Los Angeles – Joanne Froggatt spoke to members of Los Angeles Screen Actors Guild after screening an episode of Downtown Abbey about the responsibility she felt in portraying her character, Anna, with integrity and truth in her darkest, most emotional scenes. Although even Joanne ached for her character, Anna, to tell Mr. Bates her terrible secret, both writer Julian Fellowes and historical consultant Alastair Bruce affirmed that in the 1920s Anna would have feared for the loss of her reputation, her job and her marriage despite her innocence.
Joanne Froggatt left her home in north Yorkshire at thirteen to go to stage school, booked her first professional job at fifteen, and has been working steadily ever since. Joanne adores her character of Anna. She did a lot of research before filming began including reading the book, “Keeping Their Place: Domestic Service In The Country House 1700-1920″ by Pamela Sambrook. Now, however, once she is in costume, through hair and make-up, and looking at the set, it is very easy to slip into character. Joanne even said that sometimes she wants to be more like the open-hearted, loyal, headstrong Anna.
Joanne Froggatt laughed when asked by member of the Screen Actors Guild if Julian Fellowes allowed any improvisation on the set of Downton Abbey. It seems writer Julian Fellowes chooses his words with great care and would like them spoken as written, “and rightly so” adds Joanne. What Mr. Fellowes tells his actors is that what they see written on the page in not necessarily what —or all– it means, so there is a great deal of room for interpretation within the confines of the script. Joanne shared that some of her simplest lines had the most emotional subtext.
Elyse Ashton – Anglophile Blogger