Emma Appleton on Everything I Know About Love, Maggie, and Dolly Alderton’s iconic story

by W. Andrew Powell

Dolly Alderton’s Everything I Know About Love is a beloved novel, and the new series on Paramount+ is a funny, heartfelt, and honest take on that story about the lives of four 20-something friends in London, England.

Set 10 years ago, the series stars Emma Appleton as Maggie, who finds herself at the crossroads of her friendship with her lifelong friend, Birdy (Bel Powley) after they both begin dating. At the same time they’re navigating their lives, careers, and so much more.

Appleton has been making waves for several years, appearing in Netflix’s The Witcher, Channel 4’s Traitors, and Danny Boyle’s Pistol as Nancy Spungen. And now this year she was featured in Vogue UK’s “The 6 Actors Set To Take Over Your TV Screen In 2022” and Net-a-Porter’s “The Names You Need To Know In 2022,” among many other lists.

Everything I Know About Love is really a chance to see Appleton shine, as she put her own spin on the role that was inspired by Alderton’s memoir.

“I knew that [Alderton] used the book, and the show was inspired from it, so it’s like a few steps away,” Appleton said. “It turned the pressure off a little bit… [and] opened it up for me to have an interpretation of this character as well and kind of blend those two things together.”

“I’ve never read a character quite like her because I’ve never read someone so real and relatable. It was an absolute gift, really.”

“I feel like you very much get the Maggie that everyone sees. She’s got a very confident front, she is warm and engaging and knows how to be around people. And I think she wants to make everyone feel good about themselves.”

“And then you kind of see inside Maggie’s head as well.”

While Maggie struggles to figure out what her own relationship is all about, Birdy is suddenly in a serious relationship, and it completely changes how the two best friends relate.

“I think the audience gets to see her insecurities and where she’s slightly unravelling and is really happy for her best friend, but also doesn’t know what that means for them. So they’re kind of getting to see the inner and the outer aspects of Maggie, and I’ve never really played something like that, to that extent; those nuances and kind of just being on both sides of it.”

“But I think that’s hopefully what makes her more relatable in a nuanced and complex [way]. It’s completely a fully rounded character.”

Appleton spoke to Alderton about the role, and they had a four hour conversation before filming started, so they could get to know each other.

And then there’s the relationship with Street, played by Connor Finch. It’s both exciting to watch Maggie and Street, because it’s exhilarating, and it’s also completely cringe-worthy, and that was something she agreed with.

“I love how you described that, by the way, because it is spot on. As an actor, it was relatable. I was like, ‘I know this person. I’ve been friends with this person. I have been this person.’ So I think, for me, it’s always great to kind of draw on those moments and bring it into a character and a situation.”

“But also it was just so relatable and I think it’s great to see Maggie; she’s so confident around her friends and then suddenly she’s in a romantic situation that changes and she’s trying to be the person she thinks she should be for that.”

“So I think, again, you’re seeing all aspects of someone who in some situations is really confident, and is completely herself, and then others where she’s kind of manipulating herself to be good enough, and that’s where we see her vulnerabilities as well.”

Watch the full interview above to hear about the dancing in the series, how she looks at the series somewhat as a period piece, and what it was like dressing up like a pig and a stack of pancakes in the middle of the city during filming.

Everything I Know About Love is streaming now on Paramount+.

A scene from Everything I Know About Love with Emma Appleton

Images courtesy of Paramount+.

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