British actress Imelda Staunton doesn’t believe her character in the film Finding Your Feet is someone you’d want to be friends with.

“She’s quite a snobbish sort of woman, and I love that she’s got this journey to make, so what I have to portray is this woman who you think, ‘Just lighten up,’ or, you know, ‘Just be nice to people. Don’t be so, you know,’” Staunton told uInterview exclusively. “I have to play that woman.”

In Finding Your Feet, Staunton’s character, Sandra, finds out her husband has been having an affair with her best friend right as he’s about to retire. Her life then shatters, and she must figure out whether she will stay set in her ways or make some changes in her life to embrace the future. Staunton said she enjoys playing Sandra because she isn’t perfect.

“I can’t understand why she’s so upset,” Staunton said. “You know why she’s upset. She’s been so utterly embarrassed. She’s mortified, and so I find that a challenge because it’s a flawed character, and they’re so much more interesting to play.”

Staunton already knew several members of the cast before filming started, which made the experience enjoyable for her.

“Well, Tim Spall and I were at drama school together,” Staunton said. “Celia Imrie and I have known each other since the mid-’70s, so, you know, couldn’t get much more relaxed on set if you tried. We all have such respect for each other, and Jo[anna] Lumley and David Hayman. That makes it very easy, and you get a shorthand and our director sort of insists on a very fun-loving set to work on. And also, it was filmed very near where I live, so my goodness me, it was all happening for me, really. It was a perfect combination.”

Read uInterview’s full, exclusive interview with Staunton below.

Can you describe your character in the film?

Imelda Staunton: Well, this is a story about a woman who has, in her mind, the perfect life. Her husband, he’s a Sir, they live in a wonderful house, they have money, she belongs to the tennis club, and he’s about to retire and she’s looking forward to the retirement. Anyway, she then finds out he’s been having an affair with her best friend, so her life is shattered. The film is about what happens next and how she has to cope with this huge change in her life, and she goes and lives with her sister. That’s not easy, because they haven’t seen each other for 10 years, so there’s a lot of problems, and this film is about how this can get on with her life, whether she’s going to stay the same — whether she’s going to be stubborn and say, ‘This is how I am. I’m not changing’ — or whether she’s going to make some changes and embrace the future.

How did you empathize with your character?

IS: Well in a way, whatever’s on the page, that’s what I do. And I don’t have to — you know, you empathize, but I also have to play a woman — you wouldn’t want her as your best friend particularly when this film starts. She’s quite a snobbish sort of woman, and I love that she’s got this journey to make, so what I have to portray is this woman who you think, ‘Just lighten up,’ or, you know, ‘Just be nice to people. Don’t be so, you know.’ I have to play that woman.

I can’t understand why she’s so upset. You know why she’s upset. She’s been so utterly embarrassed. She’s mortified, and so I find that a challenge because it’s a flawed character, and they’re so much more interesting to play.

Did you have a favorite scene that you enjoyed filming?

IS: I did quite like diving into a very, very cold pond in November.

What was it like working with an all-star British cast?

IS: Well, Tim Spall and I were at drama school together. Celia Imrie and I have known each other since the mid-’70s, so, you know, couldn’t get much more relaxed on set if you tried. We all have such respect for each other, and Jo Lumley and David Hayman. That makes it very easy, and you get a shorthand and our director sort of insists on a very fun-loving set to work on. And also, it was filmed very near where I live, so my goodness me, it was all happening for me, really. It was a perfect combination.

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