■ The actress, 31, on mind reading on the Tube and playing a hard-partying Dubliner in new film Animals
How was it filming all the drinking scenes in animals? there are a lot of them!
Yes, there are. We were drinking a lot of apple juice so there were sugar highs. It’s kind of interesting to track that continuity of drunkenness. You’ve just got to remember what it feels like.
Were you inspired by any of your friends, naming no names?
Definitely. It’s all from aspects of every friendship I have or from people I see.
What kind of party person are you?
Obviously I’ve been through my stages, my blowout stage — haven’t we all? — but I’m pretty good now. One thing about getting older is hangovers are harder. And you’ve got to have a lot of stamina when you’re on a shoot. I can’t burn the candle at both ends like I used to.
Animals reflects female friendship really well. Is that one of the things that made you want to star in it?
Yeah, definitely. I read the book first and I loved it. Sophie Hyde, the director, is the kind of film-maker I really wanted to work with. I loved my character, Laura, I loved [co-star] Alia Shawkat’s character, Tyler. I have a lot of close female friendships and they’re the most important thing in my life and they’re under-represented on screen. It’s quite often secondary to the love story. It’s not often represented with as much complexity.
There seem to be more rules about romantic relationships…
There are certain things that society dictates and, as much as you think that you might not be that conventional, it’s like you can’t help but fall into those traps. Maybe there aren’t as many set rules for female friendships. There’s less discussion about them and it’s less black and white.
If you could keep one outfit from Animals, which would you choose?
Oh, there are so many good ones. I’m quite boring in my ordinary dress sense, Laura is a lot braver than me. I quite like the one with the short belt with a leotard and fur jacket. They only shop in vintage stores, these girls.
What else are you up to?
We just wrapped on a BBC series called The Capture, a surveillance thriller, and I’ll be doing another series of CB Strike, the JK Rowling PI series, in September.
If you had to pick one day from your life to live over and over again like Groundhog Day, what would you go for?
Oh wow, that’s so hard… I’d have to find a day that had everyone in it.
You could travel to see people, though…
I’m not travelling on Groundhog Day, I travel every day! I would say a birthday but the last few birthdays have been working. Maybe I would want to work, though. I don’t think I could do a day, it has to be a week. I usually have birthday weeks, seeing a few different friends.
OK, go on, you can have a week. Are many of your friends actors?
I have a few actor friends but also I have a lot of my best friends from school.
Do they like watching you on TV or in films?
They’re always very supportive but they don’t really watch me. They’ll probably watch Animals, it is quite a cult book. All my friends have read it. But I don’t usually invite them to screenings and premieres, I feel like it’s more of a work thing.
Last time we spoke, for The Riot Club, you said you had been googling ‘how much does a PA cost?’ Have you done anything about this?
Ha ha ha ha! No, I haven’t. You have to prioritise. That is being an adult. Doing your own f***ing VAT.
If you had to live the life of one of your past characters, who would it be?
I played a telepath in Electric Dreams. That would be a good choice if it was just for a bit. I don’t know if I could like live like that.
Whose mind would you like to read?
I think just normal day-to-day people, like on the Tube. I was going to say Donald Trump but, really, do we want to know? Human stories is what I’m interested in. I think just getting on a Tube, not at rush hour because that would be exhausting, but maybe late at night. Yeah, just pick a person and zone in on them.
Do you read Metro on the Tube?
Yeah I do!
Great! Any message for the Metro readers?
Help her with her bag, goddammit. They’re tourists, don’t shout. Look up at the person opposite you and smile — I dare you!
■ Animals is in cinemas from August 2