Actor Eddie Marsan has tackled the challenge of appearing in a new TV series while in lockdown by recruiting his family as film crew and performers.
The Happy Go Lucky star and his wife Janine juggled home-schooling their four children while capturing his scenes for ITV’s Isolation Stories, a four-part drama about families during the coronavirus pandemic.
Covid-19 outbreak restrictions saw Janine step behind the camera for the first time to help capture her husband’s performance while two of their children joined in the acting.
Marsan – whose career has seen him directed by Martin Scorsese, Steven Spielberg and Mike Leigh – hailed his wife’s directorial debut.
He told the BBC Andrew Marr show on Sunday: “She was fantastic, she really took it on. She was moving the cameras, moving the lights, doing the sounds, cooking the lunches, everything.”
Janine explained she was given technical support by director David Blair and others via the video conferencing platform Zoom, but said she did not think she would start a new film career.
Marsan explained that he is due to appear in an episode entitled Karen, which sees him play a “heartbroken” man whose marriage has collapsed and is self-isolating at home with his two teenage sons.
His ex-partner’s father, played by actor David Threlfall, comes to his house to persuade him to let his former wife see the children.
Due to strict social-distancing rules, Threlfall had to remain in the Marsan family garden while performing his scenes.
“The whole premise is to tell stories about what’s happening in everyday people’s lives but within the context of isolation and the difficulties that that brings,” Marsan explained.
He said his children had grown up on film sets and he thought the challenge of helping film scenes at home would teach them to collaborate.
“They loved it. It was very hard work and they wanted to get off their school work, but we didn’t let them,” he said.
“So every time we said ‘cut’ and we had to change things, they had to go down and do some more work, and they wanted to just play on the Xbox or something. We didn’t let them.”
Isolation Stories airs at 9pm over four nights on ITV, starting on Monday.