Jessie Cave, who played Ron Weasley’s not so secret admirer in the final Harry Potter films, talks to us about filming Great Expectations, family trips to Edinburgh, and obsessive book fans.
You play Biddy in the new Great Expectations, can you tell us about your character?
She’s formative of Pip; she grows up with him and teaches him, but he goes off to find his great expectations, and leave his humble beginnings for bigger and better things seemingly, but eventually he comes back. She’s very loyal and very nice and gentle and quite simple, really, in comparison to what London offered.
On paper it seems like Great Expectations was a sort of Harry Potter reunion, what with Ralph Fiennes, Robbie Coltrane and Helena Bonham carter starring alongside you. Did you get a chance to catch up?
On big films, it looks like that but you never really see anyone! sometimes you cross paths so that’s nice, to know that you were all a part of the same thing, which I get a kick out of, but on paper its staggering how many crossovers there are.
Your younger sister Bebe, plays the young Biddy in the film, where you around to watch any of her scenes?
No I wasn’t! She did so well; she’s actually in it more than me, it’s been such a lovely journey for both of us.
What was it like to work with Mike Newell?
He’s such a big personality, he’s lovely! To be around him is really exciting. I kind of do this really awful thing where I fall in love with every single director I work with; I was kind of infatuated with him for a little.
You seem to have an affinity with playing literary characters, what with Harry Potter and now Great Expectations. If there was one character from a book that you could play, which would it be and why?
I think I’d like to play Miss Trunchball from Matilda; it’s the only book I’ve ever read more than once. I thought the film was brilliant, in that she is just amazing, I think they should make a Miss Trunchball spinoff film.
You’ve also started doing stand-up, is it daunting putting yourself up there like that, I can imagine stand up as being quite an intimidating medium.
Book Club was really me doing stand-up in this guise so I was safe, but with stand-up you’re really vulnerable and exposed. I’m doing it for different reasons, which is incredibly indulgent but that’s the nature of stand-up in itself. I feel I’m a writer more than an actress, so it’s a way of testing out my writing, doing jokes I couldn’t get into my videos. it’s funny because nearly every show I’ve done I’ve been one of the few women, and it’s just nice to just be trying because so much stuff is just so bad, I’m not saying that I’m good at all, I’m probably horrendous, but I’m just trying everything I can, just trying to use my skills, whatever they are.
You took your one-woman show to Edinburgh earlier in the year, which again was focused around books and literature. Where did that idea come from?
Every Harry Potter fan I have met has been bizarre, but in the most wonderful way, book fans in general. It’s just a perfect breeding ground for comedy. I’m a very keen person by nature anything I love, I tend to get obsessed with. It’s not me making fun of fans of Harry Potter, Twilight, Hunger Games, not at all; It’s being one of them. It’s the launch of a book club but there’s a massive underlying storyline of rejection and heartbreak, so it was a good therapy for me and it was incredibly fun because I got to use all my art.
I use her in everything! She’s in Bookworm, so we’ve had a really lovely year on stage together. With Edinburgh I went up with my entire family, like my mum did props, my brother did sound, Bebe was in the show, it was a bit like the Brady Bunch; The Brady Bunch go to Edinburgh! So she’s very useful, and she’s annoyingly good!
Great Expectations is out now in cinemas.
Words: Siobhan Frew
Images: Idil Sukan/ Draw HQ