Daisy Haggard is ready to get Back to Life.
In a career spanning over 20 years, the English actress has done everything from playing the disembodied voice of the Ministry of Magic’s elevators in the Harry Potter movies, to fangirl-ing over Matt Le Blanc on five seasons of the BBC’s Episodes. “I just kept replaying ‘How you doin’?’ in my head,” she says of scenes with the Friends alum.
Now, Haggard’s helming her own dark comedy (premiering Sunday on Showtime) — the first show she’s written to make it to the “telly box” — about a small-town woman trying to get her life back on track after 18 years of incarceration. “I’m really interested in how we treat women who have done something bad and how harsh we are on them,” Haggard explains of the premise. “Also, I really love a coming-of-age tale or an indie film or something with a real heart and innocence and this was just a strange combination of all of things.”
Rather than dwelling on her lost youth, Miri (Haggard) instead relishes the small joys of freedom, like gnashing on a crunchy piece of fresh celery — an insight Haggard took from a real-life ex-convict she interviewed while researching. “It felt really important that Miri had this warmth and positivity,” says the actress. “She’s an adult beginner who has an incredibly dark past, but she’s going to start her new life and is determined not to waste any more of it. She’s a survivor; no matter what. She’s really fighting to try and get back her life despite what she’s carrying around from the past.”
As a female-led British dark comedy with producers in common, comparisons to the wildly successful Fleabag were, perhaps, inevitable, but Haggard has a proactive perspective. “What an honor,” she says. “Phoebe [Waller-Bridge] is so brilliant and such a lovely woman and such a clever and an excellent brain, so it doesn’t really bother me, but at the same time I look forward to a time when we do not think of ‘female’ as a genre.”