An Interview with Amrita Acharia
Actress Amrita Acharia discusses her chilling new ITV thriller The Sister, honing her skills on Game of Thrones, and coping with the pandemic…
I sat next to Bertie Carvel at a press launch once and I had no idea he was ‘creepy’ Bob in The Sister. What was he like to work with?
He’s fantastic isn’t he? I didn’t have as many scenes with him unfortunately, aside from the one I did that is getting shown in the trailers quite a bit.
Russell Tovey’s pretty terrific as well.
Yes, when you get on set and start working with actors like that, it just makes you step up your game. No matter how good you might think you are, or how much you think you’ve got your character down, it’s just such a brilliant challenge to be there and get stuck into the meat of the story. You never know what they’re going to throw at you either. It’s very much an actor’s set where the performance and the story is just so important to everybody. So for people that really love the art of acting, it’s just a delightful script and set to be on.
I’m a big fan of Luther, so what was your reaction when you found out it was a Neil Cross piece?
It is a dream come true when you get not only a great story and also great writers, and obviously Neil Cross is such a household name. He’s an absolute legend when it comes to that kind of writing anyway. And then you hear who’s attached to it as well. It is hands down one of the best experiences I’ve had in my career. My reaction was: “Great! Can I speak to him?” We had a good waffle about the book this is based on, which I devoured in one night. He shared a lot of his inspirations for the script in the Q and As we’ve done. It’s so interesting to see how a mind like that works. And then get the privilege of being chosen to bring that to life.
“Been interesting to focus my time on other things”
It’s not a simple linear story is it?
No. It’s a really interesting piece to work on because it crosses three different timelines, and that in itself is quite an interesting challenge, and it was great to see how it came together in the edit, because that’s quite different to how it was initially on the script. It’s always interesting to see something after the editing process.
What was the most memorable day of filming?
It would have to be that scene I had with Bertie – the one that’s being shown quite a bit in the trailers – because of the rain, and trying to get the rain right, because of being soaking wet, and having to make sure you were the ‘right’ kind of soaking wet. There’s just so much going on with it. Holly (Amrita’s character) literally doesn’t have a clue and the audience doesn’t have a clue, so that whole scene is literally ’What’s going on?’ And it’s quite memorable because it sets the tone for the core of the story.
Acting aside, how have you been coping with the pandemic?
I’ve been all right, you know? I’ve been quite good at keeping myself busy, whether it’s writing or reading, and I have a home gym… well it’s a living room that I’ve filled with gym stuff. It’s really difficult to be away from family, and I’m somebody that’s used to travelling, and it’s really bizarre not to be away for work. It’s been interesting to focus my time on other things like writing, and once lockdown eased off a bit, it was good to continue with the second series of our podcast (‘Rule Not the Exception’) with my co-host. We literally got the second series this week. So we’ve been busy doing that. And I’ve been doing a bit of directing. I did a socially distant short film.
“The production was so vast”
One of your earliest TV roles was Game of Thrones. Did you have a feeling it was going to be so huge?
I read the books when I got the role, so I knew it would be epic. I had no idea of what to expect. I was very green and naïve, so obviously it’s brilliant when something you’d done just out of drama school becomes such a big hit. It was a really great first gig for me because it was such a massive production, but you were also working with such a nuclear core of people, like Emilia Clarke. I had that bunch of people around me for two years, so that was lovely, but the production was so vast and the locations so massive, and the storylines so massive… so it was brilliant not only to work so intimately with the four characters I was involved with on the storylines, but also with loads of different directors on loads of different sets and also loads of different countries. I love travelling, so anything that takes me to loads of different places is always interesting.
It would be nice to see you in the next series of Luther, because I’m sure Neil Cross has another series in the pipeline.
I should hope so. He keeps himself very busy.
We should put it out there that you want a part.
I think he knows. (Laughs). I was very enthusiastic. That would be quite fun, and fun to do something that’s so contrasting as well. That’s the joy of being an actor – getting the opportunity to transform and be different people, so whenever you get the chance you jump at it.
‘The Sister’ is on the ITV Hub