Q&A with Lauren O’Rourke on Henpocalypse!

Q&A with Lauren O'Rourke on Henpocalypse!

Q&A with Lauren O’Rourke on Henpocalypse!

Henpocalypse! is so much fun, what attracted you to your role?

When we first auditioned I only got one scene of the script and the synopsis was ‘girls from Birmingham go on a hen do’ and, I just thought ‘well it’s set in Birmingham, I’m from Birmingham, absolutely won’t get this part because I never get anything that set in Birmingham’. So initially it was the Midlands setting, and I’m really passionate about anything in the Midlands and it looked really fun!

Can you tell us a bit about your character Veena?

My character Veena is a beautician, which is so far removed from who I am, because I can’t even plait hair, never mind thread eyebrows! She’s a beautician with a twist; she’s actually quite masculine, and I think she’s quite no nonsense and direct. She’ll let things slide but if you do anything stupid she is there with a quip to undermine you, and I can relate to that.

Veena is very practical, often utilising anything and everything in order to survive, are you practical in real life?

When the director first sat down with me, he asked how practical I was, and I said ‘no, not at all can’t do anything’ but as we were filming, little things happened like the electrics blew, and I said ‘oh, you need to change the fuse in that heater, that’s why everything’s gone’ and talking about a car, I said ‘oh the fluids run out’ and there’s loads of things that as we went on, turns out, I am quite practical and I know quite a few things about electrics!

How was it working with you other actresses that might get the incredible cast and have you worked with him previously?

No, I hadn’t worked with any of them before and I’ve never met such a down to earth cast. I’ve always been a fan of Kate O’ Flynn and obviously the amazing Elizabeth Berrington. It was kind of surreal as everyone was so talented and good in their roles. And it’s also quite sad because I was one of the older ones – I don’t really know where the last 10 years have gone – when I was one of the younger ones, but it was nice to work with fresh meat and be the old mutton in the cast.

It’s such a strong female ensemble, how did that compare to other shows and environments you’ve worked in before?

I’ve actually been really lucky as this is my second all female lead cast, and I feel so incredibly lucky to get to do that again. I sort of take it for granted because my main jobs have been leads with other lead women. I think people just think we sit around and talk about periods and relationships, which we do! I think what happened having such a female led show was all the men became honouree hens especially our sound guy, he would just hang out in the greenroom just to join in our chats.

Did you have a favourite scene to film?

My favourite scene to film was anything with action in or anything where I was getting chased, for example, we did a funeral scene and we had a supporting artist run on and shout ‘National Trust property!’ and he had to chase us but there was no end to the chase, the director just let it carry on. So in short, I was just being chased by a random man in a park and some people said it gave me sexual thrills but it didn’t, I just want to clarify that that now but it was a thrill! So any scenes where I read ahead and I was like ‘yes, we are getting chased tomorrow’ was a real bonus.

What do you think of Caroline Moran’s writing when you first read the scripts?

They are were brilliant and so unique, her writing really appeals cross generations, and there’s some really unique references to the Midlands that will go over some people’s heads, but I totally understand what she means. I think when I watched Raised by Wolves it hurt because I wasn’t in it, but that’s what I really loved is that unique charm that Midlanders have and I really think Caroline’s captured that.

She’s really managed to write some things that my mum could watch, and my aunts could watch and also my nieces and nephews, that’s quite a great achievement!

How would you fare living in a cottage in those conditions and having to do the things your character had to do?

I feel like we did live in that cottage because we genuinely filmed for 10 days in a cottage in the middle of nowhere, in Wales, and we were surrounded by sheep, and I think I did lose it a little bit.

Do you think you would survive in apocalypse? What tactics would you employ?

I think I’m too lazy to survive an apocalypse, I’d probably just chill, let it happen and ride out the wave. Tactics I would employ would be aggression and just stealing. I don’t think many people would be my friend, you wouldn’t want to see me in an apocalypse, that’s all I’ll say.

How would you describe the tone of the series?

I would describe it as a dark comedy but naturalistic, well, as natural as you can be when it involves crab measles.

Do you have funny tales from the set you can tell us?

I’ve got one I can’t tell but all I’ll say is ‘the Pensby clogger…’

How important was it for you to be part of the show that features empowered females from the Midlands?

It’s so important, I genuinely would have been devastated if this show came on my TV and I wasn’t a part of it. It’s everything, it’s the Midlands, but it’s also Birmingham, it’s the accents, it’s the sense of humour, it’s the silliness. It’s just such a fun show and if I was just watching it I’d obviously say it was terrible because I’m not in it, and I’d be so jealous. So I’m so thankful that I managed to worm my way in there.

What do you love about your area, the Midlands – Birmingham?

I love the Midlands, because you’ve only got to look at the likes of Jasper Carrott to realise that everyone from the Midlands is so grounded and down to earth, it doesn’t matter what success levels you reach, no one’s going to celebrate you, so forget about that. I’m a big mittens fan, that’s why I still live here.

Why do you think viewers should tune in?

I just think you should watch the show because there’s nothing else like it on telly. Obviously there’s numerous shows that cover female friendships in different ways but I think this one’s great because it shows what happens when your friendships are tested to the absolute limits. I think you can watch it and think of your own friendship group and think like ‘yeah, I’d get rid of them in an apocalypse and they’d be no good’ and you can really put yourself in the situation.

It’s original, and I think it’s cool and there’s a character for everyone that you’ll be able to identify with, and relate to. It’s something really special.


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