Denise Gough on her transformation for ITV thriller Too Close

Naomi Gordon
·3-min read
Photo credit: ITV
Photo credit: ITV

Emily Watson and Denise Gough play psychiatrist and patient in ITV's Too Close - but both are psychoanalysing one another in this tense psychological thriller.

The three-part series features Watson as forensic psychiatrist Dr Emma Roberston, assigned to Connie Mortensen's (Gough) case, a mother accused of an abhorrent crime she claims she can't recall committing.

Connie drove her car off a bridge with two girls in the back - and Dr Robertson is tasked with extracting a motive and assessing her mental condition as she insists she can't remember events leading up to the crash - or driving the car off the bridge.

The drama has similarities to Netflix's hit series The Sinner - the song that was playing at the time of Connie's incident might hold some significance, and help her to piece together what happened that night.

Photo credit: ITV
Photo credit: ITV

Gough underwent a dramatic transformation to play Connie post-crash - we see vivid bruises swelling across her face and neck, visible patches of her scalp through hacked hair, and bloodshot eyes.

"It was three and a half hours in the morning, that we eventually got it down to..." the Good Housekeeping UK and other press. "There were days that is was hell, and we [makeup artists] hated each other, then we all love each other.... They had their masks on, and their shields, and what they did was phenomenal.

She continued: "They [makeup artists] told me a story when Jim Carrey apparently did The Grinch, he had a six and a half hour makeup call, and he got someone from the CIA to come in and help him with torture techniques, how to withstand torture and he learned all of these tricks so.. I did ask if ITV would send me someone from the CIA but they wouldn't [laughs]..."

The series is comprised of flashbacks scenes - in the flashbacks, we see Connie inhabiting her comfortable, middle-class life in north-west London, and when we return to the present day, bloodied and bruised in her small room in a psychiatric ward.

The boundaries between antagonist and protagonist are often blurred as the drama evolves, so viewers may find themselves switching allegiances between Emma and Connie - and not knowing which character they should be rooting for.

Photo credit: ITV
Photo credit: ITV

"What I found so interesting about the script was that I didn't know until I read to the end, what Connie's full story was," Gough recalled. "If I think of myself as goodie or baddie, it's over-simplifying everything.

Chernobyl star Watson said she "loved" that these two central characters end up breaking each other down - and in different circumstances, could have been friends,

"I loved it - Emma is a psychiatrist, [but] when she encounters her patient she's antagonistic and actually quite, scary, and you think that's where you're going to be..." the actress explained. "And the lines blur and the breakdown of the patient's memory, the mind is reflected in her own journey. They break each other down, which is interesting."

Too Close is available to watch on ITV player.

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