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‘The End We Start From’: Jodie Comer on the challenge of playing a new mother

Exclusive: Jodie Comer tells Rolling Stone UK how the on-set routine of playing a mother had an unexpected lasting impact on her.

By Nick Reilly

Jodie Comer in The End We Start From (Picture: Press)

Jodie Comer has discussed how playing a new mother in her latest film had an unexpected lasting effect on her, months after the cameras stopped rolling.

The Killing Eve star takes her first big-screen leading role in The End We Start From, director Mahalia Belo’s adaptation of Alice Walker’s 2017 novel of the same name.

In the powerful post-apocalyptic drama, Comer plays a woman who is trying to navigate the chaos and danger that emerges after London experiences devastating flash flooding – all while looking after the demands of a newborn baby.

Speaking to Rolling Stone UK, Comer explained how the experience of wearing a prosthetic bump proved to be unexpectedly soothing and she found herself trying to emulate the experiences months after the film had wrapped.

“As soon as I got to set and I had one of the newborn babies we used in my arms, or strapped on, I felt like I was bouncing and it was soothing. I found myself doing that for months after that too. I text Mahalia [Belo] and said ‘I’m in the coffee shop and I’m bouncing’. I found it was soothing, but it had stuck with me,” she explained.

For director Belo, meanwhile, it was key that the post-apocalyptic setting would just act as the vessel for the tale of motherhood.

“I knew it was about a flood and a climate crisis, but that wasn’t the main intention of telling the story,” she said.

“But this film has essentially used the flood as an analogy for motherhood, you know, and we’re talking about that first year of of motherhood.”

Belo added: “I had a baby through COVID and I’d been given Alice Birch’s script, but I’d read the book by Megan Hunter quite a few years before and it really stuck with me. When I read the script, it felt so true to that experience of being the sole provider for this small human being who’s seeing the world for the first time at the same time as the world going very wrong around you.”

And Comer, meanwhile, hopes that the film will provide a look at what the reality of climate change could look like in the not-so-far future.

“I do think more action needs to be done to tackle it, but what that action specifically is, I couldn’t sit here and tell you. That’s not my job or where I feel comfortable speaking. But I think people are quite stifled by it, it’s a scary thought and we can become a little passive. There’s a hierarchy of people who have the power and should take control. As for us, as actors, we’re here to tell the stories.”