The walls are closing in on Bianca in Channel 4’s tense thriller Before We Die — will she stay loyal to her family or side with undercover boyfriend Christian?
Issy Knopfler, 22, who plays Bianca, revealed all about her breakthrough role.
Had you seen the Swedish original drama on which Before We Die is based?
Not before I got the part of Bianca, but then I watched it and loved it. We had a lot of discussions about how we would make it our own because, moving it from Sweden to Bristol, there were cultural changes that had to be made.
Talking of cultural changes, you play a Croatian. How was that? How’s your Croatian?
Well, Bianca’s from a Croatian family but she was born and raised in the UK, so she’s between the two, so it wasn’t a total leap. It was interesting working with some really great Croatian actors — there was a scene, which was subtitled, where I have to arrive unseen and overhear what they are saying, but I kept missing my cue because I couldn’t understand the language! I have picked up a few words here and there, though.
A lot of your scenes seem to involve the police accosting you when you’re either going up or down stairs. Was that a challenge?
Ha, yes, ask anyone — I’m incredibly uncoordinated. I fell down those stairs multiple times trying to do those scenes. I even fell up the stairs as well.
It’s an odd question — but don’t you think Patrick Gibson, who plays your boyfriend Christian, looks a lot like your real life partner, actor Charlie Field?
That was an ongoing joke on set! Of course, to me they look very different because I see one of them every day. But it was really funny because we’d only been shooting a couple of days and I was talking to somebody and my phone went, and on the screen was a picture of Charlie. And the response was, ‘Oh, you’ve got a picture of Patrick on your screen already?’ Like I was some kind of sad stalker! So I could see the confusion.
We have to mention your famous surname — your Dad is Dire Straits main man Mark Knopfler. Has that been a help or a hindrance in your career?
I feel incredibly lucky with my family, but help or hindrance… all I can say is I started auditioning for projects when I was 18 and I got turned down for job after job and, like a lot of actors, I asked myself, ‘Am I doing the right thing?’ But I knew this was what I wanted to do.
So what was the parental advice at that point?
They just said, ‘Keep knocking on the doors until they let you in’ — and I’m so lucky that they have. Oh, and ‘learn everyone’s name’ once the door opens!
If you could choose a Dire Straits song for the Before We Die soundtrack, what would it be?
Ooh let’s think… it’s got to be Telegraph Road, that’s got the right mysterious groove.
After Before We Die, what’s next?
Well, I’m in Rome now, filming a Mafia crime story. But if I told you any more than that, I’d have to kill you!
Before We Die continues on C4 on Wednesdays at 9pm
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