Anne-Marie Duff Interview

The former shameless actress now stars in an intelligent, British ensemble film

Former Shameless star – and wife to James McAvoy – Anne-Marie Duff, 37, returns for The Waiting Room. An ensemble relationship drama set in South London, she plays single mum Anna, who undertakes an affair with her best friend’s husband.

What made you want to do The Waiting Room?

When I first got on board, one of the things that intrigued me about it was that I thought, ‘Well, I’ve never told a story about middle class suburban people before. Will people care about it? Will it effect people?’ But it seems to have.

Do you relate to that suburban middle-class life?

It’s not my background, but I guess I am middle class. I’m an actress. I go to delis and buy things!

The opening scene is very arresting, when you and Rupert Graves are enjoying illicit sex upstairs, with your respective kids playing downstairs…

People can be a bit flagrant when they’re having an affair. Most of the time, there’s an element of it where they want to be discovered because they’re in crisis. They need the boil to be burst, in some way, for a resolution. I suppose she’s in the heartbreak of having broken up with somebody – but that’s a step forward as opposed to treading water.

Since leaving Shameless, you’ve had a wide variety of roles. Do you feel like you’ve had control over your career?

I do feel like I’ve been quite lucky and I’ve been able to be quite selective. I can be quite stubborn about work – if I don’t think it’s been any good. That said, I haven’t been in a position where I’ve had to support a child. Your priorities change at different points in your life, don’t they? I’ve been able to be creatively selfish.

Do you get hassled by the paparazzi, now you’re married to James McAvoy?

No. Much too boring. If I’m going to behave like a dick, I’m not going to do it in front of strangers with cameras. You have to pursue it a wee bit, and want it.

The Waiting Room opens on 6 June

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