Posted by admin on January 16, 2024
‘There was a lot of women in front of and behind the camera. It was invaluable to me. Not being a mother myself, there were a lot of unknowns.’

From a lethal hired assassin to a French noblewoman, Jodie Comer has proven time and again that she can turn her hand (and accent skills) to any role. Now, she has turned her attention to one of the most important roles of all – motherhood.

She plays Mother in The End We Start From, a movie adaptation of Megan Hunter’s novel of the same name. It explores the story of a new mother who must navigate a world that changes overnight after shocking floods change the landscape of civilisation. It’s a sweeping story of resilience and hope, told through the eyes of a parent struggling for her child’s survival, as well as her own. The project is helmed by incredible female voices, directed by Mahalia Bello and with fantastic supportive performances from Fantastic Beasts star Katherine Waterston as O Notting Hill’s Gina McKee.

GLAMOUR sat down with Jodie to talk the “invaluable” experience of working with women in front of and behind the camera, how her work empowers her and the honour of truly depicting mothers as everyday heroes.

What drew you to the story of The End We Start From and the role?

I was really compelled by how Mahalia wanted to explore motherhood, how this woman’s world is changed quite intimately through the birth of her son, but also simultaneously the world around her becoming gradually unrecognisable. It felt very nuanced.

So many blockbusters, particularly around the apocalypse, are told from the male perspective. How did it feel to tell it from not just a female perspective, but a mother’s?

I think what struck me and felt unique to me about the tone of the story was that Woman feels to me like an everyday hero. She feels like a woman who you either yourself relate to, or one that you know. I don’t think she’s either also aware of her own bravery, you know, she’s not afforded the time to dwell and take stock of what it is that she’s experiencing, because she’s having to push forward for the safety of her son.

I feel like that is very relatable to the human experience of how we can sometimes feel like, ‘I don’t know how I would cope with that or I wouldn’t be able to cope with that’. And actually, ultimately, when you’re faced with it, you somehow do, because you have to – you have no other choice. And I really connected with that, because it just feels like we’re speaking about something on a very human level.

Your work on Prima FacieThe Last Duel and now in The End We Start From tells very raw stories about the experiences and injustices of being a woman – why are these stories important for you to tell and bring to the screen and the stage?

I think they were important for me to tell because they resonated with me, I relate to them in a really personal way. They were stories that I knew my friends would also relate to – the themes felt universal and they felt important. And they were written beautifully. So for all those reasons, they just felt like a no brainer.

But I think ultimately, they provoked emotion in me. The films I’m enjoying at the moment are the films that are really kind of striking a chord with me emotionally. So that’s what I’m always looking for when I’m reading a script, it’s like ‘How does it make me feel? Do I care?’ I want to care about it. And that’s usually a good indicator as to whether I want to move forward with it.

This film is going to reach so many women who feel frustrated with the state of the planet and parenting expectations alike, and empower them. What feels empowering to you in your own life?

What do I feel empowered by? Honestly, it’s kind of a dull answer but my work really empowers me. Because I feel like each role I play, I find more of myself. I’m realising that more and more actually, I’m not necessarily aware of it when I make the choice to take a role, but I feel in the aftermath, I realise that I’ve learned so much about myself and therefore evolve and grow. I’m realising how integral my work is in that evolution of myself. So I feel like my work is incredibly, incredibly empowering to me.

That’s a gorgeous answer.

It’s a bit dull though isn’t it? My job? F**k off! Get a life! Go out! [Laughs] Get some fresh air! Get a hobby!

The film is directed by a woman and full of such amazing female performances by stars like Katherine Waterston and Gina McKee. What was that like?

There was a lot of women in front of and behind the camera. It was invaluable to me. Not only did it create a sensitivity and understanding, but not being a mother myself there was a lot of unknowns for me, and a lot of things I was having to uncover and understand, instincts that I didn’t innately have, because it wasn’t my experience. Even when you’re thinking about the physicality of what it is to hold a child, the relationship you have with your body after you’ve given birth, all these complexities.

I can think of so many moments where we would run a take, like simultaneously we would just keep the camera rolling, and I’d get little whispers here and there. Whether it was [cinematographer] Suzie [Lavell] on the camera, or Mahalia… Just little directions, about the way I was holding the baby, to move my hand, all of it was so unbelievably helpful and delivered with such kindness. It was great to have that environment around me when I was learning so much.

You and Katherine Waterston bring such amazing chemistry to the screen. Was this story of female friendship a big one for you to portray?

I love the relationship between Woman and O, and the relationship me and Katherine found. I think what it’s really celebratory of is that platonic love that we have with friends that I think can often become kind of sidelined, because we become so obsessed with romantic love and relationships. And actually, our friends are often the people who were there with us from beginning to end and, you know, see it through each time. So it was really lovely to explore that with her.

Katherine’s character, O, gives Woman, so much confidence because O is so certain in who she is, and invigorates Woman, and helps her find herself… I feel like with all the relationships within the film, there is such depth and a nuance.

During filming, and in the wider sense throughout other projects and your life, what do you do to take care of your mental health when you’re handling such big topics? What have you learned in that respect?

It’s funny, because I’d just done a play in London [Prima Facie], and then four weeks after we were filming The End We Start From. So I feel like the play prepared me for the shoots, because the shoot was very short. I was in every scene and time was of the essence, we were really having to move quite quickly. So I didn’t have much time to think about it. And in a way, I think that was probably quite helpful. I think you just have to take care of yourself. Go home, have a hot bath, you know, do those things that relax you.

Is there anything you’ve learned navigating the entertainment industry, in terms of staying true to yourself and accepting the roles that feel right for you and tell the stories you want other women to watch?

It’s such a cliché, but I think as I’ve gotten older and I have found myself more and have a deeper understanding of what it is I want, it becomes easier to navigate. I think for me, a big thing has always been as long as I’m choosing something for my reasons, and my integrity is intact, then it doesn’t matter if it’s a success or not. I know why I chose it. And I know what I’m personally getting from the experience.

I feel like if you do that, you can’t really go wrong. Because you only have yourself to answer to at the end of the day, you know yourself the best…  You have to sit with yourself. I would say just over time, it becomes a little easier to drown out the rest of the noise and focus.

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