Hollywood Reporter

Ambika Mod on One Day’s Huge Success on Netflix Fsalinks

When One Day hit Netflix in early February, Ambika Mod — along with her co-star Leo Woodall — experienced what few ever will: overnight fame. The actress was already revered for her work on the BAFTA-winning British medical dramedy This Is Going to Hurt, but the romantic limited series became a viral sensation (at one point, it was averaging almost 10 million views per week). Since its premiere, Mod has been fielding attention from rabid fans, garnered an acting nomination for the inaugural Gotham TV Awards, and scored a seat at the coveted Loewe table at this year’s Met Gala. “This isn’t normal,” she says with a laugh. “Everything is so surreal — like the Met Gala, I’m having a hard time explaining to people all the things that were happening in my body. It’s sensory overload.”

Ahead of the Gotham TV Awards (which will take place June 4 in New York), Mod spoke to The Hollywood Reporter about what she remembers most about filming One Day, and what she wants to do next.

You’ve now been able to be in the presence of other young actors experiencing a ton of success. Do you talk about this experience? Is that something everyone on the Loewe bus is comiserating over?

I haven’t talked to anyone directly about it, but I’ve read interviews with actors who’ve experienced a similar thing. It’s called The Netflix Effect. I read one with [Bridgerton‘s] Johnathan Bailey today. So I know that others have gone through it, which is comforting.

Before the show came out, did you have any sense of how big it would get? If not, what made you realize its reach?

I had an inkling, just because people are familiar with the book and the film, but I didn’t think it would become a cultural moment the way it did. I think after Kim Kardashian posted about it on her [Instagram] Story — my sister screenshoted it and sent it to me — that was when I realized it was on another level. And I certainly never thought about the real-life practicalities of dealing with that. I found the first couple of months after the show came out really tough and overwhelming.

Were you on a new project during those first few months, or did you spend most of it promoting?

I wasn’t working on anything, I was just in London. I remember the week after it came out I went to a hotel and sat there for like a week. It wasn’t even far from where I live, I just wanted a change of scenery and to be somewhere else. I also did sense a shift, where people were noticing me, and then later down the line people would come up to me. But I spent a lot of time on my phone, which was a mistake. I absorbed every single thing on the internet that was written about me and about the show. Like, goodbye mental health. I think I needed to go really deep so that I could come back out and never do that again. It was a necessary torture, but I climbed out of the depths.

Ambika Mod and Leo Woodall in One Day.

Ludovic Robert/Netflix

When people approach you, what is is they usually want to talk about?

Basically how much they cried. Which, to be fair, is something I’m used to hearing from This Is Going to Hurt as well. I just keep dying and making people cry. Eventually, my onscreen death is going to lose all its emotional weight. But there’s also been an outpouring from young women of color who’ve watched the show, which is really meaningful to me. I never sensed that this show would have a social impact.

How did you feel filming the end of the show?

We shot episode 14 and episode one in tandem, so it felt devastating. The juxtaposition of Emma and Dexter on the day they met, versus Dexter going up to Arthur’s Seat [in Edinburgh] alone 20 years later, it felt like I was bereft every day of filming. And I remember after we filmed the scene where Emma comes to Dexter in his imagination, I saw our director Molly [Manners] in tears. I was also listening to really sad music at the time, and I said to my therapist, “I’m just so sad all the time.” And she was like, “Stop listening to the music then.” I was like, “That’s fair.” But it was good to get all that done at the beginning so the weight could lift.

What did you do to make the process less weighty?

It was a really hard job physically and emotionally to be the lead, where you’re literally in every frame for 16 hours a day for eight months. It took a massive toll on my body. But we filmed in London, and I was able to go home every day. I hardly saw my friends and family, but the fact that they were nearby if I desperately needed them, that was helpful.

Do you want to do more romantic shows or films now?

I think that the roles people know me from now have been particularly emotional, so I would like to go back to my roots and do something that is out-and-out comedy — something fun and weird and completely different from this. But we’ll see if that comes my way. If not, I would love to go back to writing and see where that takes me.

You could write yourself a comedy.

It’s definitely something I’m considering.

Lastly, what do you binge-watch?

Right now I’ve been binging the same thing as everyone: Baby Reindeer. If I thought One Day was huge, this show is something else. I actually saw the play about five years ago, and I remember thinking it was good and disturbing. And then at one point during filming of One Day we shared a trailer unit base with them. I can’t look away.

Ambika Mod,gotham tv awards,Netflix,One Day

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