How is Mack feeling about the prospect of becoming a dad?
I think the concept is massively alien to him, he had never thought about it before this. Probably because he never really had a father figure in his life to look up to.
Talk us through the moment he walks in to find Charity in pain?
It’s blind panic peppered with denial I think, he definitely will have felt a sense of responsibly on the entire thing, he will have known that Charity at that point will be in pain as a result of his actions, but the optimism or hope I imagine will have blocked a lot of those feelings out.
Do you think Mack is in denial about what might be happening?
Absolutely yes, but because he is inexperienced in scenarios like this, I think the denial will have been somewhat sidelined by an element of naivety.
Does he feel that he needs to stay strong for Charity?
Oh there’s no doubt in my mind that he will want to stay strong. There is that stigma that men need to be strong for their respective partners, I think that Mackenzie definitely will have wanted to show that for Charity, but hopefully with the work that we’ve done on these heartbreaking scenes, there definitely comes a point where, whilst Mack is strong for Charity throughout, there are moments when Charity needs to be strong for Mack which hopefully will make for really interesting viewing and in some instances break the stigma that men always need to be strong for their partners.
Talk us though the moment they hear the baby’s heartbeat…
Upon reading this beforehand I was extremely wary and trepidatious about it because it’s so so sad. In truth if it were me in the same position, I don’t think that I would make that request as I believe it would make the next part or process so much more difficult. However, it’s Mackenzie that requests this, I don’t think that Charity was very keen on this happening, but again she shows strength by agreeing to let that happen because she sees that it’s something that Mackenzie needs. It was not easy to film AT ALL, so one can only imagine what it will be like to view…
How do they both react when the doctor tells them the pregnancy is not viable?
Mackenzie doesn’t understand initially. I think that his nativity of the subject and the denial of what’s happening combined mean that Charity needs to boil it down for him which in turn is probably one of the reasons he asks to hear the heartbeat.
How does Mackenzie deal with the loss?
I actually think that Mack deals with the loss really well.
Does Charity deal with the shock better than Mackenzie, at least initially?
That’s a really difficult question and probably not one that I could answer without getting an element of the subject matter wrong. Because I have never had to deal with what happens to the characters, I can’t say whether one has dealt with something better than the other. At the end of the day, we’re all people that have our fair share of demons and issues, but most importantly our own way of dealing with the said issues. Both the characters deal with the trauma in different ways, and because I haven’t experienced what they are going through there is absolutely no way that I could, with good conscience, say that either character has dealt with the nuances of the issue better than the other. They both deal with it very differently, and in many cases not in the way you would expect.
Does Mackenzie feel resentful that Charity is being so calm?
I don’t think so, I think he knows what she’s gone through. He knows that its been extremely difficult for them both to move past it, because he wants to talk about it and she doesn’t. So there may be resentment there, but I think it’s more confusion and hurt that she doesn’t seem to want to talk about it.
Do you have a strategy for switching off from intense scenes at the end of the day?
If I had a good answer for this I wish I could give it, but because of the nature of what we do the strategy for me is 9/10 going over the next days scenes… if on the rare occasion that isn’t the case, a walk, gym session, piano jam or PS5 game works OK too.
Would you have liked the chance to work with a baby on screen?
Yes and no. I love kids, like adore them, I was a ‘manny’ in between acting jobs and there is literally nothing more wonderful than a child. However, when you’re on set with a small child or baby they don’t tend to take direction from the director/AD/yourself or even their parents very well, so it can sometimes make shooting difficult, funny…. But very difficult.
How did you prepare to film the emotional scenes where they find out the news?
When I approached it, I obviously wanted to do the storyline justice and get it right as best I could. As I said, thankfully I have never had to go through anything as traumatic in real life,I hope that remains the case – because filming it was draining physiologically and emotionally. I tried not to over think it too much and make sure that the stuff that happened on set was as organic as possible. So making sure not to under rehearse, but probably even more critically over rehearse it. I didn’t want to make it stale or insincere when we filmed it. I hate it when a script tells you when you need to break down in tears at a specific point, because that automatically puts an inherent pressure onto performing in that moment because the script tells you to. I feel the actor is far more interesting to just feel when these little nuances come, because if it’s an emotional scene, whether tears come or not, If you as an actor are feeling it, the audience will feel it too. I definitely felt it filming with Emma that day, so hopefully that will show across on screen..
Emmerdale airs weeknights at 7.30pm on ITV.