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 collection earlier than it even premiered. The impression was so enormous and speedy that you may be forgiven for considering she had dropped from the sky totally fashioned.
This couldn’t be farther from the reality. After successful a New Zealand worldwide comedy competition award for standup in 2007, on the age of 15, Matafeo has conquered nearly every thing she has ever tried. She has written for Day by day Present-esque satirical information programmes. She has introduced leisure reveals. She co-created and starred in a sketch collection, and has directed sitcoms. In 2018, her present Horndog – detailing, partly, how she was kicked off a Franz Ferdinand messageboard for being “too racy” – received an Edinburgh comedy award. And final 12 months she was the lead within the movie Baby Done, government 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 skills. Regardless of a premise that wasn’t completely novel – like Notting Hill earlier than it, it informed the story of a civilian who by chance fell in love with a film star – Matafeo’s presence helped to reset and replace a lot of hoary outdated romcom tropes. Equal elements assured and anxious, for a number of weeks in April, she was roughly all anybody may discuss. She’s a giant deal now. She can 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 sort of full, marking the tip of a two-year treadmill for her, and he or she is intentionally selecting to pause. “I’ve bought no work plans for subsequent 12 months and it’s nice,” she says. “I actually need to watch a few hundred motion pictures and presumably, I don’t know, simply sit back.”
It’s a pleasant 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.”
A part of the problem appears to be that, as wildly as Starstruck was obtained, she didn’t have any time to get pleasure from its success. “I had at some point,” she says. “Not even at some point. The primary collection got here out on iPlayer at 6am the day earlier than we began taking pictures the second collection.” To compound issues, the whole collection confirmed up directly and folks shortly found that one of the simplest ways to devour it was in a single sitting, like a film.
“Immediately the viewers was like, ‘Nice! When’s the subsequent one popping out?’,” recollects Matafeo. “I believed, this is sort of a intestine punch! It’s actually flattering, like, that’s nice! However oh my God! It freaks me out, you realize?”
Finally, although, the dearth of a break can solely be good for Starstruck. With no downtime between collection, Matafeo and her writing companion Alice Snedden didn’t have time to bow to the pressures of fan service, so that they didn’t need to second-guess themselves.
“It’s scary since you go, ‘Perhaps we didn’t write what the viewers needed’,” she says. “You already know, individuals actually love the present and also you see plenty of collection step it up extensively for collection two. However it’s really good not having that, as a result of it signifies that we’ve made a second collection that we like. It was constant and in step with the spirit of the primary one. I’m a horrible people-pleaser so I believe it was good to not have that little voice in my head.”
Since we’re right here to speak about Matafeo’s 2021, it made sense to ask her concerning the issues she loved watching. The brief 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 form of emotionally reliant on Dawson’s Creek,” she says. “I believe I nonetheless am. Truthfully, I bought in deep with that and it saved me. It pulled me out of some darkish locations.”
Fittingly, for a girl 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 you need to discover on some bootleg bizarre zone on DVD.
“However, yeah,” she continues, “it’s been a 12 months of doing hobbies and stuff. Once you’re making TV particularly, you have a look at a display screen all day after which whenever you come house, you’re like ‘I don’t need to have a look at a display screen’. So it’s been a 12 months of moving into mannequin making. I purchased a bass guitar. I’m attempting to shred on bass guitar. I simply bought into 16mm movie cameras and discovered all about that, so it’s been a 12 months of nerd-dom, and I find it irresistible.”
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 detailed, and I’m involved that Matafeo doesn’t realise how a lot individuals loved Starstruck. So I reassert the notion, occurring at some size about all of the methods I liked it. And I actually did. In one other 12 months 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 collection comes out, they’ll nonetheless prefer it,” Matafeo replies. She pauses, and checks herself. “But additionally I don’t care as a result of, you realize, no matter.”