“I’m not desperate enough to hang about and have botox to get a part. I like the lines around my eyes, it means I’m still here.”
We might have lost Ashley Jensen to Hollywood for a while, but it’s clear the ‘Extras’ star has had enough of the sun-kissed environs of her adopted LA.
Ashley Jensen stars in 'All Stars' - out this week
“I always knew that I was going to come back,” she tells me in rain-lashed London. “You don’t want to be an old person in LA. My mum came out and she asked, ‘where do the old people buy their clothes?’ and she was right. It’s a city for youngsters.
“There is that can-do thing in America, you’re like ‘yeah, that’s fantastic, great,’ but I did miss the ironic sense of humour and I still said ‘tomarto’,” she finishes proudly.
Another pull back here for the actress was the film ‘All Stars’ which appears in cinemas this week - the irresistibly uplifting story of a young dance troupe battling the odds to save their East London community centre. Jensen, who “fancied herself a bit of a dancer until they tried to involve me in their routines” was entranced by the script - “there’s a serious message but it’s not shoved down your mouth. A love story with a bit of heart - when Britain does a film like this, it does it really well without being smug” and her young co-stars.... “all individual characters, hard-working and so... free” is how she describes them, as well as other well-known adults, including Kimberly Walsh.
Jensen’s face is more familiar these days in US imports, such as ‘Ugly Betty’ and ‘Accidentaly on Purpose’, and she’s still looking far more glam today than in her 'Extras' incarnation - “They didn’t do me any favours in Extras, though, did they, with that fuzzy old hair,” she chortles.
Ashley with her 'Extras' cohort Ricky "I'm doing the Globes again" Gervais
She remains as bemused by her overnight success as Andy Milman’s sidekick in Extras - “The producer told me my life was going to change, but I didn’t believe him, naive I suppose” as by being invited with her husband to be Gervais’s guests at the Golden Globes - “I’m doing the Globes again. Want to come?” “Yeah, all right,” is how she reports their day-to-day chat.
For a woman apparently without a plan “I don’t know what I’m doing tonight for my tea,” she’s already pretty busy, with projects alongside Celia Imrie and David Tennant in the can. And it’s clear she’s more than ready for the type of Britishness she’s been missing...
“I was a bit grumpy about the weather here, but there’s a down-to-earthedness about people. Sometimes it take you to go away from somewhere to come back. Look at London, the buildings, full of brick and stone. There’s an underground system in LA, but nobody uses it, it’s all a bit weird. I love our sense of humour, and the fact that we don’t all shout is really nice.
“Plus the dog’s nearly nine, the dog’s from Blackpool. His wee nose and pads got dry in the canyons of LA. I wanted the wee man to run around on damp grass.”'All Stars' is in UK cinemas from Friday. Watch the trailer below...