Baby Reindeer star Jessica Gunning shares concern she’d have had if she didn’t play Martha

Actor opened up about her worries around the stalker’s portrayal

Maira Butt
Thursday 06 June 2024 05:41 BST
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Baby Reindeer star Jessica Gunning has revealed the one concern she’d have had if she didn’t play stalker Martha Scott on the hit Netflix series.

The show follows struggling comic Donny Dunn (Richard Gadd) as he is relentlessly harassed and stalked by a woman for more than four years. It instantly captivated viewers from Britain and beyond and is now on track to become one of Netflix’s most popular series of all time.

Gunning, 38, has previously insisted she “didn’t know anything” about the character she was portraying, and her interpretation of the role wasn’t an “impersonation”.

However, in a new interview for Variety’s HBO segment, Making a Scene, the actor opened up about the concerns she‘d have had, if she’d not been successful in the role.

“I really fought for it because I just saw her so clearly and I just kept thinking, ‘Oh, man. If somebody were to do this and play her as a villain or play her as crazy, you’d miss the point a bit.’” she said.

Expanding on the lengths she went to to secure the gig, Gunning said a friend and make-up artist sent her to “a wig place” in London so she could look older after concerns she was “too young”.

“They wigged me up and aged me up and I went and put myself on tape and sent it over to be like, ‘Look, see? Please.’ Luckily it worked, they were probably like ‘Who is this woman? Back off.’”

The actor has previously said she was careful to ensure she played the role with complexity and nuance, to avoid reducing Scott to a woman who is “mad” or “crazy”.

(HBO/Variety/Netflix)

“I really cared about Martha, you know. As soon as I read episode one I was drawn in by her,” she told the BBC in an interview at the time.

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“I never saw her as a villain. I don’t think you can do if you’re playing that kind of part. I always saw her as multifaceted and complicated.”

Scottish lawyer Fiona Harvey, 58, who claims she is the ‘real’ Martha - appeared on Piers Morgan’s Uncensored last month to “set the record straight” after fans of the show “unmasked” her by matching social media posts featured in the series with her own.

During the interview, which has amassed over 10 million views, Harvey denied that she had any criminal convictions and said the Netflix show’s suggestion that she did was “defamatory”. She has threatened to sue the streaming service.

But Gunning has said she will not watch any interviews relating to the show due to her relationship with the show’s creator Gadd, as she said “I try and keep out of any of that stuff”.

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