So where do you see yourself in the future?
I’d love to go to Hollywood, and try my luck there.
Why? Do you feel in the UK you’re losing your sense of… porpoise? He he.
And that was it: with a single, wholly unoriginal fish pun, we’ve blown it. And blown it with one of the most beautiful actresses we’ve met in a while, too – a 5’8” cut-glass English Cameron Diaz, who just happens to have a slightly silly name. There’s a pregnant pause, as 22-year-old blue eyes glare at us critically. “Well,” she finally murmurs. “Now this is a little… awk-cod, isn’t it?”Fortunately, it turns out Laura Haddock is as forgiving as she is crap at aquatic wordplay. Better still, she’s also strikingly pretty in the flesh, great fun and a little bit posh. And disconcertingly rude, too. By the end of the interview she will have growled “I love the pussy!” into FHM’s dictaphone, recorded a breathy, erotic message to our work experience kid and persuaded her own mum to send some bikini pictures to the FHM office. Oh, and she can also drink like a… well, thirsty person: six hours into our 45-minute chat, she’s ordering a fourth bottle of wine, cancelling her taxi and inviting over her friend Minger. “Don’t worry – I can only call her that because she’s so hot,” she explains. All of which unpretentiousness bodes well for her career, of course. Already, ITV1 viewers will have gawped happily at her playing wannabe model Kacie in criminal caper comedy Honest, and as Lady Arabella in royal soap The Palace. And this month she plays Bethan in The Colour Of Magic, Sky One’s big budget adaptation of the Terry Pratchett Discworld novel. Sprinkle on a few vague Hollywood rumblings in the pipeline, and suddenly phrases like “the new Keira Knightley” are flitting about her, like sycophantic wasps. And all of which in turn, of course, begs our very first question: with colossal fame beckoning, why did she never change her marine surname? “I’ll say this until I’m blue in the face,” she yells. “It’s memorable! If I go to a casting and introduce myself as Laura Haddock, they’re bound to remember me for my name, if not anything else.”
Even so, you must have been ribbed about it…
Fish face, trout pout… no wait, that’s Lesley Ash. But yes, I’ve had it all. It’s my dad’s name though – I’m not going to be ashamed of it.
You have a sex scene in Honest – are you worried your parents will be ashamed of that?
No, I have a plan. On the evening of that episode, I’m going to take my mum and dad out for dinner instead. Or fake a heart attack. Or an escaped tiger. Anything to stop them seeing it. ?I was terrified before we filmed it, due to the crew being there, rather than being in my undies. But it’s actually quite comical. I’m not naked in it, just… underwear-naked.
None of that nonsense in The Colour of Magic, we take it?
No – that couldn’t have been more fun. I mean, as well as David Jason, Sean Astin is playing Twoflower. I kept looking at him and shouting “Goonies! Goonies!” Or something from Lord Of The Rings: “Poh-tay-toes!” I think I was kind of annoying. But then, in one episode, he has a line where has to say the word ‘potatoes’ in an American accent. And he physically couldn’t do it. “I can no longer say that word in my own accent,” he kept saying.
Did David Jason do the ‘falling through the bar’ gag when the conversation died?
Shame. Still: with two new primetime shows, you’ll be recognisable. Are you careful not to get drunk when you go out?
I’m drunk now. Not really! But this industry is weird - you feel like unless you’re being photographed, nobody cares about you. And any publicity seems to be good publicity. Falling out of a taxi without knickers on is bad publicity – but it still means you’re in a magazine.
So you’re not planning the ‘Lindsay Lohan’ route to fame?
No! I want so much more for myself – I don’t want to mess it up by falling out of a nightclub. You never see Dame Judi Dench doing that. Anyway, my nan always told me to wear two pairs of knickers. So whatever happens I’ll have that second pair on and you won’t see anything.
Your character Kacie in Honest is also fame-hungry. What’s your inspiration?
There’s a scene where I get into trouble with the police for throwing a stapler at a guy’s nuts – so Naomi Campbell was perfect to base that on. But I was also looking at lots of ‘It’ girls and how much they want fame. They have real naked ambition – it’s ruthless. If they want to marry a footballer, they’ll marry a footballer.
Nice. But acting-wise, you must have done The Bill…
No! I was actually rejected by The Bill. Worse than that – I’ve been rejected five times.
Whoa! Everyone gets on The Bill. Are you, like, really bad at auditions?
I must be. And the fifth time it was for an actual regular role – a new policewoman I think. And every time I’d come out, call my agent and go, “It’s in the bag, baby!” And then they’d say no, over and over again. I’ve been for roles like ‘Girl Shoplifter’. Or this girl who’d been in a car crash, but had a mystery medical condition…
Are you sure this wasn’t Casualty?
No. I was never even put up for Casualty. That’s how bad it was.
Jesus! That’s, like, the Lidl of soaps. They’ll take anybody as a victim.
I know! It doesn’t bode well, does it? But it was definitely in The Bill. I remember now: the girl was diagnosed with Addison’s disease.
What – she’s infected with a taxi firm?
That’s Addison Lee, you dick! Addison’s disease where the victims starts having convulsions, and all your internal organs start failing. And you go yellow. But I wasn’t the right colour.
Racist. Maybe you’re too Scandinavian-looking to be a fictional delinquent.
Possibly so. Perhaps I should go for the Swedish version. Da Billshk, or something. But look: I don’t care. I got to be in My Family instead. And that’s in front of a live audience, with Robert Lindsay. That’s a lot better than the fucking Bill.
There’s a fair few ‘English Rose’ actresses about these days. Who’d win a fight between you, Lucy Brown and Billie Piper? Keira Knightley’s reffing.
Me and Lucy could take Billie. Although Billie would give me a right biting. But I’d like to think that I’d win it. Because I fight dirtier. If there’s an Oscar up for grabs, I will take them down. Ha ha! I’m kidding. Is this like an FHM Bloke Test question? Can I do a self-portrait?
If you want to. Draw your favourite body parts…
I like my lips the best. I quite like my boobs, not too big, not too small. My least favourite part, though, is my arms – because most actresses, particularly American ones, have really toned arms. I don’t like my bingo wings. But don’t worry: they’ll be amazing and toned by the time your 100 Sexiest poll starts.
We hope. Because you look like Pete Burns in your sketch.
Hey – don’t get tench! Wasn’t us that b-roached the subject. We’ll skate over it…
You’re an idiot.
Original interview by Chris Bell in the April 2008 issue of FHM UK magazine