Wednesday, 28 January 2015

Interviews Interview with Menna Trussler

Interview with Menna Trussler

The first time I had heard of Menna Trussler had been from Ep 1, S2 Torchwood when her character muttered the immortal words “Bloody Torchwood” that would be posted up on Social Media statuses and in memes across the internet for years.  What I didn’t know was that Menna’s roles in television, theatre, musical theatre and films spanned a serious number of years. 

Her television credits include; ‘The Bench’, ‘Hope and Glory’, Mrs Roberts in ‘We Are Seven’, Yvonne Tam in ‘A Mind To Kill’, ‘Trip Trap’, ‘Company of Strangers’, ‘Boy Soldier’, ‘Licory’s Alsorts’, ‘Bydd Yn Wrol’, ‘The Things You Do For Love’ and ‘Doctors’. 

Menna has been a regular in ‘Pobl Y Cwm’ as Evie, popping in and out of the series.  She has appeared in the series ‘Crash’, ‘Y Pris’ and an episode of ‘Casualty’ as Hazel Peacock opposite Roy Hudd, including all three series of ‘Jam and Jerusalem’ as Megan Boyd/Megan Bates, which I will need to find and watch again, including three series of ‘Little Britain’ with David Walliams and Matt Lucas, playing a doctor and a second barmaid, teaming up with them again in their other comedy series ‘Come Fly With Me’ as the Old Lady. She played Moira in ‘Alys’, and Bopa Boyce in ‘Stella’.

In 1996, Menna played the role of Gwen in ‘August’ a film starring Sir Anthony Hopkins who also directed it.  She played Lulu’s Auntie Violet in ‘Human Traffic’, and appeared in ‘Plots With a View’ with Christopher Walken and Lee Evans as well as playing Gwen in ‘Pride’ in 2014 alongside Imelda Staunton, Dominic West and Bill Nighy. 

Her role of Beryl in ‘Body Beautiful’ an animated short was nominated for an award at the BAFTA’s, it was runner up but it did win the Welsh BAFTA’s.

Enjoy the interview!

Your character in Torchwood was only in for a few short scenes before the actual episode began in Series 2 Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, but the two words you uttered have been used in Memes and uttered over social media sites for years.  How does that make you feel that your character although only a small part is as popular as the regular stars of the show?

Menna: I am extremely flattered if not slightly surprised that my two words had such an effect.

How did the role come about, and how were you chosen for the role itself?

Menna: I was invited by Russell T. Davies himself as they wanted an actress fairly well known.

You’re in the new film Pride that came out 12th September 2014.  Who is your character and what role do they play in the film?

Menna:  My character is Gwen who took the original phone call from the LGSM, the support group who raised £1000s to support the miners and their families.  It was a great role to play but one of the few in the film that were fictional.

How did you start out in the industry, what was your first role?

Menna: I worked in Swansea Grand Theatre Rep. for ten years.  My first role was in ‘Just Between Ourselves’ opposite Roy North of Basil Brush fame.

It’s not every day you see a ‘Blowfish’ driving a sports car, what was your first reaction before the take?

Menna: I was quite taken aback when I saw it, although I knew one would be driving the car I have to say full credits to the make up and wardrobe department.

In all the roles you’ve appeared in, had you ever wanted to own any of the clothes your characters wore, and if so what were they?

Menna: Most of the roles I play are character roles so never particularly glamorous, I’m still waiting for that opportunity.

Have you always lived in Wales, or have you travelled the country or even the world for your art?

Menna: I have always lived in Wales but have traveled round Britain touring with theatre companies.  I have also filmed in Spain, France and Belgium.

Do you have any other passions other than acting?

Menna: My other passions are travel. knitting, I also paint watercolours and enjoy good food.

Who inspired you to become an actress and do you have family that followed you into the business or are you following in another’s footsteps within the family?

Menna:  During WW2 I was a little girl and we had some WAF’s stay with us.  One of them was called Diana who had been an actress before the war started.  We became very close and she used to read to me using all different character voices.  I thought she was wonderful and wanted to be like her when I grew up.  We lost touch eventually but when I became an adult and indeed an actress we found each other and met up again, she was so delighted that I had followed in her footsteps.

I am very proud to say my daughter has followed in my footsteps and is a successful actress in her own right.  My young grandson has also appeared in several theatre productions but his real passion is cycling.

Are you fluent Welsh?

Menna: Not as good as I’d like to be but have worked extensively in the medium.

The film Pride is about the Miner’s strike in South Wales and how the LGBT raised money for the families affected by the strike.  Can you remember where you were during this time? Were you in a film, on stage etc?

Menna: I was filming Pobol Y Cwm and commuting to Cardiff via the M4. I remember being quite nervous as some of the miners were dropping concrete blocks on to the road in protest.

What film role would you love to get your teeth into?

Menna: Favourite stage roles I have played were Mama Rose in Gypsy and the Lead in the Gingerbread Lady.  I would love to have played either role in film versions.

If you could play the lead role in any film, who would be your leading man or woman, and what genre would the film be and would you play the heroine or the villain of the piece?

Menna:  I would play the heroine opposite Al Pacino any day, in anything!

Are you a fan of sci fi and Torchwood and have you been to any of the Conventions when they’ve been in Cardiff or around the country?

Menna: I’m not a huge fan but I do dip in to Doctor Who because my daughter and grandson are huge fans.  I’ve never been to any of the conventions.

Can you recall any funny moments during filming of Kiss Kiss Bang Bang that you could share with us?

Menna:  There was a funny moment, I was in costume and on set ready to do my piece, waiting for the director to shout ACTION when all of a sudden a security guard came tearing out of the crowd and tried to usher me behind the barrier with all the fans who’d come out to watch the filming.  I tried to explain I was one of the actors but he wouldn’t let me speak and thought I was a batty old lady who’d got a bit lost.  There was a loud cry of STOP from the Director who asked what on earth the security guard was doing.  When he realised his mistake he scuttled off and I never saw him again.

Are you involved in any new projects that you can share with us?

Menna: I have just finished filming an adaptation of J.K. Rowling’s book ‘Casual Vacancy,’ alongside Michael Gambon, Julia Mackenzie, Keely Hawes and Emilia Fox to name but a few.  It’s due out in 2015.

What book are you reading at the moment?

Menna: The Awakening by Kate Roberts translated from the Welsh novel.

Do you have a website, Twitter or Facebook account where the fans could follow you or find out more about you and your career?

Menna: At my age I am a late starter to technology.  I am however mastering my Ipad Mini so who knows.  Watch This Space!!!

Diolch yn fawr Menna for a brilliant interview.


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