The moving debut by Manchester-born actress Anna Hope (she was Novice Hame in Doctor Who), Wake takes place over five days in November 1920, as the body of the Unknown Soldier makes its way from the fields of Northern France to its final resting place in Westminster Abbey, and hones in on the worlds of three very different women who are attempting to rebuild their lives in the aftermath of the Great War. Wake is published in the UK on 16 January 2014 by Transworld. Below, Anna Hope tells us why her cinematic alter ego is Luna Schlosser from Woody Allen’s Sleeper (1973). Eithne Farry
Sleeper was my favourite movie from earliest adolescence, and I watched it over and over again. There was Woody as Miles Monroe – the clarinettist and health-food shop owner who is cryogenically frozen when in hospital for a peptic ulcer, and wakes up 200 years into the future – giving us his best Buster Keaton, bouncing on top of evil guards to knock them out, nicking giant bananas and slipping on their skins; and there was… Diane Keaton.
As far as I was concerned, Diane Keaton’s character, Luna Schlosser, was brilliant. She got to swan around in feathers and slinky silver 1970s-version-of-the future-shirt-dresses. She got to say things like, ‘It’s keen. It’s pure keen. No, no, it’s greater than keen, it’s kugat’. She got to handle the orb, which looked like a lot of fun, and go into the orgasmatron whenever she wanted. And then, mid-caper, she got to throw off the shackles of totalitarianism and come to political consciousness in the great outdoors, while wearing all black and lots of kohl, and snogging that gorgeous one who was in Dallas for a bit. What’s not to love?
But then I re-watched Sleeper for the first time in years for the purposes of this piece, and, while the film remained as wonderful as ever, I have to admit, I was concerned. Was Luna too passive? Should I be championing such a crap poet? Someone who doesn’t know which comes first, a caterpillar or a butterfly? Shouldn’t I choose someone a bit less dippy? Lauren Bacall, say, or Katherine Hepburn – those women who exude cool and class and intelligence – who always know just what to say, and say it with a cocked eyebrow and a smoulder I’d find hard to summon in several lifetimes?
But I can’t help it. I love Luna. She may not be the sharpest space cadet the future has to offer, but she does a mean Marlon Brando impersonation. And nothing can beat her glorious hymn to liberation, sung in the woods in the Western District to the accompaniment of solo guitar:
‘Rebels are weee! Born to be freeee! Just like the fisshhh, in the seeeea!!’