Here’s how Olivia Colman ended up starring in Heartstopper: ‘It’s so special’

Olivia Colman in Heartstopper.

Heartstopper has finally landed on Netflix, and with it, a surprisingly well-kept secret was finally revealed – Olivia Colman stars in the show.

It’s not exactly easy to nail an actor of Colman’s calibre down, but the Heartstopper team somehow managed to pull it off. The Oscar-winner stars as Nick’s mum in the series – fans immediately went into overdrive when the news was finally revealed.

Heartstopper tells the story of Charlie (Joe Locke), an openly gay teenager who develops feelings for Nick (Kit Connor), a rugby player at his school. Colman plays Nick’s loving, sympathetic mum.

Everyone working on the show was in awe when they found out Colman had signed up – the cast and crew told PinkNews that it all came together with plenty of hard work and a lot of luck.

Alice Oseman, creator of Heartstopper, still can’t really believe they managed to get one of the most revered living British actors to star in their show.

“When we started discussing the idea of getting a big name actor to be Nick’s mum, I literally thought this was the silliest idea I’d ever heard,” Alice tells PinkNews. 

“I thought there was no way anyone who was famous would want to be in our show. Basically, we came up with a list of potential actors that we could ask and Olivia Colman was our top choice. We sent her some excerpts from the scripts and from the comic and it was Euros, our director, who reached out, because they’d worked together before. Amazingly, she liked the story and she wanted to be involved.”

All of the young actors got so much from her being there and her presence.

Alice was “shocked” Olivia Colmon agreed to come on board. “I honestly was 100 per cent convinced there was no way this was going to happen and that it was the stupidest idea ever,” she laughs. “It’s so special, and having such an accomplished actor to do Nick’s mum’s scenes makes them so much more special and so much more meaningful. Her performance is so beautiful and subtle – we’re all very lucky to have her.”

Olivia Colman shot all her Heartstopper scenes over the course of two days

Patrick Walters, executive producer of Heartstopper, says he didn’t think an actor like Olivia Colman would even be able to find the time to star in their show.

“She’s amazing – we love Olivia Colman,” he says. “She came for two days and shot all her scenes in that time and was just the most delightful, amazing actor to have on set, and all of the young actors got so much from her being there and her presence.”

Patrick explains that Colman and Heartstopper director Euros Lyn were in touch because they had previously worked together on Broadchurch.

Olivia Colman and Kit Connor in Heartstopper.

Olivia Colman and Kit Connor in Heartstopper. (Netflix)

“She was a fan of his and he a fan of hers and we were sort of like, ‘Should we ask? We can only ask.’ Alice and I never thought it was realistic because she’s so prolific, but very quickly she was like, ‘Yeah, cool. I’m in.’ That was one of the more mind-blowing moments of the whole thing really.”

Naturally, Patrick felt both excitement and nerves about the prospect of working with Colman – but it all went smoothly in the end.

“When you meet her, she is the nicest person ever. It was a joy.”

Working with Colman was ‘enlightening’ for Heartstopper‘s young stars

There’s one particular scene that Heartstopper viewers are bound to find moving, where Olivia Colman’s character has a powerful conversation with her son (we won’t reveal details for those who haven’t seen it yet).

Kit Connor, who plays Nick, filmed a number of scenes one-on-one with Colman – he told PinkNews and other media outlets during a roundtable discussion that it was “an incredible, enlightening experience”.

“I think it’s an honour for any actor to be able to work with an Oscar winner of that calibre,” Kit says.

I remember we were just stumbling through and suddenly there’s a tear running down her cheek.

He was blown away by her acting prowess even in the rehearsal stage.

“I remember we were just stumbling through and suddenly there’s a tear running down her cheek, and I just thought, ‘I need to step up my game right now.’ I was absolutely nervous in the nicest way possible – it was a nerve-wracking experience, but it was so incredible and enlightening as an actor.”

Heartstopper has only been on Netflix for a few hours, but fans are already clamouring for a second season – let’s just hope we’ll see more of Olivia Colman doing what she does best in the not-too-distant future.