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Jaime Winstone Interview

Not just famous for being Ray Winstone’s daughter, Jaime made a name for herself in the gang drama Kidulthood back in 2006. Having since gone on to star in the likes of sexy thriller Donkey Punch and zombie outbreak film Dead Set, she’s back once more in the sixties set Made in Dagenham. Speaking to View’s Matt Turner, the actress reveals her love for vintage clothing and how her character takes inspiration from someone close to home.

Did you enjoy working on the film?
Jaime Winstone (JW): I had the most amazing time on it. It's just one of those films that you think, 'God, this is such a great job, such a great opportunity', but, I don't know, the kind of spirit and what the film's about and for me it was working with the likes of Geraldine James and Sally Hawkins and Miranda Richardson, I was just like, 'Wow, this is really quite amazing' and the subject matter and being a part of our history, in a way. It was like a dream come true, really. Let alone the outfits! So it was a lot of fun. A lot of fun indeed.

Did you do much research beforehand?
JW: I knew a little bit about the strike. I'm an East End girl so I kind of loosely knew – I'm West Ham, so it's like, Dagenham Motors, I kind of knew roughly, but I didn't know what these women had done, I didn't know what extent they took it to and that they had actually been involved in changing the Equal Pay Act, I had no idea. In terms of research, I didn't really want to do any research, because I thought these women were so sort of amazingly, blissfully unaware of what they were doing, you know, their spirit kind of drove them to where it got them.

And in terms of research, I kind of wanted my character personally, I wanted her to stay quite naïve to it, because my character's struggling with her moral journey of should she stick with the strike and with her friends and what she's supporting and what it's about or does she want to go to the bright lights of modelling and it's kind of that moral contrast that she's going through so I didn't really want to research the strike as much, because she wasn't that aware of what they were doing, so I just kind of kept it real, in that sense.

Was she based on anybody in particular?
JW: Well, it's funny, because I had an interview with Sandy Shaw this morning. I kind of based her on my Nan, because my Nan was a machinist and that's the only way I could relate to her, although she is a working class girl and she wants to get out and stuff like that. But working with Sandy Shaw this morning, you know, she said, 'Oh, I worked in the factories and I wanted to be a model and I wanted to do this, that and the other' and I thought, 'Well, maybe Sandra's based on you in that sense', because it kind of all fitted into place. So I think she was a real character – there was a girl who did a photo shoot and who did write 'Equal Pay' on her stomach and it's all very loose, but it did all happen in that sense, so I just kind of made her real.

She's such a sweet character – for me it was like, when I read the script, I really liked her and could really relate to her. That bit where she's saying, 'Even though we are going to make this strike happen and I do believe in it, it's still a shitty factory and I still want to go out there and I want more.' For me I just really liked her warmth and her sweetness. And also, for me, it was a real relief just not being chased by zombies or covered in blood, it was like, 'Wow, I get to play a nice girl', so it was really cool.

How did you find the clothes? Did you like ‘60s fashions beforehand?
JW: Yeah, it was absolutely awesome. Louise, who designed the clothes, was just so amazing, the way she just kind of captured it, without making it too much. I think it's really beautiful to see that on screen, especially in that working class genre the women were from – they were all so still into fashion, but not in the way Paris and New York were, you know, it was Dagenham. So you'd read the magazines and they'd be making their own versions of the dresses. It was just amazing. Although the music was amazing and the looks and we all had archive stuff and I was dying to nick my hotpants, but I couldn't.

They were just completely archived, so I couldn't get my little hands on them. But these women were so amazing – they'd get up early in the morning, get the kids to school, set their hair in rollers before they go to bed after a long day's work, get up, put the lashes on, put their face on, then to go and work in a factory. So for me it was really like, we can get up now and we can put a pair of jeans and trainers and a hat on and be completely asexual like that and still be proud women, but these women were really, really proud – and they weren't necessarily depressed women, they were very happy, spirited women, but they had just such a strong sense of pride, which I was just so in awe of. And for me it just shows what strong women they were and that describes the whole era for me. It's like an explosion of politics, money, music, drugs, it's kind of like putting it all in a blender and getting a ‘60s shake for me. It was just really nice to dip into that world.

Would you have been on the picket line?
JW: Most definitely. Most definitely, yeah. For me, in the film, Sandra's kind of torn on what she's going to do and there are hidden pressures. You know, I don't think there was a girl who didn't want to be Twiggy in the ‘60s, I think she wanted the hair and the look and she was like our first icon, but then Sandra struggles with her own world and what really matters, so it's kind of these two different worlds going on for her and it shows a nice little class act and the kind of underbelly of it.

You said it was a different sort of role for you – was it a deliberate decision to move away from the zombies?
JW: I don't know. Not really. I love zombies, so ... [laughs] I feel like I've been really lucky with my roles and I think it's such an honour that a director can approach me and say, 'I've got a film that's set on a boat called Donkey Punch' and stress that I've got a massive love for horror films, so to be approached and offered something like that, for me, separates that from, say romcoms – I'd much rather hang out on a boat in South Africa and do something hardcore like Donkey Punch.

But also, every job I've done, I've been thrown in the deep end – like, I was in Kidulthood and stuff like that – and it's always been really different. So, yeah, I think it was time for it to happen, though it wasn't me going 'Yeah, I want to play a role like Sandra', it just came along and happened. And also I think I've matured a lot and that comes across with your characters and I'm a woman now, so I get to play a nice girl rather than a messed-up teenager, so it was a really, really great role to play.

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Content updated: 22/05/2018 11:10

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