Julie Hesmondhalgh was 'scared' of Broadchurch role

  • Bang Showbiz
  • 3 February 2017
Julie Hesmondhalgh

Julie Hesmondhalgh

Julie Hesmondhalgh has admitted she was doubtful about taking on the role of Trish Winterman in 'Broadchurch' in case she didn't portray the role in the right way and offended people

Julie Hesmondhalgh was "scared" of taking on the role of a rape victim in 'Broadchurch'.

The 46-year-old actress has admitted she was in two minds about accepting the part of Trish Winterman in the new series of the popular crime drama because she was concerned that the harrowing storyline would be portrayed in an incorrect way.

She explained: "Obviously, there's been a lot of discussion about the televising of sexual violence and the way that it's almost normalised in our culture now. Putting a face to that was something that I really had to think about. It took a conversation with Chris [Chibnall, series creator] - because I didn't know Chris and I didn't know what his politics were around this issue. I needed to know that it was going to be handled in the right way."

And the former 'Coronation Street' actress - who was known for playing transgender Hayley Cropper in the long-running soap - was baffled as to why she was approached for the role because she didn't think her look suited the image created in the series.

She said: "Even in the very fact that it's me that has been cast as the person who's experienced this... I think that's very interesting.

"I'm an ordinary-looking, middle-aged woman, rather than the classic 'young girl being chased through the woods' - I think that in itself is quite an interesting take on it.

"I had to look at some of my own internalised... misogyny really, because I had fears that the audience wouldn't buy that this could happen to someone like me.

"But obviously this isn't an act of sex and desire, it's an act of violence and it happens to all people - men, women and children."

But Julie's biggest challenge was ensuring that she did real-life rape victims justice.

She said: "I'm always really aware when you're playing a role like this that I am an actor doing it and I'm not going through it for real," she explained. "You've got to be careful not to be a twat about things like that!

"You can't say, 'Oh it's so hard for me, acting's hard...' when people are actually going through it. How much of a w****r would you be to say, 'It's been really, really hard...'

"I suppose the hardest thing is the responsibility you feel, because you do want to get it right, because you're representing a group of people who are actually going through something for real, and we wanted to show that in the best and truest way we can."

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