Billie Piper: Battle to have it all is causing anxiety epidemic

By Laura Harding, PA Senior Entertainment Correspondent

Billie Piper has said the battle for women to have it all is causing an “anxiety epidemic” and people are not open enough about their struggles.

The actress makes her directorial debut with the movie Rare Beasts, a black comedy about a career-driven single mother, which she also penned and stars in. 

Arriving at the premiere at the BFI London Film Festival, she said: “It’s a bit of a sign of the times piece.

“I felt like there was a period of time in my early 30s which I feel is like a rude awakening, and I felt like the world is telling us as women we can have it all and I thought that was really interesting because all I could see around me was common female crisis and I just wanted to talk about that.”

She added: “(People) are not open enough about the struggles of trying to have it all, they want to be this perfect balance but it doesn’t exist and I think someone should really voice that because it’s causing a kind of anxiety epidemic.

“I felt like I wanted to tell that story with as much honesty and kind of brutality as I felt was necessary in a quest to just be really raw and exposing so I felt really passionate about that in the making of this movie.

“The thing about this film is it will depend very much on your make up as to whether it chimes with you or you know what that means to be a woman in your 30s or whatever, it may be quite polarising and I think some people won’t like it because maybe it’s too honest.

Billie Piper (David Parry/PA)

“It exposes both men and women, it’s not just exposing men being awful, it exposes every facet of a woman.

“I feel one of the things that really frustrates me in TV drama is that women are often played as victims or wallflowers and I think women are so much more than that and they can be devious and manipulative and wonderful and dark and I want to see that on screen so there is lots of that.”

Piper stars alongside her friend Lily James in the film, who said she was anxious to take part in the directorial debut.

Billie Piper (left) and Lily James (David Parry/PA)

James said: “I am just blown away by her in every way, I really do think she’s one of the greatest actresses out there but this script is so powerful, she has such a unique honest voice and I read the script and desperately wanted to be a part of it and share this with her.

“I read (the script) and felt finally someone is talking to me.

“These are experiences and I think she is really brave because she doesn’t follow the norm of what people are saying, she doesn’t try to be something she’s not, she’s written something that is brutally honest and so true.

“I really feel that everyone who watches it will respond to it and I think she’s amazing.”