LONDON — There was no meet cute for Ambika Mod and Leo Woodall.
The British actors star as Emma Morley and Dexter Mayhew, two students who meet by chance in 1988, on the last day of university in “One Day,” the new Netflix series based on David Nicholls’ bestseller.
What could have been a one-night stand turns into a relationship of laughter, joy, angst and heartbreak that lasts through four decades. The show, which releases Thursday on Netflix, revisits them on July 15 over the years.
The 2009 novel was previously made into a film starring Anne Hathaway and Jim Sturgess, following the characters through various incarnations as a waitress, teacher, TV presenter, writer and cafe owner.
Mod and Woodall, known for their respective breakthrough roles in hospital drama “This Is Going to Hurt” and the Sicily-set season of “The White Lotus,” met in the waiting room for the all-important chemistry test.
“She was talking to another potential Dexter, and I was like, ‘Oh God, how do I get in here?’” Woodall remembers.
“I said, ‘Oh, nice shoes’. And it was like, not mid-scene, but it was while we were supposed to be working and it kind of all just fell flat,” he says.
Maybe it was meant to be, as they were both cast — despite Mod initially turning down the opportunity.
“I feel like I always go in at the 11th hour. The same with ‘This Is Going to Hurt.’ I was like the last person they saw. So it seems to be happening a lot. But what’s meant for you won’t pass you by,” Mod says. “I sat with not doing it for a long time before I said yes, but I don’t know what I was thinking?”
The Associated Press spoke to Mod and Woodall about kissing, payphones and fame. Answers have been edited for brevity and clarity.
WOODALL: We love love.
MOD: We do love love. I haven’t personally thought about it. I keep saying that Feb. 8 is my death day, because everything after that is just black. I’ve no idea what to expect, but I hope people like it.
MOD: I feel like you sort of already are an internet boyfriend.
WOODALL: (Laughs) I don’t think so.
MOD: I think you’re fully there already.
WOODALL: We both just really want the show to be great, but all that kind of extra stuff is, I don’t know, you kind of just have to navigate on the day.
WOODALL: When they get together and he’s kind of let go of all that (fame) hoo-ha, and he’s just kind of content and normal and he’s got his cafe and he’s just sort of content. I love that bit.
MOD: We had to be taught a lot how to use things because I was born in ’95. I had to be told how to use the payphone. It was quite an intricate process because we didn’t know what was going on.
MOD: This guy.
WOODALL: Was it?
MOD: Yeah, it’s the last kiss in the series. That was my first on-screen kiss.