Joanne Froggatt has opened up about shooting her Downton Abbey rape scene.
The star took inspiration for the challenging storyline from the real story of a friend’s grandmother, whose own attack was revealed on her deathbed. Joanne’s portrayal of housemaid Anna earned her a Golden Globe at this year’s ceremony.
The 34-year-old actress told US talk show host Tavis Smiley that the incident in question occurred in the 30s but the woman was so ashamed she almost took the secret to her grave.
“A friend of mine said his grandmother on her deathbed had mentioned this incident that happened when she was in service. There’s just her and this man in a room and she was never able to talk about it,” Joanne began.
The woman in question told no-one as she didn’t feel that anyone would believe her or if they did, that her reputation would be ruined.
This is just one of the heartbreaking stories that Joanne says she felt a “responsibility” to tell in an honest and truthful way in order to do these women justice.
“I sort of felt a responsibility to those women I’ve never met from that time and from this time. You know, Anna’s fictional, but you’re telling a story that is so close to some peoples’ hearts,” she explained.
The brutal rape scene caused controversy when it aired in season four of the smash hit period drama due to its graphic nature. The network was inundated with complaints that it was using the domestic violence to score ratings.
However, not everyone felt that way, with Joanne having revealed that she received a “small amount” of letters during that time from rape victims who thanked her for her portrayal and for shedding light on the subject.
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