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7 Questions with… Two Weeks to Live's Maisie Williams: ‘Sian Clifford and I felt very strongly about our voices being heard during filming’
Game of Thrones actress Maisie Williams answers seven burning questions about her dark new comedy Two Weeks to Live, on Sky One with NOW.
Maisie Williams is best known for playing the headstrong and independent Arya Stark in HBO’s long-running fantasy series Game of Thrones.
And despite being set in the real world, Williams’ character in new Sky One series Two Weeks to Live indeed shares some similarities with the popular GoT character.
The Bristol-born actress, 23, plays a young misfit called Kim Noakes who has grown-up in almost total isolation from the outside world - making her fearless and capable.
Williams stars alongside Bafta-winning British actress Sian Clifford in the six-part series, with Fleabag star Clifford playing Kim’s survivalist mother, Tina.
Here, Williams answers seven burning questions about the show, including what she brought to the character, what it was like working with Sian Clifford on set, and how she felt doing the stunts for the show...
1. Tell us about your character Kim Noakes...
Maisie Williams: She is entering the real world for the first time and she is almost like an alien really, the way that she sees the world. There are so many things that go on in the world that we think are normal, but she questions them constantly. She’s like a kid in a candy shop. She’s very excited by what she’s learned but she also realises that the outside world is difficult and not all it’s cracked up to be.
She’s always felt really independent and very capable but emotionally [as the series progresses], she’s realising that being alone is going to be a big step for her and although she can probably handle herself physically, mentally she’s facing huge battles every day.
2. What’s Kim's relationship like with her mum Tina?
Tina [Noakes, played by Sian Clifford] raised Kim alone in the middle of nowhere and because of that, they’ve got a very tight relationship, but I wouldn’t necessarily call it a very typical relationship.
Sian really took the role of Tina and turned it into something beautiful. Tina almost looks at Kim like a protégée, and although that’s been her reality her whole life, she realises that once she gets into the outside world, she wants something different.
3. How much did you bring to the character compared to what was in the script?
I knew it was always going to be very funny and the characters were very interesting, but we were very keen to make them real. I think you can write very funny people but not necessarily relate to that character in your own life so between myself, Taheen [Modak, who plays Jay Malik], Mawaan [Rizwan, who plays Nicky Malik] and Sian, we were very keen to route it back to something that is relatable.
4. Was it a collaborative process?
It was very important for Sian and I to voice our opinions. Although the show features two female leads, it was ultimately created by men and we had a male director, so there were moments where we just felt very strongly about our voices being heard.
5. Did having the comedy actors around on set give you more confidence?
It was a very safe atmosphere on set and I felt like I could be silly and not feel embarrassed at all. Mawaan [below with Williams], who is a comedian first, to watch him, the physical comedy and see how he creates something out of a couple of lines on the page was really magic.
With Kim she’s never really that funny, her role is to allow other people to be funny around her really. She never really gets the joke or understands how she sets other people up and I’m OK with that because I get to be a part of something which is really good.
I’ve never had so much fun on a job because everything I do is just so painful and miserable. You’re trying to create something harrowing and awful but when you’re making something fun, the whole atmosphere is brilliant even if I am the straight woman!
6. How was it working with a female stunt coordinator?
[Jo McLaren] was really amazing, she choreographed everything so well and I really enjoyed working with her. There was no ego! We spend so much of the show seeing Kim outside of her comfort zone in a really bizarre setting so it was pretty cool to show the audience what she does find natural, so we had a big fight early on in the show.
I’ve done a lot of combat before but it’s rare that you get to tell a real story through a stunt sequence. We just wanted to have a gruesome fight without it being overly gory or difficult to watch. It’s definitely not the most realistic fight you’ll ever watch but it is certainly one of the more entertaining ones.
7. Kim and your Game of Thrones character Arya Stark both kick ass. How do they differ?
Kim is allowed to be a young woman and take her time to find her place in modern-day society and that’s something that Arya wouldn’t be able to comprehend. It does feel like an evolution for myself. All of the wonderful things about Arya felt very familiar when playing Kim but it’s nice to play someone who’s more my age, more feminine and who gets some romance.
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