BAFTA-winning actress Samantha Morton – currently terrifying Walking Dead viewers as Alpha, leader of the incredibly creepy Whisperers – has spoken frankly about about the “tough time” she spent as a homeless teenager.
Speaking to The Big Issue , the Minority Report star revealed: “At 16 I was living in a homeless hostel in Nottingham – it was called an independence unit but basically it was a dumping ground for kids who had to leave care.
“We were just forgotten about really, with no support or follow up. The people who ran the unit were great, they were as helpful as they could be with helping you get your money or apply for college. But it was a very tough time.”
She went on to relate how, as a young actress, she was often put in uncomfortable and inappropriate situations by exploitative producers and directors.
"As a young unaccompanied actress going to auditions with strange people in strange places, being asked to do things which were not in the script but not feeling able to say no…
“I didn’t understand that I had a right to say I didn’t feel comfortable."
Samantha, who started her career playing Claire Anderson in Soldier Soldier when she was just 14, said that in the early days of her career she she felt so fortunate to be cast in shows that she didn’t feel like she had the right to complain about her working conditions.
Since appearing alongside Robson Green and Jerome Flynn in Soldier Soldier, Samantha has gone on to gain recognition on the big screen too, earning a nomination for the Academy Award and a Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress in Woody Allen’s Sweet And Lowdown as well as awards for her work in films as diverse as Minority Report and Morvern Callar.
He experiences as a young person in the foster care system inspired Samantha to show her support for social causes around the issue.
She protested against the threatened closure, by Nottingham City Council, of important social care facilities; she showed support for the Fostering Network’s annual campaign Foster Care Fortnight, and in 2014, following the revelations about the Rotherham child sexual exploitation scandal, she discussed in a video interview the sexual abuse she experienced as a child while in the foster care system.
Her experiences there were also the inspiration for TV drama The Unloved, which won her a BAFTA for Best Single Drama.