Wednesday 16 August 2017

'My Dad will be mortified when he sees the sex scene' - Irish actress Denise Gough speaks to Independent.ie

Denise Gough in Paula
Denise Gough in Paula
Kevin Palmer

Kevin Palmer

Irish actress Denise Gough admits her Dad will be ‘mortified’ when he watches her take part in a passionate sex scene as she takes a a lead role in the BBC2 drama Paula this week.

After years of trying and failing to make a major breakthrough on stage or screen, Clare-born Gough’s career has taken off after she won the prestigious Olivier Award last year for her stunning performance in the West End play People, Places and Things.

Now the offers of leading rolls are pouring in for this straight-talking star, who is taking on her highest profile role yet as she fronts the drama written by Irish playwright Conor McPherson and filmed in Belfast.

Gough has told Independent.ie that she is proud to be leading a cast packed with Irish talent in the big-budget BBC drama, but she admits her Dad back home may be a little perturbed when he sees his daughter performing a romantic scene with co-star Tom Hughes in the opening episode of the gripping drama.

Golden girl: Denise with her 'Best Actress' award at last month's Olivier Awards. Photo: Pamela Raith.
Golden girl: Denise with her 'Best Actress' award at last month's Olivier Awards. Photo: Pamela Raith.

“My Dad will be mortified when he sees the sex scene, but I think he is used to seeing me in unfortunate roles on the screen now,” she told us with a smile.

“I’ve spent most of my career being offered roles as prostitutes or girlfriends of IRA terrorists, so to be the lead in a big BBC drama that has a very Irish feel about it is something I am very proud about.

“Hopefully my family like Paula, but I’m nearly 38-years-old now, so I can’t look at every script and worry about what my Dad will think if he sees me romping in bed with someone.

“In the next job I have taken on, I will film a scene mauling a women, so he is going to have to get used to what I do!”

Denise Gough attends The Olivier Awards 2017 at Royal Albert Hall on April 9, 2017 in London, England. (Photo by Eamonn M. McCormack/Getty Images)
Denise Gough attends The Olivier Awards 2017 at Royal Albert Hall on April 9, 2017 in London, England. (Photo by Eamonn M. McCormack/Getty Images)

Gough’s powerful performance in Paula sees the actress spawned from a family of 12 confirm that her star will continue to rise, with the twists and turns in episode one ensuring this is a screen appearance that will cement her position as one of the rising stars of the business.

Successfully transferring the charming honesty she exudes off screen into a triumphant performance as the emotionally confused teacher who can’t settle down with a man and allows her impulsiveness to get the better of her too often.

“I like playing women who are not apologetic for what they do in their lives, with all their screw ups along the way,” she continues.

“Paula has a really weird relationship between her and her parents and that may be a key reason why she is not able to be with someone emotionally. Most of our behavioral patterns are built up when you are a baby until the age of four.

Conor McPherson... Pushing boundaries 

“If you live with two emotionally unavailable parents, that comes pattern comes back in your own life time and again.

“It means she evolves into a fascinating character. She is with a married man, then she gets with a man who turns out to be dangerous and she makes those choices because she is not ready to be with someone who is emotionally available to her.

“What you see with Paula is a symptom of that confused upbringing. The scene where they meet, she has come off the back of a difficult experience and she just decides; I’m going to have him and have him now. We’ve all done that at some point in our lives right! Paula takes what she wants physically and worries about the consequences afterwards.

“I’m tired of seeing women being seduced in TV dramas. She is swept off her feet and she is having an orgasm within five seconds.

“There is something very real about Paula just wanting someone for the moment and something even more real about being able to get bloody rid of them afterwards!”

Gough spent many a year being rejected in auditions that saw her consider quitting acting on more than one occasion, but at last her breakthrough has arrived.

We are going to be hearing a lot more of this wonderfully edgy performer.

Paula is on RTÉ One, Wednesday at 9.35pm or BBC Two, Thursday at 9pm.

Conor McPherson... Pushing boundaries 

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