LONDON, UK – Ambika Mod, a 29-year-old actress, never imagined that she would one day take on the lead role of Emma Morley in the TV adaptation of the bestselling novel, One Day, by David Nicholls. Born in Hatfield to Indian immigrant parents, Mod reflects on the lack of representation of people from ethnic minority backgrounds in lead roles in western productions while growing up. However, she notes that the landscape is slowly changing, but acknowledges that there is still a long way to go.
The new Netflix series features Mod alongside 27-year-old Leo Woodall, who plays Dexter Mayhew. Both actors were cast regardless of ethnicity, a decision that Mod believes enhances the characters’ identities and adds another dimension to the story. Mod recognizes the significance of her casting, especially for young women of color, particularly young South Asian women.
The TV adaptation of One Day tells the decades-spanning love story of Emma and Dexter over 14 episodes, revisiting their relationship on the same day every year. Woodall, who plays Dexter, admits to feeling a bit daunted by taking on such a beloved character, while Mod spent time creating a backstory for her character to make her feel more real.
David Nicholls, the author of the novel, was involved as an executive producer in the new TV series and expresses his appreciation for readers’ identification with the characters. However, despite the wild success of the book, the 2011 movie adaptation disappointed at the box office.
Despite any preconceptions about the TV adaptation, Mod and Woodall simply hope that people will love the show, as One Day becomes available to stream on Netflix.