Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Accent's on Grim Reality as Hayley Immerses Herself in Loach Role; Priced out of London, Katie's Arrival in Newcastle Is at the Heart of I, Daniel Blake. DAVID WHETSTONE Met Actress Hayley Squires Who Plays the Young Mum in the Film

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Accent's on Grim Reality as Hayley Immerses Herself in Loach Role; Priced out of London, Katie's Arrival in Newcastle Is at the Heart of I, Daniel Blake. DAVID WHETSTONE Met Actress Hayley Squires Who Plays the Young Mum in the Film

Article excerpt

Byline: DAVID WHETSTONE

I, Daniel Blake lead actor Hayley Squires at the Newcastle premiere THE film I, Daniel Blake can be easily placed in the North East by the accents - but one voice stands out. Expressing frustration and annoyance, it rises above the subdued Geordie murmuring, causing heads in the Newcastle Job Centre to turn.

This is London benefits claimant Katie being sanctioned for her lateness for an appointment in an unfamiliar city. Katie is played by 28-year-old Hayley Squires, chosen by Ken Loach to appear ('star' seems the wrong word in a Loach film) opposite Geordie Dave Johns as Daniel Blake.

She is very good - utterly believable as the frazzled but resilient mum of two young kids, each by a different dad who let her down.

Speaking in a Newcastle hotel, not long after flying in from New York where she had been at a festival screening of the film, Hayley seemed a little tired and distracted by Theresa May speaking on a television screen high on the wall.

"Since my teens I've been politically aware, reading newspapers, watching the news and having opinions," she said.

"But I think that's probably been magnified since working with Ken and Paul (Laverty, the writer of I, Daniel Blake), just in terms of our responsibility as members of society."

Ken Loach is never going to make a film in praise of right-wing policies, but few if any have questioned the accuracy of what we see in his new film which has moved many to tears.

Hayley says Katie's plight has always rung true to her.

"I grew up in a working-class area and have lived in social housing. I still live in a working-class area, so a lot of the problems you see in the film, and the plight of single mothers, I was aware of.

"But the specifics, like sanctions and the kind of hoops people have to jump through, I was stunned about, to be honest.

"We all researched the facts and figures and what people have to go through. I worked with Shelter, the homeless charity, finding out about hostels and hearing people's stories.

"When you come face to face with it, even if you are politically aware, it smacks you in the face.

"It makes it human. It goes from being a thing on the news to something happening to a real person." Katie was born in Lewisham and trained at London's Rose Bruford College, graduating in 2010 with a degree in acting.

She has had a few TV roles since then, making an appearance on Call the Midwife in 2012, and more recently has landed roles in two films - Away, starring Timothy Spall, and Giantland.

She has also written a play called Vera, Vera, Vera which was staged at London's Royal Court Theatre in 2012 and got a rave review in The Telegraph.

But it is I, Daniel Blake, with its Palme d'Or win, that has really put her in the spotlight and she couldn't be more happy. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.