Playing the role of a soapy villain must be great fun overall, but Natalie Gumede, who of course plays nasty Kirsty Soames, has revealed that she was left “shaken” after filming scenes in which her character injures her fiancé, Tyrone Dobbs.
In the storyline – which focuses on the largely taboo subject of the male victims of domestic violence – Kirsty’s true and dark colours first surface when she loses her temper with Tyrone (Alan Halsall) and lashes out at him with a metal ladle.
Alan recently revealed that he and Natalie extensively researched the sensitive issue, and were shocked at how common domestic violence towards men really is.
And of that research, Natalie told the Daily Record, “There isn’t much from the female abuser’s point of view to read up on [so] it was really a case of thinking about it from the victim’s point of view…
“I had the same feeling reading real-life victims’ stories as I did the script, that kind of heavy heart feeling.
“I tried to imagine how far the abuser must have gone. It had to be something that Alan and I played with.
“We have had some case studies from the male perspective, but what we have had to go on hasn’t been that detailed.”
And when asked if Natalie realized the terrifying direction her character would take when she signed up to the role, she replied, “When I auditioned for the role I knew Kirsty would be a dark character who causes a bit of trouble.
“I knew domestic violence was on the cards but I didn’t know to what extent or when it would come up.
“As an actor it is great to have a challenge like I have, but it is very daunting because it is not something you can comprehend.
“Unless you have been in a situation like Tyrone and Kirsty are, I don’t think you can have any understanding of it, even with research.”
And of the scenes in which Kirsty launches her first physically violent attack on Tyrone, Natalie said, “After an intense scene it is hard to shake off the feeling, it really is draining.
“The first abusive scene left me feeling quite shaken, even though I didn’t physically hit Alan, it was all camera tricks, the place I had to emotionally go to was quite ugly.
“I didn’t know that was in me so I felt quite shaken up for several hours. I couldn’t go home with that feeling.
“I had to leave it at work and stay behind for a while. I was left physically shaking when I came out of the studio.
“The trust between me and Alan is so important to do such physical and verbally abusive scenes. I’ve been so lucky with him.
“He’s so generous with what he does and so giving and patient, there’s never a doubt we couldn’t push the boundaries further.
“Alan plays Tyrone with such strength.”
Finally, Natalie revealed that she doesn’t yet know how the plotline will conclude.
She said, “Where it goes, I honestly don’t know…
“I have the understanding there is no immediate conclusion and the domestic violence between Tyrone and Kirsty, I believe, goes on for some time.
“I don’t know when or if there is an end point. I am just going to keep taking every day as it comes and seeing what surprises I get.”
We’ll see Kirsty’s attack on Tyrone in upcoming episodes.