It’s always interesting to hear things like this. Emily Berrington has revealed that her character Simone Al-Harazi was originally only meant to appear in just two episodes of 24: Live Another Day but the writers expanded her role. She also praises Kiefer Sutherland, dyeing her hair red for the role, and explains how the brutal finger chopping scene was filmed.
It was during filming in Australia that Emily got the call telling her she had won the role of Simone Al-Harazi in 24. Initially the character was only meant to appear in two episodes but, as filming progressed, Simone’s role grew.
If Emily is wary of giving too much away about Inbetweeners 2 she has no such reservations about her time on 24. As the daughter of the show’s master-villain Margot, Emily’s character has a tough time. In one scene – set on the London underground – she has to stab herself in the leg as a diversionary tactic to escape from hero Jack Bauer (Kiefer Sutherland) and in another, perhaps even more gory scene, her little finger is chopped off: ‘They made me a fake arm; the hand was filled with “blood” plus some plaster, so that when the chisel came down to chop off my finger it would make a “crunch” sound like bone. The scene looked so realistic on screen that my poor mum had nightmares after she watched it,’ she says.
The role of Simone also required Emily to dye her naturally blonde hair red, something that initially worried her. ‘It was strange: I have been blonde my entire life and then to suddenly have a complete change was terrifying. But actually I really loved being a redhead. It was wonderful – and sometimes funny – to see how people’s perception of you changes and your own perception of who you are alters. I felt much more classy and grown-up and I no longer suited my blonde clothes so I had to have a totally different wardrobe,’ she says.
But, for Emily, by far the most brilliant aspect of her time on 24 was working with Kiefer Sutherland. The actor was, she says, fantastically supportive, encouraging and a complete gentleman.
‘He is so kind. One day I brought my mum to the set and he was so wonderful – he treated her like the Queen, explaining everything we were doing and making sure she had cups of tea. You imagine that going into such a huge American series you will come up against a lot of egos, but it was the complete opposite on 24, a dream team,’ she says.
This is not the first time that an actors role was expanded. In the eighth season of 24, actress Nazneen Contractor (Kayla Hassan) was originally scheduled for just two episodes as well but she ended up appearing in 21 episodes. Anil Kapoor (Omar Hassan) was originally supposed to appear in ten episodes but was increased to sixteen.