Specifically to my character Milly, she starts out as a wild child, a party girl. She’s self-centred, egotistical, takes her life for granted and takes her friendships for granted. And then, in finding out that she has breast cancer, she has a complete wake-up call. There’s a little bit of arrogance in her response to learning she has cancer, initially. Eventually, it changes her for the positive, because she learns to appreciate all the wonderful things in her life and all of the people in her life and all of her experiences and the time granted to her itself.
So, in a sense, for Milly to have this incredible friendship with Jess, that’s been lifelong, and her family supporting her and seeing her in a new light, she’s seeing herself in a new light and all of them in a new light. It’s life changing, her whole perspective changes. When you’re given a context of what your life is, you’re much more respectful of life and those that you share it with.
She’s by no means the good girl, or the demure girl, but she has her stuff together and has figured out who she is. Not so much what she wants to do, she’s not really the career type—if anything she’s more arty than business-like—but she always had a good head on her shoulders. She’s always known who she is and is comfortable with herself.
Milly, Toni’s character, is much more vivacious and outlandish—this firecracker that you can’t control! Jess is very good at being extremely direct with her. Historically, in real life and in the roles I’ve taken on, I’ve been more like the exotic one and it’s really nice to play someone who walks this fantastically un-boring straight line—its weirdly ironic and true to my own life. I like being Jess; I think she is a fundamentally good person.
I’m not a father—but the majority of my friends are and my brother is. I think Kit’s based on bits of them. I’m trying to be, as much as possible, as I would be. He has to grow up, but everyone has to grow up. He pursues his world in music and he seems very successful. He opens a store, because he’s obsessed with music. I love music and putting in equipment and know quite a bit about it, so I felt like I dragged bits of me, bits of my brother, and bits of other people into this family world. Bringing who that character is and bringing it to you and therefore embedding it into something very natural, rather than thinking ‘how would this person be as a father?’ It would be how I would be dealing with this circumstance, that I find myself in, at this age.
You grow up; you don’t ever want to grow up! No one ever says ‘It’s time to grow up now. I’m heading into my late thirties now and I’ve reached a point where I’m a solid, good, all-round person.’ Does anyone do that? I don’t believe that they do—they feel as chaotic as they always did, they just try and navigate their way through the crap, which is what he’s doing. He’s doing quite a good job of it!
In terms of what’s happening to Milly and how it impacts on Jess, I think Jago has a tolerance of all of that. He has to. Of course he understands that Jess’ best friend is in pain and he understands that she feels a duty to be there, that’s bound by their friendship, but at the same time, they’ve got their own lives. At times, it’s almost like Jago sees that Jess acts as a kind of punch-bag for her friend and is eager to protect her.