Ambika Mod has detailed her first meeting with her on-screen love interest Leo Woodall before being cast as the beloved Dex and Em in Netflix’s One Day.
The actress, 29, who plays one of the leads Emma Morley, spoke about the ‘close bond’ she made with Leo, 27, while filming the David Nicholls novel adaptation.
Speaking on the Reign with Josh Smith podcast, Ambika revealed there was an immediate connection between the two actors, as she described their ‘playful’ read through, which she said are ‘really rare’.
One Day follows the story of Emma and Dexter after meeting on the final night at Edinburgh University and the next 20 years of their lives on the same date, July 15.
The two graduates become integral to each other’s lives with a series of ‘will they won’t they’ moments and obstacles in the path of a possible romance.
Ambika Mod has detailed her first meeting with her on-screen love interest Leo Woodall before being cast as the beloved Dex and Em in Netflix ‘s One Day (pictured on One Day)
The actress, 29, who plays one of the leads Emma Morley, spoke about the ‘close bond’ she made with Leo, 27, while filming the David Nicholls novel adaptation
For this reason, there had to be a believable connection which translated on screen between the two stars playing the characters.
Detailing their first meeting, Ambika said: ‘I met Leo at the chemistry reads and he was the second Dexter I read with. He is so cheeky and charming. He was so open and warm just immediately and it felt really easy, the scenes felt really playful and I think that’s really rare.
‘That was really half the battle because I think if that had been cast wrong, it would have been so much harder. You just can’t fake that stuff and I’m really grateful to have had an actor like Leo.’
Ambika went onto explain how it was important to her it was that her and Leo were going through the same life-changing type of role for the first time together.
She had previously starred as junior doctor Shruti in This Might Hurt, while Leo had played cockney Jack in the second series of HBO hit White Lotus.
Neither of them had taken on major leading roles yet and it marked a first for both actors to take on such a huge undertaking.
She said: ‘We were both going through a very, very similar thing. This was so much bigger than anything either of us had ever done before and I think we both felt really similarly about the undertaking.
Ambika revealed there was an immediate connection between the two actors, as she described their ‘playful’ read through, which she said are ‘really rare’
‘I just remember, especially at the beginning of the shoot, it was quite overwhelming and it was a massive responsibility, not only like the size of the roles and the size of the project, but also because the book and the characters are so beloved and we definitely felt that.’
Explaining how they would support each other, she said: ‘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**king sh*t actor, I should f**king quit right now, I hate myself.’
‘And he 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.’
Elsewhere in the interview, Ambika discussed her mental health battle with the condition anhedonia, which is a feeling of numbness to joy.
She said playing Shruti in This Is Going To Hurt made her confront her mental health.
Ambika explained: ”I’m someone who is incredibly anxious and I have struggled with depression in the past. There are a lot of Shruti’s experiences (in This Is Going To Hurt) in particular which I definitely related to.
‘I have never felt suicidal or anything like that, but there’s something that she goes through called anhedonia, which is a numbing to pleasure. It’s a numbing to joy. It’s a numbing to everything that once made you feel alive in any way, big or small and that was something that I definitely experienced.
‘I remember in 2019, I just don’t remember most of that year because I felt so depressed and I was so numb to the outside world. Like everything just in my memory feels like a bit of a blur. And I remember when I was playing Shruti I confronted that for like the first time.
‘I know what it feels like to go through a day where just nothing is sparking joy and you just feel really hopeless and you just feel a bit futile for the future and all you’re living in is self-doubt and self-criticism.
‘It’s like a really lonely place to be and you’re living in shame. When I did research into that, I was finally able to put a label for the first time on what I was feeling and bring that up in therapy and that was really enlightening.’
She said playing Shruti in This Is Going To Hurt (pictured) made her confront her mental health
It comes after Ambika exclusively revealed to the Mail that she refused the role of Emma at first and turned the part down.
The star explained she found it was a ‘massive, massive undertaking’ given Emma was previously played by a white actress.
She said: ‘It was definitely originally written as white and previously played by a white actress. I’m really excited to bring something new to the role, I hope that young women who don’t see themselves on screen that often see that it’s possible.
Ambika admitted she wouldn’t have landed the role ten years ago due to her skin colour, saying: ‘I’m very different to Anne Hathaway, so I was never worried about that. Just the fact that I’m not white and I’m getting to play Emma.
‘I don’t think that would have happened ten years ago. That in itself is a way to modernise the story.’
However, discussing the widespread representation with Josh now that the series has aired to millions and is being hailed the ‘show of the year’.
She said: ‘I don’t think you should underestimate the power of seeing yourself on screen from a really, really early age. I think, seeing yourself on screen, seeing yourself in the media is not a thing to be underestimated.
‘It doesn’t only feed into your ambitions but it also feeds into what you think about how you look and how valued you are in society. And especially as a young woman, it feeds into how beautiful you feel or the value you place yourself in terms of, ‘do people fall in love with someone who looks like me?’
‘I think there’s so much insidious messaging that comes with your face or people who look like you not being sort of front and centre that I think people don’t realise.
‘I hope now that’s changing, not as fast as I think I would like, but I hope that for lots of young brown girls, this (One Day) will be a symbol that, you do deserve to be loved, you do matter and you are important, you can go after what you want and you don’t have to be just one thing. I’m very grateful and honoured to be able to give that chance to young women if they take that from this show or any others.’