Emily Watson has opened up about her new drama, A Song for Jenny.
What attracted you to the project?
It felt like a call to duty.
How did you approach taking on this role?
I met with Julie after reading her book. In a way it just sucked me in. It’s so powerful.
In what ways could you relate to Julie’s story?
I’m a mother. I’m a Londoner.
Did you meet Julie and her family?
We met before the shoot and she shared very intimate, raw and tender memories with me. She’s incredibly generous. I met the family at a screening.
Do you have any of your own personal memories of 7/7?
I was at home in London, heavily pregnant with my first child, about to go and get the tube. We turned on the radio and heard there’d been an incident – I remember so much confusion – and then the chilling moment when the bus explosion came – a power surge became London was under attack.
What did you find most challenging and which aspect did you enjoy?
Having to inhabit the deep traumatic grief and shock was pretty hard. Enjoy is not really the word – but there was a great sense of serious commitment amongst the cast and crew. Unlike anything I’ve experienced.
Do you think the drama is a fitting tribute to the anniversary?
I hope so. Obviously there are many stories from that day. Each unique. Everybody’s loss is equally important. Julie is a natural storyteller, and very significantly, a priest who lost her child to what purported to be, however twisted, a religiously motivated act. Her religious faith was very shaken – she’s no longer a priest. And though in honouring her daughter she drove herself to the edge, staring into a dark abyss, ultimately she chose humanity and chose love over hatred.