Currently starring in Murphy’s Law we talk to rising actress Claudia Harrison.
For the first Murphy’s Law film, Claudia Harrison had to learn about firearms and speak in Japanese for the part of Annie Guthrie. This time round, Annie has been promoted to Detective Inspector – but still has to be accomplished with a firearm.
“As an actress, you are so aware of where the weapon is at all times,” says Harrison. “And it feels so heavy in your hands that you are really conscious of its weight. One of the trickiest things is that you are trying to act as if it’s natural to hold a gun, and unless you are a gun-carrying police officer then it clearly is not.”
In the first film Claudia had to learn to fire a sawn-off shotgun and an automatic pistol. “I loved stage fighting at drama school with a dagger and a rapier, but this was a far cry from anything I have been used to. Even though you are firing blanks, you have to be entirely focused. Actors have died from accidents on set with firearms and that is always in the back of your mind.”
For Harrison, Annie has really come into her own and her relationship with Murphy looks set to take on a new dimension.” We really work together very well as a team but the buck stops with me. I am Murphy’s boss and working undercover we have to trust each other completely.
“We work differently in that Murphy will always take a risk, as will Annie, but ultimately she plays by the rules. She is more guarded. They share a mutual respect and fondness for each other and there is an understanding between them on both a professional and personal level,” she adds. “There is a definite chemistry between them but if something were to happen, it would spell disaster on the work front. Murphy is the wild card among the pack,” says Claudia. “We always have this joke that Carter (Del Synnott) is the one who always goes home and does his homework; Murphy sits in the pub getting drunk – yet turns up late the next morning and gets it right every time, while Annie follows the rule book all the way. And that’s the way the three of them work.”
Claudia describes her character as very driven. “She is intelligent, hard-nosed, fearless and takes her job very seriously. A woman in her position behaves in a certain way and the demands placed on her are huge – she has to be ready for that. Inevitably, this makes her incredibly serious so we would like to see her let her guard down a bit. And occasionally we see glimpses of that because underneath it all she is fun. I’m not sure that she has much of a life outside work, though.”
To research her role, Claudia contacted a police academy to create a background for Annie that matched the intelligence and ambition she displays on screen. “I wanted to know how a 30-year-old inspector would rise through the ranks so quickly. As it turns out, Annie would have gone through a fast-track system. She would never have been a bobby on the beat and was most likely headhunted at university,” says Claudia.