Hayley Atwell learned to question her scripts from Jodie Whittaker.
The ‘Christopher Robin’ actress studied alongside the ‘Doctor Who’ star at London’s Guildhall School of Music and Drama and was always impressed with the way her friend was never afraid to speak up if she was uncertain about something in her lines.
She said: "I’m so proud of Jode! At university, she was equal parts tomboy and girlie girl – we’d go to fancy dress parties together. But she was also really good at going, ‘I don’t understand that word in that script, what does that mean?’ I’d be too embarrassed to ask. She taught me it’s OK to not get things."
While the 36-year-old star made her movie debut in 2007’s ‘Cassandra’s Dream’, she still feels like an "apprentice" and is open to making mistakes on her career path.
Speaking to Marie Claire magazine, she said: "When people think you’ve made it for this long, this far, I get the sense they’re not going to mess with you … I’m still very much an apprentice. And I want to make mistakes and burst any bubbles about what an ‘actor’ – she pronounces the word with humorous hamminess – should be."
Haley also recalled how a "powerful film director" told her early in her career that she could lose her job if she went to her grandmother’s funeral, and though she went anyway, she was determined not to put a foot wrong afterwards in order to not give the filmmaker an excuse to fire her, and she learned a lot from the experience.
She said: "I was still skint then, paying off my student loan, and terrified. I remember on the plane back learning my lines perfectly, thinking, ‘I’m going to blow his mind because he’s going to be waiting to catch me out.’ It was awful. Really s**t. But the point of the story is not to name names and go into gossip, but to realise that moments like that are potentially life-changing and character-building – and that you can grow from them."