Sheridan Smith’s body transformation filming The Castaways – ‘I lost weight and got fit’

Sheridan Smith is jumping in at the deep end for Paramount+ thriller The Castaways, starring as Lori, a holidaymaker stranded on a remote tropical island after surviving a plane crash.

The drama reveals what happened to Lori after the crash and follows her sister Erin, played by Céline Buckens, as she tracks down her missing sibling in Fiji.

Despite filming in Greece, Sheridan, 42, admits shooting The Castaways wasn’t much of a holiday thanks to her fear of water. “I was terrified of water and I’m in water for most of the show,” she says, laughing. “It was a challenge – I couldn’t even go underwater without holding my nose. I had to have quite a few sessions with the stunt guys, first in a swimming pool and then in the sea. But now I’m cured!”

She adds that the whole experience, which was physically demanding, turned her into an action woman.

“I really enjoyed it more than I thought because I usually don’t even like to run for the bus,” she says. “I lost weight and I got fit – I was running up and down the beach. At first, I had a stitch but by the end I was loving it. It gave me a kick up the bum. I would definitely love to do more of this genre.”

Best known for her roles in dramas such as Mrs Biggs and The Teacher and comedies like Two Pints Of Lager And A Packet Of Crisps, Sheridan was keen to join The Castaways because of its two “badass” female leads. “The fact that it was about two sisters was the first thing that drew me to it – they go on their own journeys but have this survival instinct,” she says. “It’s a great sisterly bond and the relationship they’ve had is just very emotional. The heart of it is these two sisters who love and miss each other.”

Meanwhile, Showtrial star Céline, 27, reveals that Erin’s relationship with her sister is somewhat “codependent”.

“I don’t think she thinks she can function without her so she can’t accept that she’s dead,” Céline says. “It’s so difficult to deal with uncertainty, especially with grief and if your last conversation was one where you said the most horrible things.”

After arguing with Erin and boarding a plane to go island- hopping, Lori finds herself washed up on a beach with the other survivors – who she can’t trust just yet. “Lori starts off like a wallflower. She’s brought up her younger sister and, as the story goes on, she goes on such a journey,” Sheridan says. “She instantly knows something’s up [with the other survivors] and there’s this whole paranoia that comes around when they’re on the island together. Things are going missing, there’s so many twists and turns.”

Sheridan, whose father Colin died from cancer in 2016, relates Lori being stranded to her own experience of losing a loved one. “You can’t imagine being in that situation but I guess fight or flight kicks in and you surprise yourself in a dark situation like that,” she says. “I can only compare it to being in a situation where there’s grief in your family and you have to take care of someone. You don’t think you can do it but you do it. Lori surprises herself and suddenly this instinct kicks in, as well as her motherly instinct.”

Sheridan’s own motherly instinct was active on set as she brought her three- year-old son Billy, whose father is her ex Jamie Horn, to Greece with her.

“I felt guilty having Billy there sometimes because they were such long days,” she says. “There were some scenes where I’d be covered in blood and he’d see me at lunchtime and I’d say, ‘It’s jam!’ But Billy was always nearby, playing in the sea or running between the trailers, driving everyone mad. He kept calling all the crew daddy, which was a bit weird. But at night, we’d get into bed and have a snuggle.”

As for how Sheridan and Céline would cope if they were stranded on a desert island, they’re not sure they’d last long.

“I would be a wimp,” Sheridan says. “You just don’t know what would happen in that situation. You’d just have to survive, wouldn’t you?”

Céline adds, “I’ve done a load of camping. I did the Duke of Edinburgh Award, but I never finished the paperwork.”

The Castaways arrives on Paramount+ on Boxing Day.

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