If you had to pick any job in film other than actor, what position would you pick?
I would definitely be a casting director. It’s always been the production element that I’ve been most interested in. I cast every book I read.
You star in the upcoming coming-of-age film Sing Street. If you could form a band composed of any musicians who would you pick and what would they play?
I would have Paul McCartney and John Lennon on vocals, and although it feels sinful to tamper with their unmatchable harmonies I’d love to have Bowie in there too. Jimi Hendrix on guitar, Levon Helm on drums. Oh and I’ve got to put Amy Winehouse and Whitney in there too.
What was the first film you ever bought for yourself?
The DVD of My Girl which I then watched 3 times a day for the rest of the summer and did everything I could to morph myself into Vada Sultenfuss.
If you had to pick any instrument to score your life, which would you pick?
The piano because of its ability to be delicate and soothing and then immensely powerful.
Would you rather live in a house without doors or windows?
A house without doors for sure. I’d go crazy without natural light and it would be nice to feel totally in command of the space.
What is your favourite memory from Sing Street?
The dream sequence was a hell of a lot of fun. It was the only time that the whole cast were together, as well as over a 100 supporting actors, so you can imagine the chaos and fun. Also I wore this exquisitely crafted powder blue vintage dress from the 50s which was a fun departure from the double denim and shoulder pads.
Would you rather have the power to choose any co-star in a future film or any director? Who would you choose and why?
I think I’d go with the power to choose any director. To work with someone you can feel safe enough with to really push yourself and take risks, knowing you can trust them to reign you back in or tell you to take it even further is a very special and liberating thing. So I would choose to work with John Carney again, he taught me the importance of that. And because I know that was a cheat answer I’ll also say Baz Luhrman. I love the unique theatricality of his films.
I’ve read that your parents were travel writers. If you could redo any trip you took with them, which one would you pick and why?
I would redo any trip to South Africa. My dad grew up there so it always felt exciting and connected to experience his old environment
What was the very first line you spoke in a film?
My very first line in a movie was “oh but I haven’t finished drawing yet!”. It was my first day on Miss Potter and I remember being terrified of how my voice would sound. I am so incredibly proud of that movie. It was the most elegant and magical introduction to this industry and I couldn’t have been luckier than to have Chris Noonan as a first director.
You’ll be starring in the upcoming horror picture The Blackcoat’s Daughter. What film has scared you the most?
Yes and I am SO excited for this film to come out. I made the mistake of watching Wolf Creek when I was 14. Totally. Traumatised. It turned me off horror films forever. But in preparation for this film Osgood Perkins, the writer and director, sent us a list of the really classic ‘horror’ films to watch, like Rosemary’s Baby and Don’t Look Now. I think the tone of The Blackcoat’s Daughter is similar to these in the sense that it’s primarily about a human experience that consequently drives one to extreme and horrific circumstances, rather than empty bloodshed for the sake of it. In the case of our film it’s an exploration of the extreme places grief can drive even the purest human. But don’t get me wrong, there’s plenty of blood.
Would you rather be allergic to your family for 20 years (no physical contact) or not be able to speak out loud for 2 years?
Definitely not be able to speak for two years! I quite like my family.
What was the best and worst part about being a minor working in film?
The best was everything I still love about this job, but also that I was so incredibly lucky to have found my vocation at such a young age and be able to start working towards it. I got a head start on my 10,000 hours. The worst was, rather predictably, going back to school. On set I was trusted and treated like an adult, I was at work, it was exciting to feel so passionate about something and have my opinion valued. So going back to school and having to raise my hand to speak, and then be graded on that, was a bit of an adjustment.
It’s been announced that you will appear in the upcoming JD Salinger biopic. It’s been said that JD Salinger carried pages of the manuscript for The Catcher In The Rye with him throughout his WWII experiences… If you were to set out upon some perilous experience, would you choose to have a pen and paper (to write yourself) or be able to perform/act each week of your time away? To provide some more context, let’s say it wouldn’t be as dangerous or dramatic as a World War, but certainly wouldn’t be a vacation.
I’m going to say pen and paper so I could turn the experience into a script and therefore get the best of both worlds. What a cliche!
If you had four hours to kill in a library, what section would you go to?
Probably true crime. And then regret it. Or else straight to Steinbeck. East of Eden is my absolute favourite book.
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