two brothers and I could play a gig together (I should say they played…I mostly fumbled!). It’s now become tradition that we play a few gigs every time I’m home to visit, only now it’s grown to seven Blizzards as we’ve got two of my cousins and an uncle involved too. I like to sing and I recently got a beautiful blue Ovation guitar that’s been keeping me good company during lockdown, but for me music’s about my connection to my family.
I would describe myself as a serial hobbyist, constantly picking up new crafts, fiddling with new instruments, studying new subjects…lately I’ve been doing a lot of knitting, crochet, and calligraphy, but as long as I’m doing something creative every day then I’m happy.
How has life in lockdown been for you? Have you taken up any strange and wonderful hobbies?
My interests and motivations have come in waves…way back at the beginning I decided to remedy how poor my geography skills were and buried my head in a map until I could label the globe. After my flatmate and I rewatched Arrival I started studying linguistics pretty obsessively so that I could take on the Amy Adams role if we added ‘alien invasion’ to 2020. After we watched Dark, a German series which involves a lot of time travel, we spent a lot of time researching the concept and construct of ‘time’, but I found that a bit distressing and had to stop throwing theories around when it felt like my brain was going to explode. It’s meant we’ve had to become careful and conscious about what we’re consuming; as soon as we realised we were falling down a ‘true crime’ hole last week we swiftly put on Frozen 2 to rebalance the flat.
I know probably difficult to answer with the industry being on pause at the moment, but what types of jobs/roles would you like to take on next?
The shows and characters that really excite me aren’t necessarily genre specific; lately I’ve been loving Michaela Coel’s I May Destroy You, Sarah Snook in Succession, Daisy Edgar-Jones in Normal People, Jodie Comer in Killing Eve, Issa Rae in Insecure, and of course Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s Fleabag. It’s been disheartening at times watching the industry take a pause, but I’m feeling really inspired after having so much time to watch so many extraordinary women on screen.
Which female roles/characters have inspired you over the years?
So, so many, but one I always come back to is Tatiana Maslany in Orphan Black. Her performance in that series still leaves me astonished; she plays multiple clones and brings the most unbelievable nuance and detail to each character; I had to constantly remind myself that each of them were her.
Lastly, if you were stranded on a desert Island and could only take three items with you, what would they be and why?
Oh wow. Ok. I’m going to go with my gut and not overthink this because I know myself and otherwise I’ll be here all week… A radio, because being stranded on a desert island sounds pretty bleak and when things feel pretty bleak I generally find throwing my limbs around to some music helps.
My guitar, because with all that extra time and nothing to distract me perhaps I would finally practise as much as I wish I did. And some kind of language learning resource (is that an item?), because if I’m not able to fall down YouTube rabbit holes of watching polyglots describing the 11 languages they speak (which I find endlessly fascinating), maybe I could use that time to become one of them.
Georgia can be seen in The Singapore Grip on ITV, Sundays at 9pm