From ‘heavy’ scenes to ‘realistic’ radiation burns: Chernobyl’s Emily Watson talks award-winning series

Chernobyl’s Emily Watson talks award-winning series (Picture: Sky / HBO)

Emily Watson has opened up on her time filming the award-winning series, Chernobyl.

The 52-year-old played the nuclear physicist Ulana Khomyuk, which was one of the few makebelieve characters created for the Sky Atlantic and HBO show.

Representing the scientists that worked on the 1986 nuclear disaster, the star has absolutely floored viewers with her performance.

And now, when chatting to on the red carpet of the Women In Film And Television Awards, in London, the mother-of-two revealed how she handled the darker scenes.

Talking about the director Johan Renck’s decision to cast a woman as the lead scientist, she told us: ‘Well I think it is truly representative of that time.

She spoke about some of the darker sides of the show (Picture: Getty Images)

‘In the Soviet Union a lot of women were working in that world, and also I think she just had a different perspective on it all.

‘The way they created the character, she was incredibly tough she didn’t have the same currency in the party structure and the men, which made her less worried about her status and more able to fearlessly peruse the truth.’

Looking back on the series after it went onto win a number of Emmys, Emily called the project ‘amazing’.

‘It was very special,’ she said: ‘It was an amazing thing to be a part of, we knew we were attempting something very ambitious but everyone turned up with their A-game.’

The star called the project amazing (Picture: SKY TV / HBO)
She dealt with the heavier scenes with respect (Picture: SKY TV / HBO)

But despite it being a ‘wonderful’ experience, there were some aspects that understandably did take their toll on the actress.

‘There were days when it was pretty heavy when we were dealing with the radiation burns,’ she explained: ‘That makeup is so brilliant and so realistic but you deal with it with respect.’

And if that wasn’t enough to comprehend, Emily laughed: ‘And there was a lot of nuclear physics to get your head around!’

But it seems she had a lot of help from the network as well as reading some eye witness testimonies that she said ‘formed the basis of the human side of the script.’

‘We shot in Lithuania and Ukraine and yeah, a lot of the crew had first-hand knowledge of that kind of society, or their parents did.’

Chernobyl is available to stream on Sky Go or NOW TV.

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