I play Victor Richardson, who is best friend to Edward Brittain, who is Vera’s brother, who is then inadvertently friends with Vera. Victor would very much like things to be more than friends with Vera. He’s very much drawn to her.Vera is the through line of the story. As people fall away around her, she is still that train that’s just going straight ahead every time, and that’s an absolute, you know, testament to her.
Mrs. Leighton, who is Roland’s mother, used to call the guys the Three Musketeers, so there’s a feeling of this little band of brothers together, and that’s very much where we find Victor at the beginning. He’s part of that team on the cusp of life.
At that time, there was a pressure, and there was a conditioning, and there was a breeding amongst those boys to be a part of that scene, in a way, to be a part of that heroics, certainly in the Uppingham School, the boys’ public school. They were conditioned for heroics and to serve your country and to be part of that. I don’t feel that Victor was ever fully part of that. I feel that he felt that he should be.
And I think it’s hard for people of our generation to understand what it is to put so much trust into something like serving your country, something which you, from a young age, were conditioned to believe was so comforting, and something that you could absolutely believe in, could betray you so badly.
There’s a real sense of duty, I think, there’s a real sense of honour and pride, I think, whenever you’re representing someone’s life, because there’s no way they could have ever thought something like this was going to happen, so there’s a sense that you then have to do them proud.
James is a very passionate director, he’s a very sensitive director. I think he’s got a real love for this story and this project, and a drive for it. And you can see that immediately.
It’s an emotional roller-coaster to go through and it’s a very tough schedule for Alicia. She is in every single scene, I think there’s maybe two scenes which she’s not in. They’re maybe like two seconds long (laughs). But she’s in every day, and she’s absolutely taken it on board, the way Vera probably would.
I think, to have seen these young happy boys marching off to war, come back incomplete is really harrowing. And it’s really heartbreaking as well. It just didn’t occur to them that that would happen. And the film [?] punches in that way.
I think it’s a film that touches on every generation, I think any gender, and I think any age. For me, it’s been an eye-opener, not knowing much about that period, again, it can feel a bit lost to us. I think it’s important to keep that alive, that these are people that we can all be inspired by. I don’t think we realise how easy we have it.