Gugu Mbatha-Raw: ‘It’s a misconception that people act to get attention’

Shaped by her father’s early life in apartheid South Africa, the actor brings political awareness to all of her roles, from Black Mirror and The Morning Show to the new BBC thriller The Girl BeforeAs those of us who have spent more time than usual at home over the last couple of years will know, those four walls can be a sanctuary, prison or, at times, both.

Beautiful, monolithic and eerily empty, the house in the new BBC/HBO drama The Girl Before is definitely both.

“The house,” says Gugu Mbatha-Raw with a laugh, “is the real star.” At one point in the first episode, Mbatha-Raw’s character Jane appears to have developed an intense relationship with it, caressing its smooth stone and glass.In The Girl Before, adapted from the bestselling psychological thriller by Jp Delaney, Jane passes a rigorous vetting process before being allowed to rent this minimalist dream home.

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