Is there anything you’ve been happy or nonplussed to lose or miss out on?
I did one of those 1 week intensive driving courses and didn’t pass my test. In hindsight I think its a good thing, I was nowhere near ready. I shouldn’t be allowed in charge of a moving vehicle.
If you could commission any painter in sculptor in history for a project, who would you pick and what would you have them render?
I’d love to have my portrait done like those great oil paintings of formidable looking women that hang in National Trust properties. I’d like to be a dreamy John Singer Sargent or a kooky Modigliani.
What seemingly small gesture reveals a lot about a person?
How a person treats waiters, it says everything.
What are you surprised that you can still remember from your time playing a character?
I played a character with photographic memory about five years ago. I can still remember the chunk of text I was supposedly recalling. “Oberleutnent von Diederich, 7th January, reassignment…” etc etc. I was just out of drama school and terrified of getting it wrong so I drilled it over and over and over. Sadly, I’m not that well prepared anymore.
What was the last choice you made that felt important at the time?
Whether or not to go to a very trendy, impressive party. I agonised about whether or not to go, in the end I don’t think anyone noticed I wasn’t there. I stayed in watching Grand Designs instead and had a lovely evening.
What is your least favorite aspect or element of being an actor?
I didn’t get into acting because I thought I was a suitable fashion model so I find the photo shoots and the desperate squeezing into expensive dresses a bit awkward. It’s also hard being away from your loved ones. Deep, gut wrenching home sickness is a killer.
Excluding the span of your life, which decade do you think you’ve watched the most films from?
I watch endless big shiny technicolour movies from the 1950s. Everyone is so beautiful and they’re likely to break into song at any moment which I find deeply pleasing. If I see the letters MGM on the cover, I’m in. No questions asked.
You’ve been a series regular on Peaky Blinders since 2013 – do you find it difficult taking hiatuses from a character? Do you have a routine or practice for getting back into the context of the show’s world?
I work quite visually so I have endless mood boards for every character. If I’m returning to something, I scroll through those and it all comes flooding back. Then I’ll start adding more, often things I’d been subconsciously storing up since the last time I was filming. My mood boards for Ada have been added to and tweaked for five years now, both Ada and I have been through a lot so it’s interesting to look back over them and see the changes.
Want more? Watch our behind-the-scenes film.
Sophie Rundle can be seen now in Jamestown on Sky 1 (UK).
As told to Paul Vaughan for TPJ
Creative Director & Photographer: Jessie Craig
Stylist: Francesca Turner
Hair: Fabio Nogueira
Makeup: Adele Sanderson