With a name like Perdita Weeks, trying to do anything other than period dramas must be pretty tough.
So to find herself the star of Hollywood horror flick As Above, So Below was a novel experience. “My name is synonymous with corsets and ringlets,” Weeks says. “It’s great to do something modern.”
The British actress plays go-getting archaeologist Scarlett Marlowe in the Paris-set chiller, out in cinemas this weekend. However, Weeks will soon find herself back in period costume later this autumn when she appears in ITV’s major mini-series The Great Fire, set while London burns in 1666.
Weeks will play Elizabeth Pepys, wife of the famous diarist Samuel Pepys, in the ITV drama starring Broadchurch’s Andrew Buchan.
“The Great Fire is more what I’m used to – being in costume and make-up for a long time, trying to be ‘period appropriate’,” says Weeks, who also appeared in Julian Fellowes’s ITV period drama Titanic.
“I think the English public loves period drama. I love watching them myself. It’s such a massive part of our TV tastes, even though as an actor you don’t want to be doing the same thing again and again,” she says. “There was a great ensemble in The Great Fire, and it was great not having the same parade of actors. Hopefully it will feel quite fresh and modern.”
However, she admits she wasn’t particularly thrilled about returning to period uniform. “It was enraging to be back in a corset again, but that’s my own personal bugbear. I cannot bear them,” she says.
It can’t be as bad as all that though, as she confirms she will be channelling period chic once again when she appears in the new series of BBC1’s The Musketeers. “I’m doing a fun little cameo in The Musketeers, so I’m in Prague at the moment filming,” she reveals.
Thankfully As Above, So Below shows that Weeks can do more than don heavy frocks: “As Above was the largest role I’ve had to date, which made it the biggest challenge,” she says. “With it being modern, I was able to put quite a lot of myself into her without having to worry about etiquette!”
As Above, So Below is released in UK cinemas today. Watch the trailer below…