Anna Friel Talks About Pushing Daisies
Ladies and Gentleman, could all the ex soap stars that have become successful U.S TV stars please stand up? Oooooh. Ahem. Michelle Ryan please sit down (aaaawwkward!). All Hail Anna Friel.
She’s crossed the ocean and charmed her way into the hearts and TV sets of U.S audiences in ITV1’s hit show Pushing Daisies about a young man, Ned, with the unusual gift of bring the dead back to life. But like all such gifts, it has a few snags.
Here’s what our Anna has to say about it all…
“We all knew it was something special when we first got involved with the project but we didn’t realise other people would recognise it so quickly. It’s inventive and something very special on TV that people haven’t seen before.”
But it’s not been easy trying to explain the concept of this unique show to her home country.
“The most difficult thing is explaining the show to people, particularly in England. They say, “I’m sorry? What is it you’re doing in America? It sounds kind of weird.”
“It’s one of those shows that you really, really do have to watch. I just describe it as a modern romantic fairy tale.”
Pushing Daisies (ITV1, Saturdays, 9:05pm) is hard to describe because it breaks so many television traditions. Its vibrant colours and cheerily morbid outlook is breathtakingly refreshing and it has the critics raving.
“I knew from reading the script that it was going to be wonderful, but I didn’t realise how wonderful. We have to wear sunglasses on set sometimes because it’s so bright. It gives the show that story book illustration feel or a forties-style romantic comedy.
“I think the true sense of romance in this series is particularly special and goes back to all those 30s or 40s movies where all you’re waiting for is one kiss at the end, I think people love that. And I also think it makes them laugh.”
The Kiss is the big snag in Ned’s gift. Once he has brought Chuck (Anna Friel) back to life, he can never touch her again.
“We actually did try going for a week with no touching at all on set,” Anna says. “We didn’t do too well. We’re both – particularly me – incredibly tactile. By day three I was dead three times.”
Anna had a surprising influence for the character of Chuck: “I base the character on my daughter Gracie,” she says. “She’s experiencing life for the first time. She has a wonderment and sense of excitement. But to maintain happiness and a spirit and energy like this for seventeen hours a day, five days a week – has been far more testing than I could ever imagine.”