22 November 2004:

60 Second Interview

Have you been out salsa dancing?

Rachael: We have. They've hired a coach who comes and shows us the moves and we've been out to a couple of bars. If any readers are looking for a salsa bar in London, they should try Floridita in Wardour Street. The whole cast went and we knocked back far too many mojitos and strutted our stuff on the dance floor.

Do you do any relaxation techniques before you go on stage?

Rachael: Of course, everyone does. There's a real adrenalin rush. I enjoy it enormously. You have to warm up your voice before getting on stage. You also have to stop thinking like an English girl and start thinking like a Latin girl.

You always seem to be in something. Are you a workaholic?

Rachael: I love working. You learn so much from every single job and I am still hungry to learn. I am still learning the ropes so I have been known to take any job offered. I've turned things down that weren't right, of course. It's all about the script. If the script is good, you jump at it. I'm a curious kind of girl so I relish in it.

Your Spanish accent is sounding pretty good.

Rachael: My character is called [adopts accent] ConCHIta! And I'm just doing that for your pleasure. We have a dialect coach called Neil who gives us tips. The only way to do an accent is to work, work, work.

Neil sounds an unlikely name for a dialect coach.

Rachael: I know, but he is. The joy of being in something like this is the joy of being Latin for a while. The physical side of it is completely different to us. I like the Latin temper and music. It all makes it much freer for me as an actress. The last play I did was Oscar Wilde and it is all so prim and proper, hands in front of one's body etc.

Have you been smoking any cigars to get into the role?

Rachael: Not only can I smoke them, baby, but I can roll them, too.

Tell me it's with your thighs.

Rachael: No. That is one of the great myths. You're like every other hungry man in London who, when I tell them I can roll a cigar, asks me if I can do it on my thighs. They are rolled on the desk, where they should be rolled.

What kind of scripts were you offered after Tipping The Velvet?

Rachael: There were a couple of dodgy ones but it has not become a millstone around my neck. We made it two years ago and it is still very much out there. If, when I am 90, people are still asking if Tipping The Velvet was the high point in my career, then I will probably run a hot bath and slit my wrists. There were a lot of scripts that involved me getting my baps out by page two for no particular reason and those just did not interest me. Tipping The Velvet was about a girl discovering her sexuality, not about someone getting naked for fun. I didn't work for about six months after it. There were tempting offers made that would have led me down a different path, a celebrity-driven one instead of a work-driven one. I wanted to stay clear of that.

What were you offered?

Rachael: It's naff to name names. Obviously, lots that included nudity but it's more than that. You get asked to go to these awards and the other awards, wearing this dress and that dress. I am completely confused by the fact that celebrity has got so f**ked up and blown out of proportion. I am an actress - that is my job. Of course, one turns up for one's own premieres and part of the job is to do publicity, as I'm doing now. But I do not like that lifestyle. It is not part and parcel of becoming an actress.

Is it hard to remain anonymous?

Rachael: No. I am good at anonymity. I do it very well.

False moustache on the Tube?

Rachael: No, just don't go to the parties, don't wear skimpy dresses and stay off the red carpet. Then you are not constantly in the papers and not recognisable.

You seemed to be quite reticent talking about your mum earlier in your career. Are you now more comfortable?

Rachael: Yes, I am. I had a late case of teenage angst. I felt I was trying to start a career of my own and I was identified as someone else's daughter. In your twenties, that is quite frustrating. Now I am big enough and old enough to be nothing but proud of Ma and embrace our kinship. I love the fact we have the profession in common.

Did you ever not consider going into acting?

Rachael: No. It was the one thing I was driven towards. Ma kept work and family absolutely separate. We never had famous people around the house. I'd been on a film set once while I was growing up. I knew nothing about it, I had to start from scratch.

What was the dressing-up cupboard like?

Rachael: Amazing. I got hold of Mum's glamorous clothes from Bond movies and the like when I was about seven and decided to cut them all up to fit me. The glitzy clothes were torn to shreds.

Have any boyfriends asked you to borrow her black leather Avengers catsuit?

Rachael: Don't be so bloody stupid. Of course not.

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