The comedian and actress, 29, on why millennials are old news, screwball comedies, and Chris Pine’s DUI in New Zealand.
Your new TV show, Starstruck, is about a normal person falling in love with a celebrity. I bet everyone has asked you who it’s based on…
I feel like Tina Turner, for God’s sake! It’s not based on anyone but, honestly, I think that’s the sadder answer because then I’ve just made all this up and that’s weird. What a weird little girl. It’s based on an amalgamation of all the celebrities I’ve read about on Instagram and gossip websites and places like that. I wish I could give you the juice but I can’t because there ain’t none.
It would be easy to describe this as a millennial version of Notting Hill. An inspiration?
Its dynamic and structure are similar in many ways, yeah, and obviously Notting Hill is the classic romcom that Starstruck has common ground with. But I think once people see the full series, they’ll see how we break away in different directions and the fact the gender dynamic is reversed in this changes the feel quite a bit.
I noticed loads of classic 1950s movie posters in the background. Are you a fan?
Totally. I’m a massive fan of classic screwball comedies. I’m very interested in that golden era of Hollywood comedies when romcoms were born and then the subversions and iterations of that throughout the decades. I’d say even more than Notting Hill, Starstruck is inspired by those Cary Grant/Katharine Hepburn screwball comedies.
Your stand-up has seen lots of people bill you as a ‘voice of a generation’. Do you feel the pressure of that?
It’s funny because we millennials, we’re old news. I want to distance myself from that title. We’re the new boomers. The next generation is here and they’re much cooler than us and way smarter. It makes me feel old, in a way. It’s always a natural descriptor if you’re of a certain age and making a certain type of work representing real life as a person in their late 20s. It’s a real privilege and very flattering — but I can’t help but feel like the man who walked into the BBC interview accidentally when he was just there to pick someone up. Who danged this random New Zealand girl to speak on behalf of anyone? I wouldn’t want that.
You’ve said in the past that New Zealand has a fairly blasé view of celebrity — in what way?
It’s funny, I do enjoy that we [New Zealanders] are simultaneously not sycophantic about celebrity and have this standoffish quality where we’re like, ‘Come on, mate. You’re not that great.’ But also we’ve got that ‘little country at the bottom of the world’ energy of ‘oh, you like New Zealand?’ whenever somebody famous comes here. We had Chris Pine in court for a DUI in New Zealand and I remember the best bit about that was that there were girls outside the courthouse getting him to sign DVDs — and that’s so perfect. It summed up New Zealand energy: you’re not good enough to get away with a DUI but you’re absolutely famous enough that girls line up to get their DVDs signed.
Minnie Driver has a great turn in the show. What was she like?
It was brilliant. She’s so frickin’ funny. It was such an amazing day when we had her on set. She was so into it and she required so little direction, she just absolutely got it. I was genuinely starstruck by her because she was so perfect and I immediately regretted not writing myself into a scene with her.
If your career continues on this upwards trajectory it won’t be long until you’re being written about on gossip websites…
I really can’t see that happening. I live the most boring life so they’d quickly give up on me. It’s kind of how Matt Damon lives his life, which I love: they’ve stopped following him because he lives a very boring life. If anyone was remotely interested in my life, I feel deeply sorry for them. I don’t date celebrities — I don’t date at all — so it would be pretty boring. Oh look, Rose has stepped outside the craft shop and she’s got some new fabric paint! No one is buying those photos.
Will you return to stand-up or is TV where your future is at?
It’s one of those things — like a toddler threatening to run away from home — that when I finish a stand-up run
I always go, ‘I’m never doing stand-up again!’ And it’s so untrue because it’s something I’ve done for so long that I’m always going to keep going back to it.
There’s a big dance scene in Starstruck. Your stand-up show Horndog had one too. Are you just desperate to get on Strictly?
Oh my God! When we were making the first series, Strictly was on and, yeah, obviously, it’s my ultimate career goal. Everything I’ve done in my life has been built towards when I’m 50 and I can do Strictly Come Dancing, dance my body back and take that trophy. It’s my dream.
■ Rose Matafeo’s Starstruck is available to stream on BBC iPlayer
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Original posted at metro.co.uk