Brenda Blethyn recalls doing an improv scene and appeared on tv
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Brenda Blethyn is probably best known for playing detective DCI Vera Stanhope in the hit ITV drama Vera but the actress has played numerous roles during her 40 years on the stage and in television and film. Speaking at an event hosted by the University of Kent, the actress opened up about her role in the 1996 movie Secret & Lies.
In the film, Brenda plays a working-class white woman who has been contacted by her long lost daughter Hortense (played by Marianne Jean-Baptiste), a successful black eye doctor.
During the conversation, the host asked Brenda: “When you’ve been involved in a piece of work like that which you must know is something special and you know is going to be special to people, do you ever go back and watch yourself again?”
Brenda replied: “Yes I do sometimes and sometimes I’m so embarrassed, I think, ‘Hope nobody else sees that.’
“Marianne Jean-Baptiste and I when we were promoting Secret & Lies, we went all over the world.”
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“The furthest we went was South Korea, Rio, where they lost all our luggage,” she continued.
“There was one place in San Francisco we went and we had to wait for a Q&A for the audience
“We were all dressed up representing the film dressed nicely and one lady came out and said, ‘Oh my Ms Blethyn excuse me.’”
The Vera star explained she asked the flustered guest if she wanted to sit down.
“I thought, ‘Oh wow I must have really moved this woman she must have thought I was marvellous,’” Brenda added.
“She said, ‘You are wearing the best pair of shoes I’ve ever seen.’”
In Secret & Lies, Brenda’s character denies Hortense is her daughter at first before embarking on a touching journey of bonding with her long lost daughter.
The host went on to quiz Brenda on how she prepares for emotional roles.
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She asked: “There’s something very touching about that story in Secrets and Lies that relationship.”
“Where do you get that from? A relationship you may well not have had.”
“It’s really doing the homework actually to be thorough and understanding.
“You’ve got to have lived in the world to understand some things.”
“I’m often asked if there’s any of ‘you’ in the characters you play,” she continued.
“Well, there’s got to be something because of my experiences.
“It’s just trying to understand those emotions really and where to apply them.”
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