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Tuesday 7 December 2021

Sam Retford interview: Emma confronts Curtis about the truth

After last week’s shocking revelation that Curtis has been lying about his heart condition due to factitious illness disorder, tensions continue to rise as Emma confronts him over the truth. We chatted to Sam Retford about how Curtis reacts when confronted by Emma, and how Curtis sees his future. 

“He has a huge amount of anxiety with it,” explains Sam. After an incident with Curtis’s pills, Emma’s confused to find out they’re just vitamins, and she demands the truth from her fianc√©. “I think his brain instantly goes to the worst and he thinks that because he’s never built authentic, unconditional relationships in his life, he just thinks: ‘The slightest flaw I have, someone’s going to turn around and think I’m a monsters and I’m going to be tossed to the side.’

“What he doesn’t realise is that he’s built an authentic, unconditional relationship with this person who is beautifully willing to turn around and help him on his journey. It’s his subconscious instinct to lie his way out of it and try and keep up appearances and just grasps onto his safety net, almost. 

“After 22 years, it’s completely mentally habitual. To let go of something like that in an instant is I’d say impossible. [Emma] just kind of weathers [the lies], thankfully, and breaks him down to the point where he feels able enough to be honest with her, and I think it’s the first time he’s been honest in his entire life, so it was a really beautiful moment to play with Ali [Mardell, who plays Emma].”

As Emma takes in this information, she decides that she will stand by Curtis and help him. Sam said: “I think she sits in such an emotionally mature realm within the relationship where she’s able to have her own emotional battle of turmoil, and yet know that there’s a person here that she loves, that she is willing to stand with and help. 

“I think that’s really beautiful, and I think that de-villainises this disorder immensely. We see him just sad and lonely, and then I’m happy for him. I get really happy when he is shown a world where you can still have flaws and you can still have these demons that make you do these things, but your true self is still prevalent through that, and people are willing to fight for that side of you.”

With Emma determined to stand by Curtis, he agrees to get help, but Sam explains how it isn’t always that simple. “When we look at people with factitious illness disorder, it’s pretty easy to say yes, because that solves it, doesn’t it? If someone turns around and says: ‘I’ll stay with you as long as you get help.’ Yeah, sure, absolutely. 

“But, to actually take it on board and take the onus to go and do it, I think is another question. I think he does want help, I just think it’s an immense challenge for a young adult to completely rewrite their past and their life. You’re remapping the way that you think and to do that at such a young age when your brain is still developing is a huge thing to do.” 

With this information threatening to shadow Curtis and Emma’s wedding, Sam told us that Curtis wants to hold onto Emma as much as he can. “I think in his head, it’s like he’s been shown this light. He’s like: ‘Oh my god. This is a miracle that I’ve been able to be honest with someone and she’s not ran away.’ He never saw that as a possible reality in his head, so now that’s happened, he’s going to do everything he can mentally to retain that.”

It’s not only Emma who Curtis has lied to, but he also has Steve to worry about after Steve puts up money for his treatment. “I think that’s the trouble with lying, isn’t it?” Sam said. 

“To him, it’s a small lie and he made amends to it, and he’ll try and fix something, so in his head it’s fine, but really, once he’s betrayed that trust, it’s very difficult to come back from that. But he’s never had to do that before because whenever he’s betrayed someone’s trust and he’s been found out, he’s left. 

“Steve is another learning platform for him, and again an authentic paternal figure that is willing to help someone who’s struggling, which again he desires superficially, but when he sees it tangibly, he grasps onto that.”

With such a complex character to play in this story, Sam told us how he’s enjoying his time on Corrie. “It’s a mega experience. Where else will I ever get the opportunity to play seven-month waiting game where I know the truth and no one else does? It’s a lovely set to work on, as well.

“It’s such an awesome family and shooting soap is such an immense skill that I absolutely do not possess. Shooting with Ali, she’s a machine. She’s got it down to a tee. It’s a great learning experience every day.

“We’ve had a really great time together working on all of this climactic, pinnacle of their relationship. She’s an absolute gem to work with, she always keeps the set really light. 

“Simon Gregson [Steve], as well. He’s just brilliant. He lights up a set. It’s great for 8am if you’ve got a nice 12-hour day. I always look forward to doing a scene with him.”

With the truth about Curtis’s condition out in the open, will he be able to get the help he wants? And will he and Emma make it down the aisle? 

Sophie Williams

Find me on Twitter @sophie_writer1.

All original work on Coronation Street Blog is covered by a Creative Commons License

1 comment:

Auntie Andrea said...

I knew it!
Poor old Emma. She is so wonderfully naive and childlike in her devotion to her loved ones. Curtis does not deserve her!


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