British actress Anastasia Griffith is best known in the States for her role as Kathryn Nolan/Abigail in ABC’s hit show Once Upon a Time. However, she has been acting for years and has appeared in numerous television shows including Damages, Lipstick Jungle, Royal Pains, and Trauma.
Most recently, Griffith has been appearing in the role of Elizabeth Haverford in BBC’s Copper. She sat down with CableTV in an exclusive interview to discuss her career and upcoming projects.
Q: How did you get started in acting?
Griffin: I kind of started, emotionally speaking, quite young. My mom was an actress, or was trained to be an actress, and had never really had the opportunity to work in the industry. She gave it up when she was young to be a mother. It’s not that I ever thought I could possible do it, but I think I grew up with this respect for the theater and for acting and for literature. So, it really started there.
Q: I know that you have done a few spots on television shows and then landed the role of Katie Connor for Damages. I wanted to ask you about that experience and having your first recurring role on a television show.
Griffin: Yeah, it was a dream come true. I made a decision to move from London to New York. I had an American passport and felt there wasn’t that much opportunity in London at the time, things were quite quiet. So, I figured I might as well. I wanted to live in New York for some time and I figured I might as well just go and figure it out. Within about three weeks I was starting on Damages. I was very intimidated by the talent involved, but very quickly I realized I had to settle into it, go for it, and make it mine. It certainly changed my life. It made me feel for the first time that I was a working actress.
Q: What did you like about [your Damages' character] Katie?
Griffin: I loved that character. I loved that she was so unhinged. I think she was someone who was so self-aware, not really conscious of the energy she was putting out. It gave me space as an actor to kind of fly off the handle a little bit and be quite bold with some choices. I thought she was passionate, funny, and a good time girl. I thought she was pretty awesome.
Q: How did the role on Copper come about?
Griffin: It was actually while I was shooting Once Upon a Time. My agent had heard about this role for awhile and [he told me], “There is this script and you are absolutely perfect for this role, it’s yours.” I actually had been on a push to do a play. I was literally about seven days away from going to Manhattan to do a play and they called me. I think I said to the Copper producers that they had to let me know by a certain date because I am not pulling out of this play at the last minute. They couldn’t pull their people together and they couldn’t put together an offer at that point. So, I get this call about five to six days before I am about to get on a plane and literally start rehearsals and they said it was mine if I wanted it. Then I was in this really tricky spot because I don’t feel comfortable walking out on people at the last minute, but my agent sat me down and we had a big chat about it and realized that we just couldn’t walk away from this one. It’s really what I have been waiting for ever since Damages ended for me. I have been waiting for a cable show that’s gritty and I loved the idea of doing period stuff.
Q: What is Copper about?
Griffith: Well, Copper is a period piece set in 1864 and now 1865 in Manhattan. It’s at the time of the Civil War, Lincoln is president. It’s about the community in Manhattan at that time. We really see it to begin with through the eyes of three men who fought together in the civil war. I play an English woman who comes in and marries a much older man in order to come to the free world, but she finds the upper society [in New York] to be very much like the society she has left.
Listen to Anastasia Griffith talk more about Copper, Trauma, and Once Upon a Time:
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