THE CASUAL VACANCY comes to Blu-ray™ and DVD from 15th June 2015
Interview with Abigail Lawrie (plays Krystal Weedon)
On face value, looking at Krystal’s character, you could easily assume that she’s just a messed up girl. How would you describe her and her background?
Krystal Weedon lives on an estate in Pagford, with her mum and her young brother Robbie. Her mum has struggled with addiction for all of Krystal’s life and she has to look after Robbie on her own. Krystal had a strong relationship with Barry before he dies. He was beginning to show her some sort of path and she had some hope for the future. When he dies she’s left alone again.
There’s something much deeper to her than just that, like the way she has to do everything for Robbie and the love and the care that she shows for him. She’s only 16 and I think it’s easy to forget that. She’s caught up in this mess with all of these adults and she’s still a child and quite vulnerable. It was that side of it that drew me to her I think.
You can definitely see two sides to Krystal and she’s not the stereotypical teenager who has gone off the rails a bit. There’s definitely a softer side to her and a naivety and vulnerability to her.
This is the first time you’ve done anything like this and Krystal is at the centre of the story. It’s a huge part for you, did you realise what you were taking on?
I don’t think I did really when I first started. But yes she is very central. That’s scary, but the script is amazing and Jonny (the director) helped a lot, he’s brilliant. I read the script and took it from there. Everyone’s helped out a lot and I’ve taken ideas from other people as well.
You’re from Scotland yet you mastered the West Country accent. How did you pick it up?
I don’t know really, I just tried it. I tried it at my audition and kept doing it. It’s weird when you have to go back to doing an accent after having a few days off, it’s trickier.
Krystal has an interesting choice of clothes would you say?
When you first see Krystal and she comes into school, I think Jonny wanted that to be quite shocking, so that everyone would instantly make that first impression of her. So that costume was really risqué, and shocking. It is very different from my usual clothes. I’m quite plain.
What do you think a character like Krystal and her story will say to the audience, do you think they’ll recognise her?
There will definitely be people who recognise it and I think the whole story is about helping each other, the collective responsibility, and living in a community. Treating others how you would want to be treated. That’s the message. There are a lot of people who’ve been through a hell of a lot. I definitely think that there are millions of Krystals out there.
Did you learn anything from the other cast members, there are some big names in there?
They’re very focused. I’ve never been on a professional set before. Keeley Forsyth, who plays my mum, was amazing and in how much she committed to her character, I found that incredible. I’ve never seen anyone work like that before, so I thought that was really great.
You’re a really interesting example for young teenagers of how it can be possible to come into this industry. What kind of advice would you give young actors who are looking to do the same?
Do as much of it as you can. Do school plays, that’s all I was doing before I did this. As well as little bits outside of school, in drama groups, but I was doing loads of school plays. Just do as much of it as you can. If you enjoy it, keep doing it.
THE CASUAL VACANCY, based on the global bestselling novel by J.K. Rowling, released on Blu-ray™ and DVD on 15th June 2015.