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‘We had natural chemistry’: Everything Ambika Mod has said about playing Emma in One Day

She shared her favourite line which was cut from the show


Ambika Mod and Leo Woodall are absolutely everywhere after the release of One Day on Netflix last month. Still topping the Netflix charts and being interviewed by literally everyone, the whole world is obsessed with Dex and Em.

Including calling Dex “a tit” and revealing his favourite lines from the show, we already know everything Leo Woodall has said about playing Dex in the show, but what about Ambika?

This is everything Ambika mod has said about playing Emma Morley in One Day:

She learnt her Yorkshire accent in two days and used Educating Yorkshire as inspiration

Via Netflix

Obviously, Anne Hathaway’s Leeds accent in the film adaptation of One Day caused a lot of controversy but, speaking on The One Show, Ambika revealed how she learnt her Yorkshire accent in only two days and by watching a lot of Educating Yorkshire. She said: “It was towards the end of the audition process. I was waiting to hear if I was going to get it and I got a call from my agent saying, ‘They love you, they really want you but they’re just not sure about the accent, so they just need you to be signed off by a dialect coach.’

“So I was like ‘Oh my God my life is in this woman’s hands.’ I had a meeting scheduled with her for a Saturday evening so I spent the whole day just binging Educating Yorkshire, weeping over Asghar getting over his stutter.

“And then I met her in the evening and we had our session together and she was like ‘To be honest I don’t really know what they want from me, you can clearly learn the accent. So I’m just going tell them that and they should give it to you.’ So thank you Educating Yorkshire and the students and teachers of that school. I owe you a lot.”

Ambika initially turned the role down

Via Netflix

Accent aside, we nearly didn’t get to see Ambika Mod in the role of Emma after she initially nearly turned the role down. She said: “I just didn’t see myself playing that part because, insidiously and implicitly, that’s a message that I’ve been fed my entire life — that people who look like me aren’t romantic leads. That people who look like me aren’t the people who the male romantic lead will fall in love with.”

Accent aside, we nearly didn’t get to see Ambika Mod in the role of Emma after she initially nearly turned the role down. She said: “I just didn’t see myself playing that part because, insidiously and implicitly, that’s a message that I’ve been fed my entire life — that people who look like me aren’t romantic leads. That people who look like me aren’t the people who the male romantic lead will fall in love with.”

Thankfully, a month later, she woke up in the middle of the night and realised she had made a huge mistake. She called her agent first thing the following morning determined to try for the role.

She admitted she ‘struggled’ whilst filming and wanted to quit

Speaking on the Reign with Josh Smith podcast, Ambika admitted to being “overwhelmed” whilst filming One Day because she wanted to do the characters from the book “justice.”

“We were both really open when we were struggling when we didn’t feel like things were right. I remember just like, maybe I was more vocal about it than him, but I would come out of every scene just being like, ‘Oh, I’m a f*cking sh*t actor, I should f*cking quit right now, I hate myself.’

“And he [Leo] was always very supportive to me in that, and I hope vice versa. It was good to have someone like that because as an actor you might not always have that.”

She’s rewatched the final episode ‘like 10 times’ and ‘will never get over it’

Ambika Mod One Day

Via Netflix

Speaking about filming THAT heartbreaking box room scene where she comes back almost like a ghost to Dex she said it was “a really special day of filming.”

She told GQ: “I remember that box room scene being a really, really special day of filming. We hadn’t really seen each other in a while – a while being, like, maybe four or five days – and we cut and everything was just quiet. We both felt that we’d done some really special work that day – it felt significant and special. Even though we hadn’t spent that much time with these characters. Yeah, I’ve rewatched episode 14 like 10 times, I will never get over it.”

She added: “We shot episodes 1,2, 3 and 14 at the beginning, because of all the Edinburgh stuff. There were days when Leo was being 40 and then 23 and then 40 again. It was one of the first couple of shoots.

“What I love about that scene in particular is that it’s actually just her voice. You’ve heard a lot of people, when they lose someone they love, say that they’ve forgotten what they sound like. And I love that it’s Emma telling him what would happen to him if he gets drunk tonight and passes out. But really, it’s his own thoughts telling him but in Emma’s voice. I think that’s really significant and harks back to the way that she has changed him and impacted him and made him a better person.”

Ambika says she relates to Emma on a personal level

Ambika Mod One Day

Via Netflix

In one interview, Ambika said: “I do relate to Emma. We’re both hard grafters, people on the outskirts. Emma’s spent three years at the same uni as Dexter and he hasn’t really noticed her.”

She adds: “I’m someone who is incredibly anxious and I have struggled with depression in the past. I know what it feels like to go through a day where nothing is sparking joy and you just feel really hopeless and a bit futile for the future and all you’re living in is self-doubt and self-criticism.”

She said she had a ‘natural chemistry’ with Leo Woodall

When asked what it was like working with Leo on the show, she said: “It was honestly quite easy. Like we had a really easy natural chemistry. We had one chemistry read, we were both cast after that then we went straight into filming. I think what was really nice is that we largely shot chronologically so as Emma and Dexter get to know each other and go through the peaks and roughs of their relationship, we kinda did the same.”

Her favourite line was cut from the show

Ambika Mod One Day

Via Netflix

Talking about their favourite lines on the show with PopBuzz, Ambika said that her favourite line was sadly cut from the final edit of the show. She said the line was “On Primrose Hill when Dexter’s telling Emma about going to the party and meeting Naomi and it’s all glamourous and amazing and he’s like ‘And then she kissed me and slipped something into my mouth’ and then Emma’s like ‘Was it a peanut?'” We were robbed!

She’s most proud of episodes seven and eight

Her favourite scenes to film might have been up Arthur’s Seat, but the episodes she is most proud of are episodes seven and eight. “Two episodes that I’m proudest of in terms of my performance and my understanding of the character are episodes 7 and 8—the dinner with Dexter when they fall out, and then when she’s having the affair with this headmaster and the fallout with Ian,” she said.

“Episode 7 is my favourite chapter in the book. It’s one of the best-written chapters of prose I’ve ever read in my life, because it’s constantly them in their heads berating themselves, and the constant battle between what we want to say and what we feel versus what we actually end up doing and how we actually end up behaving. I remember feeling a lot of pressure for that episode in particular and feeling such a shift in their relationship. It’s the midway point of the whole series, and it felt very important that we get it right. But I’m very proud of it.”

She shared her pre-filming ritual

Ambika Mod One Day

Via Netflix

Sharing how she prepared before going into a day of shooting One Day, Ambika said: “I wake up an hour and a half before I’m picked up. Whenever I tell anyone this, they think I’m an insane person — especially because I don’t sleep very well anyway, so I’m purposely depriving myself. I wake up, have a hot shower, meditate for about 20 minutes, and drink my tea in peace really slowly and quietly. I take my time because on set you have no time alone and no quiet moments. It seems to be working so far.

Her funniest moment with Leo was singing School of Rock up Arthur’s Seat

Talking to Vogue, Ambika said: “The second shoot, we went to Arthur’s Seat, which was my favourite day on set because it was so gorgeous up there. Leo and I were still getting to know each other, and we sat on the seat and sang “School of Rock”. I’d watched [the film] the night before and Leo was a massive fan. He literally knew all the words, all of Jack Black’s little asides and everything. It was very funny.”

Related stories recommended by this writer:

‘It was a gift’: Everything Leo Woodall has said about playing Dexter in One Day

All the glaring plot holes you missed in One Day that will now annoy you forever