Interview with Chantelle Alle who plays Jessica in Marriage
Hi Chantelle, tell us about the story of Marriage.
Marriage is a story that explores every aspect of a relationship, the ups and the downs. It also follows a new relationship that is quite toxic. It deals with the raw emotions within relationships that you don’t really see on TV. Even the small things of when you and your partner are alone in bed and the conversations that come from that. It’s an honest story about relationships.
What is the story of Marriage?
Marriage follows a married couple who are dealing with the loss of a child, but also raising an adoptive child. It deals with the trauma and the ups and downs of a relationship that has lasted that long. It also follows their daughter Jessica’s journey of finding herself as a young woman, as an artist and navigating her own relationship, growing in her confidence and standing up for herself. We meet her when she’s harbouring all these feelings of doubt and frustration and we watch her grow and take ownership of her own life. It’s just a beautiful story of human interactions, connections and growth.
Tell us about your character, Jessica.
Jessica is the daughter of Ian and Emma. She’s 22, bright, funny and really intelligent. She struggles with self confidence and tends to validate herself based on other people’s opinions and reassurances. We grow with her and see her develop into a more confident person who believes in herself and her craft. She’s a singer-songwriter and it’s the one thing she has ownership of. She was adopted as a baby and Ian and Emma are all she knows. The adoption isn’t really discussed as it’s linked to a loss that her parents don’t talk about. She knows she’s loved but I think there’s a slight disconnect with them as they don’t discuss it. We follow her as we get the answers she thinks she needs.
Jess is a singer/songwriter. Can you sing?
I can sing a little bit but I’m not professionally trained. I have no technique but I can carry a note! I can’t play the guitar but I learned for this role. Stefan sent a guitar to my house a month before filming and he wrote the songs that Jess sings.
Tell us about Jess and Adam’s relationship.
Jack Holden, who plays Adam, plays him beautifully. I think it’s easy to see a character like Adam and automatically think he’s the worst person in the world, but actually there are layers to him. I think he was criticised in his upbringing and he projects that onto Jess. But what I really love about Jess, and I discussed this with Stefan, is that as horrible as he is to her she’s never the victim. She’s a lot more powerful and in control. Adam is an amazingly clever record producer who can help her to grow and expand and that’s what keeps her with him, but in the back of her mind she knows he isn’t good for her. When she brings him to meet her parents she’s looking for that honesty from them, that questioning of why she’s with him.
What do Ian and Emma think of Adam?
Ian and Emma can already see through Adam and can tell he isn’t a great person. Ian keeps things to himself and acts like everything is okay. Adam feels threatened by Ian, and it’s in the little things he says. He can be clever and sly with how he says things.
What struck you about the script when you first read it?
I was really struck by the details. Stefan writes like a play. It’s very specific and I really liked that. I liked the small beats.
What has it been like working with Stefan?
Working on set with Stefan is so comforting, as he is so specific with his feedback and very generous with his time. He makes it easier for you to understand a direction or a new note which is so important as most times, he will show me a whole new way to do it. The way he expresses himself is so simple and easy.
Why do you think Marriage will appeal to people?
Marriage has universal appeal because everyone can relate to overcoming an obstacle in life. We are rooting for these characters to find their way back to happiness. Dealing with loss, how you need the people around you to help you to grieve, or to help you stand up for yourself, to find your own voice, to grow in confidence and self-belief – I think a lot of people can relate to that.