Emmerdale star Natalie Anderson on joy of securing role in star-studded blockbuster

Former Emmerdale actress Natalie Anderson has spoken of her joy at securing a film role alongside international stars Liam Neeson and Monica Bellucci.

Anderson, who played Alicia Metcalfe in the ITV soap between 2010 and 2015, appears in the thriller Memory, directed by Casino Royale’s Martin Campbell and adapted from the novel De Zaak Alzheimer by Belgian writer Jef Geeraerts.

She told Hello! magazine: “In my early 20s, the big screen was my goal. I hadn’t put it to bed completely, although I never really thought film would be the next step for me at this stage in my life.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

“When I saw who was involved, I thought: ‘Crikey, this is a big film,’ so of course I said yes.

Natalie Anderson

“I felt so lucky to be working in what has been such a tough time and to be with that calibre of people was just amazing – 2021 is turning out so much better than I could ever have imagined.”

Anderson, who turns 40 this year, also announced plans to renew her vows with husband James Shepherd, a health and fitness project manager and coach, with whom she has a son named Freddie.

She said: “Even though it will be our 14th year of marriage, we three as a collective will celebrate 100 years between us – I’ll be 40 in October and next year, James will be 50 and Freddie, 10.

“It seems the perfect time to celebrate.”

She also discussed coping with the anxiety she has suffered throughout her life.

“I always put a smile on and tried to be the happy-go-lucky kind of girl but, deep down, it has been horrible to live with at times,” she said.

“No one really spoke about anxiety or depression or mental health issues, but this last decade has changed that so much.”

Read the full interview in Hello! magazine, out now.