15th May 2023
Interview: Christopher Richmond
Photographer: Joseph Sinclair
Make-up: Amanda Grossman
Hair: Mark Francome Painter
Styling: Aimee Croysdill
Winning a Scottish BAFTA is a rare achievement, a feat completed by a select and small group of performers - but Abigail Lawrie has done it. She won the coveted Best Actress prize in 2021 for her role in Tin Star, and now she's back headlining a new thriller, No Escape, for Paramount+, which tells the tale of two deeply bonded best friends on the run from the UK police. We were lucky enough to speak to Lawrie about her role in the new show, as well as her illustrious career so far.
Your next role is in Paramount's No Escape, which follows two deeply bonded best friends, Lana and Kitty, on the run from the UK police who find themselves settling on a yacht in South East Asia. Who do you play in the series? What was it about the role and the series that appealed to you?
I play Lana in No Escape and I was drawn to her initially because I found her quite hard to read and she’s so different to me. She’s insular and guarded, always scoping people out, observing situations and on high alert. She doesn’t have a lot of dialogue in the group scenes in the first couple of episodes, Kitty takes the lead, so a lot of what she does communicate is non-verbal - I thought that could be an interesting challenge to play. I also thought the two different timelines that the script switches between were really intriguing and I was gripped straight away by who Lana and Kitty were and what they were hiding. And the chance to go to Thailand for six months was a huge bonus!
How did you first get your start in acting? Did you always know you wanted to perform?
I started acting when I was in secondary school. My drama teacher introduced me to my agent and I filmed my first job - a mini series for the BBC - during my summer holidays and went back to school and forgot about it! I definitely always had a big imagination and loved musicals as a kid but I didn’t really know that acting could be a career until I was much older. But by the time I left school I knew it was what I really wanted to do.
What was your experience like working with two titans of the industry such as David Tennant and Michael Sheen?
I was terrified! But they were both so lovely and it was amazing to watch them work. And they’re so funny in the show, there were a few takes where I completely lost it and couldn’t stop laughing
You won a Scottish BAFTA for your role in British Crime Series Tin Star - congratulations! How do you even begin to come to terms with something as massive as winning a BAFTA? What was going through your head when you won and where does your BAFTA sit now?
Thank you! I really didn’t expect it. It was lovely to win after finishing a role that I spent so many years playing and also to be recognised in Scotland was really special. And one of my best friends won on the same night so we were buzzing! It sits in the corner of my bookshelf in the living room - it’s pretty heavy so works as a bookend.
What roles would you like to take in the future? What are your dream collaborations?
I would love to do a comedy - play a character who is big and loud and a bit wild. I also loved Georgia Oakley’s film ‘Blue Jean’ that came out earlier this year so it would be amazing to work with her. And I‘ve been watching so much ‘Succession’ so to get to work with anyone who made that would be a dream.
No Escape will premiere on Paramount+ on Thursday 18th of May.