Starstruck star Rose Matafeo: ‘Success freaks me out! It’s a gut-punch’ | Television

Rose Matafeo is arguably the breakout star of 2021. Her BBC Three sitcom Starstruck grew to become the channel’s best-performing comedy inside weeks of launch, racking up 3m views and incomes a second sequence earlier than it even premiered. The affect was so big and rapid that you might be forgiven for considering she had dropped from the sky absolutely shaped.

This couldn’t be farther from the reality. After profitable a New Zealand worldwide comedy pageant award for standup in 2007, on the age of 15, Matafeo has conquered nearly all the things she has ever tried. She has written for Each day Present-esque satirical information programmes. She has offered leisure exhibits. She co-created and starred in a sketch sequence, and has directed sitcoms. In 2018, her present Horndog – detailing, partly, how she was kicked off a Franz Ferdinand messageboard for being “too racy” – gained an Edinburgh comedy award. And final yr she was the lead within the movie Child Accomplished, govt produced by Taika Waititi.

And but, even for these of us who knew her work, Starstruck was the right showcase for all of Matafeo’s abilities. Regardless of a premise that wasn’t fully novel – like Notting Hill earlier than it, it advised the story of a civilian who by chance fell in love with a film star – Matafeo’s presence helped to reset and replace a variety of hoary outdated romcom tropes. Equal elements assured and anxious, for a few weeks in April, she was kind of all anybody might speak about. She’s a massive deal now. She can also be exhausted.

“I’m having a lie-down,” says the 29-year-old New Zealander over the cellphone from London. Collection two of Starstruck is nearly full, marking the tip of a two-year treadmill for her, and he or she is intentionally selecting to pause. “I’ve acquired no work plans for subsequent yr and it’s nice,” she says. “I actually need to watch about a hundred motion pictures and probably, I don’t know, simply sit back.”


It’s a good concept, however Matafeo isn’t satisfied it’ll stick. “I’ll hate it,” she sighs. “I’ll hate it as a result of I’ve nothing to do and it’ll kill me.”

Matafeo with Nikesh Patel as Tom in Starstruck.
The brand new Notting Hill … Matafeo with Nikesh Patel as Tom in Starstruck. {Photograph}: Mark Johnson/BBC/Avalon UK

A part of the difficulty appears to be that, as wildly as Starstruck was acquired, she didn’t have any time to take pleasure in its success. “I had at some point,” she says. “Not even at some point. The primary sequence got here out on iPlayer at 6am the day earlier than we began capturing the second sequence.” To compound issues, the complete sequence confirmed up directly and other people shortly found that one of the simplest ways to eat it was in a single sitting, like a film.

“Right away the viewers was like, ‘Nice! When’s the following one popping out?’,” remembers Matafeo. “I believed, that is like a intestine punch! It’s actually flattering, like, that’s nice! However oh my God! It freaks me out, you recognize?”

Finally, although, the dearth of a break can solely be good for Starstruck. With no downtime between sequence, Matafeo and her writing companion Alice Snedden didn’t have time to bow to the pressures of fan service, in order that they didn’t need to second-guess themselves.

“It’s scary since you go, ‘Possibly we didn’t write what the viewers wished’,” she says. “You realize, folks actually love the present and also you see a lot of sequence step it up extensively for sequence two. Nevertheless it’s really good not having that, as a result of it implies that we’ve made a second sequence that we like. It was constant and consistent with the spirit of the primary one. I’m a horrible people-pleaser so I feel it was good to not have that little voice in my head.”

I’ve spent the year model-making, shredding on bass and watching Dawson’s Creek ... Matafeo.
‘I’ve spent the yr model-making, shredding on bass and watching Dawson’s Creek’ … Matafeo. {Photograph}: Mark Johnson/BBC/Avalon UK

Since we’re right here to speak about Matafeo’s 2021, it made sense to ask her concerning the issues she loved watching. The quick reply is “nothing present” – she caught up with 2019’s Watchmen in February, and adored it – however for probably the most half she fell again on outdated favourites. “I grew to become sort of emotionally reliant on Dawson’s Creek,” she says. “I feel I nonetheless am. Actually, I acquired in deep with that and it saved me. It pulled me out of some darkish locations.”

Fittingly, for a lady whose character labored in a single, Matafeo has additionally been profiting from the cinemas reopening. “I’ve been going again to the BFI, again to the Prince Charles [cinema in Leicester Square], the place I’ve been doing a little screenings of Beverly Hills Cop one and two, my favorite movies. And been actually diving into my curiosity in additional obscure 60s motion pictures that it’s a must to discover on some bootleg bizarre zone on DVD.

“However, yeah,” she continues, “it’s been a yr of doing hobbies and stuff. Whenever you’re making TV specifically, you have a look at a display all day after which once you come dwelling, you’re like ‘I don’t need to have a look at a display’. So it’s been a yr of moving into mannequin making. I purchased a bass guitar. I’m making an attempt to shred on bass guitar. I simply acquired into 16mm movie cameras and realized all about that, so it’s been a yr of nerd-dom, and I like it.”

That’s actual self-improvement territory, I say. “It’s borderline,” she says, laughing. “Self-improvement slash self-sabotage by way of now I spend my cash on cameras and I’m not seeing anybody.”

Our time is coming to a shut, and I’m involved that Matafeo doesn’t realise how a lot folks loved Starstruck. So I reassert the notion, happening at some size about all of the methods I liked it. And I actually did. In one other yr that has been marked by a basic sense of gloom, the unapologetic loveliness of Starstruck felt just like the shot within the arm all of us wanted.

“Aw, that’s actually form! I’m so glad so many individuals have favored it, and I hope when the second sequence comes out, they’ll nonetheless prefer it,” Matafeo replies. She pauses, and checks herself. “But in addition I don’t care as a result of, you recognize, no matter.”

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