Sophia Myles found learning the foxtrot for her role as Susan in Foyle’s War quite a challenge.
“It was a nightmare! I was dancing with Elliot Cowan, who plays Susan’s admirer Peter Buckingham. He is a dancer but I like to take the lead. We were both incredibly strong and in rehearsals we were fighting to win. We marked out all our movements on the floor, but on the day we filmed the ball scene there was nothing there to help us – surprisingly it was quite easy.
“I’ve trained for all the movements before, but on ice. I learned for The Snow Queen, a film that unfortunately collapsed, but it has become my exercise. I love ice-skating and I’m better on ice than on the ground.”
Sophia plays the downtrodden daughter of Lawrence Gascoigne (Oliver Ford Davies).
“Susan is repressed by her family and the society she lives in. She’s a victim of parental bullying and the cold, bleak nature of the house reflects the dynamic of the family. Her parents treat her like a 14-year-old instead of 22 and she still dresses like a child.
“She is sensitive, compassionate and full of life. The film sees her battling between the strong morals imprinted in her brain by her family and what she feels in her heart. She’s fallen in love with Peter, knowing she is going against her family’s morals. It’s a classic struggle against class. She also takes in an evacuee in an attempt to bring some kind of humanity into the house.”
Unlike her character, Sophia bonded with her on-screen parents.
“Cheryl Campbell plays my mother and we clicked immediately. I told her that I get very nervous and giggly in an eating scene and she confessed she felt exactly the same. So we were conspiring together not to laugh. In reality we both love spicy food so we are planning a night out together. And Oliver Ford Davies was dedicated and very frightening when he turned it on as my father!”
Twenty-two-year-old Sophia turned her back on a Cambridge degree to become an actress and her TV credits include Big Women, Oliver Twist, Nicholas Nickleby and Close and True. On film she played Susan in Mansfield Park, appeared as Johnny Depp’s wife in From Hell and starred in The Abduction Club, with Matthew Rhys and Nigel Hawthorne.
“In real life I’m energetic and hardworking, not a demure, corseted maiden. I’ve done a piece called Money Can Buy You Love for Channel 4’s Dogma TV strand where I play the girlfriend of a rent boy living in a council flat in the East End. It was refreshing to do something contemporary – such a change from high-heeled shoes and a corset, I felt like I was acting in my pyjamas.”
Adds Sophia: “I recently visited LA and had 53 meetings in three weeks. It’s an incredible city and I’d be quite happy to uproot and live there if the right projects come off. London is my home, but I’m a nomad and I’ll travel where the work takes me.”
September 2002; Publicity Release