Emily Bevan, who plays Salit in BBC’s biblical tale The Ark talks about the making of the one off Easter drama.
What can you reveal about your character in The Ark?
My character in The Ark is called Salit, and she is married to Noah’s eldest son, Shem. They’ve been together for a few years, and are at the point in their relationship where they want to start a family of their own. Unfortunately, the thin walls in the farmhouse are proving to be a bit of a passion killer… not something that seems to be a problem for her parents-in-law, I might add.
Could you identify with her?
Definitely. Salit is loyal and dutiful to the family as a whole, but has a quiet ambition for herself and Shem which I think is admirable. When she sets her mind to something, she doesn’t give up easily. She’s also pretty practical, and when it comes to building their house, rolls her sleeves up and isn’t afraid to get her hands dirty. I like to think I’d be quite handy with a chisel.
What did you enjoy about filming the drama?
So many things. What was unique about the experience of filming ‘The Ark’ was that it was such an ensemble piece. Even before we got to Ouarzazate, Jules Hussey, (the lovely producer) was emailing us, introducing us to our onscreen spouses, and from the moment we arrived, we were treated as a family. We were “the kid’s” and Jo and David, were our bohemian parents. Normally shooting schedules are quite disjointed but we had the continuity of being pretty much together all of the time, which was lovely. And obviously – it was a massive novelty to be working in such a spectacular place, with an amazing Moroccan/English crew, endless mint tea and nuts, goat-wranglers, stunt men and rain machines. There was never a dull moment. I also loved floating around in a tabard, with braid’s and headscarves in my hair. And the fact that I could jump into a swimming pool at the end of the day.
Why do you think Noah’s mission divides the family so much?
What is very clear at the beginning of ‘The Ark’ is just how highly Noah is regarded by his family members. He’s a figure who commands enormous respect and love; He’s fair and kind, principled but also spontaneous and funny. So when this man, who they admire so much, announces a plan that they think is completely bonkers, (and which seems to go against everything he has ever taught them about responsibility), it totally throws the status quo. As their faith in him wavers, the whole dynamic of the family unit falls apart.
What was it like working with David Threlfall and Joanne Whalley?
David and Joanne had the most incredible chemistry as Noah and Emmie, and it was a total pleasure to be around them and get to work with them. They are both very funny and brilliant actors. David is so grounded and instinctive – you just completely believe him. And he’s very generous with it too… You can tell that he’s always trying to bring out the best in those around him. And Joanne is an incredibly cool woman. She’s so inquisitive and playful and energetic and absolutely loves what she does. Talking to her about acting was very inspiring. She’s a great role model.