Jess Commons | Deputy Editor | Wednesday, 13 April 2016

Girl On The Train Actress Rebecca Ferguson: \'I Was Thinking, God, What Have I Done?!\'

Girl On The Train Actress Rebecca Ferguson: 'I Was Thinking, God, What Have I Done?!'

The Debrief: The actress fills us in on what we can expect from the film adaption of last year’s biggest book plus, working with dreamboat Sam Reid on her newest film Despite The Falling Snow

October 7th 2016. Got that marked in your diaries? Good. That’s when you’re going to see the film adaptation of Paula Hawkins' Girl On A Train, on the day it comes out.

Rebecca Ferguson, who is currently starring in cold war thriller Despite The Falling Snow, is set to play Anna, the love-rival of main character Rachel, (played by Emily Blunt). Hailing from Sweden, you recognise Rebecca from The White Queen, the BBC’s adaptation of the Philippa Gregory novels. 

In Despite the Falling Snow, Rebecca plays two roles. One is Katya, a secret agent in post-Stalinist Russia who falls for an idealistic young politician. Then, she plays Lauren, the niece of the politician, forty years in the future, who is determined to find out what happened to Katya.

The film is based on the much-praised 2004 book of the same name. In fact, the author Shamim Sarif directed the film too; a fact that was both scary and reassuring to Rebecca. ‘I had a ticket home every day in my pocket!’ She jokes. ‘I was lucky and happy to be able to work with a director. She was the source of all my knowledge. I was lucky to be able to work with a director who was the author because it meant we were wanting to be true to the story. I felt supported.’

Rebecca’s next film, Girl on a Train, is obviously also an adaptation of a book. Perhaps the year’s most anticipated one. ‘Don’t say that!’ She says.

‘I hadn’t read it yet.’ She explains, talking about her first meeting with Tate Taylor, the film’s director (he also did The Help). ‘He told me Emily was doing the lead and I just said basically “I want to do it. Anything that Emily’s in, I’m doing.”’ It wasn’t long before she realised just what a huge project she had signed up for though. ‘I remember being in Croatia on vacation and I walked around the pool, I’d just received the role, and everyone was reading the book. I was just sitting there thinking ‘Oh God. What have I done. What have I done?!’”

There’s been a lot of talk about the decision to move the film from Britain, where author Paula Hawkins set the novel, on the train line between Ashbury and Euston. For some reason, drinking gin in a tin on the commuter trains heading into New York doesn’t quite seem to make sense. Rebecca though isn’t worried. ‘I don’t know if I found the book intrinsically British.’ She says. ‘For me, what I read in the book was that it focussed on these three different women battling problems; love, abuse, substance abuse, sexual problems… anything. Basically life. We all experience them everywhere, it doesn’t matter if it’s America or England, Asia, Europe. The location doesn’t matter, it’s not important for the story that we’re telling.’

With that in mind, are the team trying to be as true to the book as possible? ‘Yes. We definitely were. That’s really important.’ Rebecca says. ‘Seeing Emily on set once I had read the book, I saw her come to life. I could clearly see Rachel when I was looking at Emily.’

The reason the book resonates with so many people is that it taps into that curiousity we all have with other peoples' lives. Rebecca agrees. ‘What I loved about it was it’s other people expectations about other peoples’ lives.' Rebecca says. 'I love the idea of Rachel sitting in her train and looking into this house where she used to live and imagining what their relationship is like.'

The trouble is though, when Rachel looks too hard, she doesn't like what she finds staring back. Sometimes, when you do go below the surface, you're going to wish you hadn't. 'We all imagine what other peoples’ lives are like.' Rebecca muses. 'And then we cut into the life and we see it’s not actually what we expect it to be.’

Despite The Falling Snow is out in cinemas nationwide from 15th April

Like this? Then you might also be interested in:

Should Girl On The Train Really Be Set In The US Instead Of The UK?

Podcast: Listen To Us Get Drunk And Talk About Paula Hawkins' New Book Girl On The Train

7 Scientific Reasons Why Reading Is Good For You

Follow Jess on Twitter @Jess_Commons

Tags: Boozing, Film, books