Saturday, June 25

Sex Education’s Aimee Lou Wood: ‘I had so much pain underneath it all’ | Sex education


IIn June, 26-year-old Aimee Lou Wood won a Bafta for Best Actress in a Comedy Show for her role as another Aimee (a teenager) on the hit Netflix show. Sex education, about a group of sexually active high school students, now returning for a third series. Even before the Baftas, Wood was always being stopped on the street. Fans wanted to talk to her about Sex education, upon everything, because they related to her so strongly. Wood is naturally so kind that he would strike up a conversation and be late. He then acted alongside Bill Nighy in the upcoming Oliver Hermanus film, Living“Obviously, everyone recognizes Bill Nighy and he handles it so gracefully,” says Wood, when we meet to speak in a North London photo studio. “With people on the street, I was like [she mock hyperventilates]: ‘Did I say the right thing? Was I nice enough? Now I’m learning to be: ‘Thank you very much!’ and keep walking. “

It’s easy to see why fans relate to Wood – no matter the ravishing beauty, she’s sparkling, warm, and expressive. She comes from a working-class family in Stockport, Greater Manchester, and although, following her parents’ divorce, her mother’s new partner paid her to attend a private secondary school, she kept her rich Mancunian tones: “I sound like my mother and I like that. I like that it sounds like where I’m from. “

He was trained in Rada and has experience in theater; “Sex Ed,” as Wood calls it, was his first television job. “It’s really funny how quickly he becomes a ‘TV star,'” laughs Wood, “and [snooty] “A TV star who goes to the theater?” I’m like, ‘I was doing this before!’ “

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Wood with Emma Mackey in Sex Education series three.
Wood with Emma Mackey in Sex Education series three. Photograph: Sam Taylor / Netflix

He made his stage debut at Mary Stuart in the Almeida, happening to appear in Bruce Norris Down state at the Steppenwolf Theater in Chicago and at the National in London. Last year, Wood played Sonya, all vulnerability bruised, in the production interrupted by Chekhov’s lockdown. Uncle Vanya, what was it filmed at the empty Harold Pinter theater by the BBC.

“I love to do everybody of that: television, cinema and theater ”, he says, but he loves theater in particular:“ You go back to the same story. You can say the same line 70 times and then one night it means something completely different. “She is willing to make sure she doesn’t stay away from live performances for so long that she develops stage fright, as she did when Down state Came to London: “In Chicago, everyone was there to see this amazing Steppenwolf outfit, nobody gave a shit; it was so liberating. In the National, it is [ominous tones]: ‘Aimee from Sex education he’s playing this role. ‘ Did you feel the weight of your celebrity? “Exactly! Eventually the autopilot took over, but I had never experienced stage fright like that. I felt so observed. “

Wood was in awe of the Baftas, but you just have to look Sex education realizing that she is a talented and versatile actress, able to combine her undeniable comedic brilliance with intense storylines, in a fluid and believable way. You believe in Screen-Aimee as she delivers her trademark jokes, but you also believe her when she stirs in darker waters. Wood was delighted to meet him Sex education cast for season three (filmed under strict Covid guidelines). She is now separated from her co-star Connor Swindells, whom she met on the show, but Wood says it was not a toxic breakup: “We have mutual respect and we want the best for each other.” How do you feel about playing the show’s notoriously explosive sex scenes? Wood notes that Sex education was the first to hire a privacy coordinator; Of all he had to do, he found a masturbation scene to be the most stressful: “You’re alone, you don’t have another actor to joke with: ‘This is a bit awkward! ‘”

In the second series, Aimee was sexually assaulted on a bus (a moving scene showed her friends riding the bus to support her); in the third, he’s still struggling and seeks help from the show’s sex therapist, played by Gillian Anderson. Wood was pleased that Aimee’s reaction to the assault continued to develop, to better reflect the experiences of assault survivors in real life: “It can’t just be solved [she airily sweeps a hand] – all the girls get on the bus with her and she got over it … I needed to hear someone say: it’s good that you’ve changed forever ”. As someone obviously thoughtful and committed, Wood is pleased to see Aimee evolve: “Especially in season three, she continues with her feminism, beginning to really love her vulva. She becomes a feminist icon without having a fucking idea, and that’s what’s funny about it. “Wood shares Aimee’s humor, but is aware of the dangers of that:” I used to be a lot like Aimee in the sense that I only wanted one side of me to be shown, which was, ‘I’m the court jester!’ But I had so much pain underneath it all. “

Wood, third from left, as Sonya in Uncle Vanya.
Wood, third from left, as Sonya in Uncle Vanya. Photograph: Johan Persson / BBC / Angelica Films

Wood thinks Sex education is so successful because it sums up being young: “When you’re a teenager, everything feels like the end of the world – it’s a high-stakes Arthur Miller-Shakespeare drama!” She has spoken before about her own turbulent upbringing, in part due to her father’s drug and alcohol addictions and his subsequent erratic behavior. Today, apart from a brief allusion to “family matters,” all of this is (politely, firmly) a no-go area for discussion. Wood was also bullied in her youth, for her body, her teeth, which now inspires her fans. Her self-image was so skewed that she initially auditioned for another Sex education character, not even considering herself for Aimee: “She always used to say, ‘I’ll never get a job on TV because I’m too weird.’ Anyone who’s been bullied knows what it’s like to hear these things, internalize them and give them to oneself and say, ‘If I were less ugly, just less this, just more this …’ ”

Wood also suffered from anorexia and bulimia. When the problem was detected in Rada, she was called to the office, which she now considers “tough but necessary”. Did she resent it at the time? “Oh my God, I hated them. His face was completely blank, but inside, this internal anger was like, ‘How dare you do this to me?’ Since then, Wood has been committed to therapy and has a deeper understanding of how harbored emotion, stifled anger, and the trigger to please people. her upsets: “I always know if I’ve had a particularly nice time for people. Suddenly, I am not eating. Or I have that feeling: ‘I have to get sick!’ You have compromised your integrity, or you have not expressed yourself, then everything is built and it is the ‘Here we go’ inside. “

For now, however, there is a seemingly unstoppable uphill race. Freshly wrapped wood Living, with Nighy, her first lead role in a movie, adapted from the 1952 Japanese film Ikiru, with a script by Kazuo Ishiguro. There is another smaller role in The Electric Life of Louis Wain, starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Claire Foy. Wood also feels better about herself, she no longer represses her emotions: “Now I cry about everything. If I read a poem that moves me, I cry. It’s like the bursting of this dam. I feel very connected and I’m not ashamed. “Wood smiles:” I think that’s life: happy and sad, bittersweet. It’s all at once. “


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