Anne-Marie Duff has said she felt “all kinds of responsibilities” to victims of domestic abuse while filming her upcoming Apple TV+ series Bad Sisters.
The actress stars in the dark comedy as Grace, a woman trapped in a controlling marriage until her husband, played by Danish actor Claes Bang, dies suddenly in mysterious circumstances.
Fingers are pointed at her four sisters, played by stars including Eva Birthistle and Sharon Horgan, who is also the show’s creator.
Set between London and Dublin, it is based on the Flemish series Clan.
Speaking at the series premiere at BFI Southbank in London, Duff reflected on taking on such a role.
She told the PA news agency: “Because I play Grace who is trapped inside this awful coercive marriage, I had all kinds of responsibilities.
“I had to make sure that we told that with some integrity because if we didn’t, of course, the audience wouldn’t be invested in saving me and they certainly wouldn’t be willing the sisters to kill him.
“So we had to make sure, ironically inside of a comedy, that that was told as truthfully as possible.
“I had had some contact before with women’s charities focusing on domestic abuse, which was really useful for me (because) I felt I could come to the story with a good deal of authenticity which helps.
“Because that was really important for both Claes (Bang) who plays my husband and I. We wanted to tell the story properly.”
Speaking about her work with women who have experienced domestic abuse, she added: “They just told me their stories and there’s nothing like hearing a real person’s story to fill you with wisdom and empathy.
“It also makes you careful and makes you forensic and refuse to take any shortcuts, so you really tell the story properly, if that makes sense.”
Horgan told the PA news agency the subject matter of the series is “very dark but very real and important to talk about”.
She added: “It was just a balancing act, it’s something that affects the writing and affects the casting and rehearsal and filming and the edit.
“You have to constantly be watching and making sure that the comedy isn’t crossing into the important subject matter of what it means to be in an abusive relationship like that.
“You would never want to be seen to be laughing at it but at the same time I think comedy is such a great tool for dealing with serious subjects because when it does hit you it’s all the more brutal because you’re not expecting it.”
Bad Sisters premieres on Apple TV+ on August 19th.