Jaime Winstone turns 30 this year and she has just achieved an acting first. This week she makes her radio drama debut in Diane Samuels’s modern-day retelling of the Greek myth of Psyche, set in the fashion world.
Winstone plays Lizzie, the model and muse of Aphrodite, in a tense and beguiling drama whose themes of creative inspiration, of gazing and being gazed at, are probably things the second daughter of hard-man actor Ray Winstone knows a lot about.
After all, she got her first taste of acting at 17, when she was cast in the 2004 improvised London gangster film Bullet Boy. Plenty of gritty roles have followed since, notably the violent Kidulthood (2005) and the award-winning Made in Dagenham (2010), alongside all the celebrity sideshows open to hip young guns, from modelling for Vivienne Westwood to appearing on the cover of glossy magazines.
So it’s probably not unfair to say that the tone of Samuels’s soft, mysterious play feels a million miles away from the hard-edged contemporary work Winstone is normally associated with. But she is nothing if not full of surprises – not least that she is a fan of drama on the radio, tuning in when driving from her London home to her parents’ house in Essex, something she tries to do as often as possible.
“I have a little sister [13-year-old Ellie Rae], and I think it’s important to see her at this stage as much as possible,” she says of her regular visits to the family home in Essex. Despite the breeziness of her tone, the subject of her family is one area during this interview that prompts an interjection from her agent who is listening in to our conversation – anxious, perhaps, that she’ll be asked about last summer’s breakup with Alfie Allen, another actor scion of performing royalty (Keith Allen).
What does she talk about with her dad? Do they avoid discussing the business, or does he give her advice? “It’s pretty hard to get home and have a good time with your family. I just go and hang out. But I definitely ask my mum [actress Elaine McCausland] and dad for advice. They are great judges of character.” Her dad, Winstone says, is always encouraging her to trust her “instincts” and “gut feeling”, both when she’s performing and choosing roles. Still, it doesn’t always work. The sex and violence in Kidulthood prompted Ray to admit in an interview that he would like to “kill every guy in the film”.