Fans were disappointed to learn that Leanne Wilson was leaving the show after two years but her dramatic exit is set to be her most explosive storyline yet. Leanne talks to holby.tv about why she quit and her future plans which include her wedding to fiance Keith Whallet next year…
Why did you decide to leave Casualty?
It was a really hard decision to make, as an actress it is such a blessing to have regular work. But I had been there for two years and just thought that the time was right to try and move onto something new.
What were your most challenging/ memorable storylines in your time on the show?
Definately the last! I found the trial a real challenge the fact that I had lie in court for my brother even though I knew he had raped Bex. I had to do my homework and make sure that Claire really did believe that she was doing the right thing, I had to convey to the audience that she was in a terrible dilemma so that people sympathised with her instead of thinking that she did it maliciously.
What will you will you miss most from working on Casualty? Will you keep in touch with any of the cast?
I will miss the cast the most. We all get on so well, it will be so hard not seeing them everyday. I’ve made some fantastic friends that I hope I’ll stay in contact with for life. But I hope to meet up with them in London and I’ll probably go back and visit to say hello.
Did you enjoy playing your character Claire? Are you pleased with how your character progressed throughout the years?
Yes I did like Claire, I don’t think I could play a character I didn’t like, or understood. I was really pleased to be given such a dramatic storyline, and I loved seeing how my character formed throughout – it was exciting getting the new scripts!!
Can you tell us anything about your last storyline? What was it like filming your final scenes?
Pretty terrifying as I have a phobia of water and shot my last scenes in a tank of muggy water! But luckily I was well looked after, and Matt was really supportive. Both Derek and Matt stuck around for my final scenes – as it was just the three of us on location. Very sweet guys. They looked after me!!!
How did you build yourself up for dramatic storylines? Do you find it hard switching off after filming?
That’s when my dressing room comes in handy. It’s a great little getaway where you can go and have time to yourself to prepare and gear yourself up for heavy scenes. I always find that listening to music helps me too. Especially if it’s a sad scene, I’ll listen to all my sad songs. I had a forty minute drive home after work so that was a good opportunity for me to chill out after work. Also I find talking to my friends and Keith really helps. (He’s a good listener – thank goodness!!)
If you weren’t playing Claire, which other character on Casualty would you have liked to have played and why?
Probably Nina cos she kicks ass!!
Do you think you could be friends with someone like Claire in real-life?
Umm not sure. Probably, but I think I’d take her out and get her to let her hair down a bit!
Do you have any memorable/ funny moments on Set that have happened whilst filming?
Not specifically, but there were lots of funny moments everyday. I was always giggling with Suzanne, and James and I wound each other up like brother and sister most days! Becs and I would eye up all the men on set – that was a giggle!
What acting projects would you like to work on in future?
Oh so much, Ultimately I’d love to do film, but I wouldn’t mind getting back into theatre for a bit. A good drama would be great something I could really get stuck into. But then again I’d love to do something different a comedy or period piece. But then, just to be working is a blessing for an actor.
Are you looking forward to your wedding next year? Have you made many plans yet for your big day?
I am sooooo excited I’m like a kid in a sweet shop!!! And now that I’ve finished Casualty I can start planning!!! I am starting to look for my dress now!!!! aaaahhhhh!!!!!!!!! I get to try on dresses!!!!!! I can’t wait!! We’ve booked the date – it’ll definately be next year.
Who or what inspired you to become an actress?
It’s just something that I’ve always wanted to do ever since I was a kid and used to go to ballet classes when I was 3yrs. I just love performing and truly believe that’s what I am meant to do. As for inspiration, wow so many actors and actresses – Julie Walters, Meryl Streep, I could go on and on…
Which actors/ actresses do you admire?
As above, I admire actors/actresses who can take on different characters, make you laugh and make you cry.
What music do you like? What was the last CD you bought?
I have a wide range of music taste. I love music and have it around me whenever I can. I always have M.T.V on at home or my radio/ cd’s on in the car. I love pop, R&B, soul, rock, and dance. Basically anything that has a good baseline that I can dance around my living room too!! The last CD I bought was Mariah Carey’s new album, The Basement Jaxx’s Greatest Hits, and John Legend’s new album.
Who are your style icons?
Well, Victoria Beckham always looks immaculate. But I love Gwen Stefani’s look, I could never pull it off but she looks very funky. I also love JLo’s look, whatever she’s wearing I love. I watch her in documentaries and I love her funky tracksuits etc. She always looks so sexy.
Who were your celebrity pin-ups when you were younger?
When I was younger, Robbie Williams – I was a Take That fan! And New Kids on the Block.
Finally, do you have a message for fans, who have supported you through your time on Casualty?
Just to say thank you so much it has been very overwhelming to have so much support. I really do read your messages and hope that my last scenes are as exciting for you to watch as they were for me filming. I feel so sad to be leaving but so excited to start something new. So till the next time………….x.x.x.x.x.x.x.
You can catch Leanne’s last appearance in the finale of Series 19 on 20th August.