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Interview with Sarah-Jane Potts

By Luan Greenwood

What’s your background?

I’m a working class Yorkshire girl who managed to find my way into the Arts through sheer determination.

You’ve had a very diverse career in film and TV, how is this project different to your previous work?

Naqqash is probably the youngest director I’ve worked with who has a huge artistic and social voice that demands to be heard. I respect and am interested in that in equal measure. Not all jobs are like that. Some just pay the bills. Others turn your brain on. Those are the good ones.

Your character is the only one with real agency, what was your approach when playing her?
I learned my lines, turned up on time and let myself be directed!

How would you define your character?

She is the officer who questions the Frenchman. She speaks entirely in Northern idioms, phrases, and dialect which become untranslatable to the Frenchman and his translator. She is responsible for the breakdown of communication and therefore the fear, confusion and judgment that takes place.

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Is your character’s function to provoke the others into revealing certain things?
It wasn’t necessary for me to have made these choices or answered these questions to be able to play her. Sometimes it’s as simple as learning your lines, acting with honesty, respecting your director and your script even if it’s not linear. We can get too caught up in having to know all the information and all the answers. Life isn’t like that.

What was working with French actors like?

I loved the experience. I think it added a really different depth to what I’m used to, an authenticity. We had real language barriers and knots in our understanding; thinking with an English brain and a French brain, the play on words, the accountability of words, how phrasing is perfectly clear to me but completely alien to a French person. It really helped build the sense of alienation for our lead character.

Do you have a favourite memory from rehearsals or filming?
I just very much enjoyed being a part of this project and working with Naqqash, his intellect and imagination.

‘Stock’ will premiere on Sky Arts in Spring 2019. For updates, follow @StocktheFilm on twitter.