Jessica Gunning tells what it was like playing the real stalker in 'My Stuffed Reindeer'

You go to a casting to play a woman with mental health problems who, as a defining element, is dedicated to harassing ordinary citizens.

Oliver Thansan
Oliver Thansan
23 April 2024 Tuesday 18:26
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Jessica Gunning tells what it was like playing the real stalker in 'My Stuffed Reindeer'

You go to a casting to play a woman with mental health problems who, as a defining element, is dedicated to harassing ordinary citizens. Your interpretive proposal allows you to take the role. But, when you have the scripts in your hands, you realize the respect that the work gives you: her partner in the scenes is the one who wrote the dialogues and in real life she suffered that harassment that appears on the pages. It is the situation in which Jessica Gunning found herself when faced with My stuffed reindeer, created and starring Richard Gadd.

In an interview with the BBC, he explains that he tried to make Martha Scott, his character, not be a “villain” and that he felt a great “responsibility” towards Gadd, who had suffered harassment from a woman older than him for four years. . “I always cared about Martha,” he admits.

Above all, he never saw her as a flat human being: “I never saw her as a villain. I don't think you can do it if you want to play this kind of role. “I always saw her as someone with many facets and complicated.” It is her opinion that Martha, by becoming obsessed with the protagonist, created her own reality, that of “the life she would have liked to have.”

But, beyond showing empathy for the character, as Gadd himself has acknowledged on more than one occasion that he feels for his stalker as she is a person with mental health problems, he also wanted to make sure that his partner was okay during filming. Above all, he was attentive to Gadd during the filming of the fourth episode when, based on the character of Donny, he interpreted the sexual assault that he suffered in real life at the hands of a television professional.

“Richard was incredibly brave and vulnerable and open to reliving all of this. He left me very impressed,” she explains of Gadd. And the Scottish comedian compressed his two most traumatic experiences into a work of fiction that is now being devoured on Netflix thanks to the word-of-mouth that My Stuffed Reindeer is triggering.

Gunning, for the record, was aware that he had a piece of candy in his hands when he read the script: “I remember the day I received the script for my first audition and I read all the episodes in one sitting and I was shocked, “I think this is the best.” that I have ever read.”

Beyond the public success, it now remains to be seen if it also works at the awards level. Netflix has already reported that it plans to present My Stuffed Reindeer in the best miniseries categories at the Emmy Awards, taking advantage of the good reviews. Could it follow in the footsteps of short-lived British series like Fleabag or I Could Destroy You?