Your new movie Mask
of Thorn - in a few words, what is it about, and what can you tell
us about your character in it?
obviously I don’t want to spoil anything but basically the storyline is
about a girl called Bethany Lovell who has to be ready for Thorn to come
and take her on her 16th birthday. The film is mainly set on Bethany's
birthday, everything is going to plan for her parents but then I (Olivia
Almonde) come along and ruin her parents' plans. I steal her away and throw
a party for her in our school after hours — that is when all hell breaks
loose because Thorn then comes to the school to find her and kills anyone
who is in his path. My character is very ‘badass’ shouldI say, the
popular girl at school who is disliked by most parents, haha! However she
has a heart of gold and really cares for Bethany and is prepared to risk
her life for her. I think this side to Olivia breaks stereotypes of
popular girls which was really nice to show.
What did you draw upon to bring your character to life?
Well my first thing I thought about when preparing for this
character was thinking back to how I was when I was 16 and what my 16th
birthday was like. My 16th birthday was a very big party just before the
worry of GCSE started to hit everyone so it was a really good time. I had
such an amazing night with all of my friends so I looked back at photos
and looked at things that affected me at that age and what my worries and
concerns were which helped me get back into the mindset of a 16 year old.
Funnily enough, the character Olivia was everything I didn’t want to
be when I was 16; sneaking out, breaking rules and vandalising schools —
I was the total opposite! So I drew on what I avoided being at that age.
It was so much fun to think back to that age and get to relive it being
the polar opposite.
You play a bit of a bad girl in
Mask of Thorn - is
this something you can at all identify with personally, and how much
Sophie Bryant can we find in OIivia?
Definitely the loyalty she has towards Bethany .I really value my
friends and would do anything for them as they would for me. I am such a
social bird too, I love meeting and speaking to new people so socially me
and Olivia are very much the same. I was always the funny person, always
laughing and smiling but I would not say I was at all apart of the popular
group and I was not a bad girl, I hated being told off and still do, haha!
I loved portraying Olivia because I think she has so many sides to her
that makes her such a lovely well-rounded person. After being her I wish I
was like her when I was younger, haha!
did you get involved with the project in the first place, and to what
extent could you identify with the film's slasher theme?
was actually through a friend who I was performing a show with who had
worked with MJ and knew he was looking to cast someone who was short and
blonde. He basically got me in touch with MJ and I sent off an audition
tape and was lucky enough to get cast! I mean the whole film screams
slasher, blood, gore, deaths, what more could you want?
can you tell us about Mask
of Thorn's director Mj Dixon [Mj
Dixon interview - click here], and what was your collaboration
After working with MJ I have become a massive
fan. He knows exactly what he wants. On set he had a drawing of every
angle of every shot with detail of how the characters are feeling, it was
insane! You can tell that he has been planning and working so hard prior
to the shooting that you just want to do the best you can for him because
he deserves your full attention and care. Even though he had an image he
let you play with the lines which as an actress is a great because
you feel you grow into the character more. I would never say no to working
with MJ, and anyone who gets the opportunity to, definitely take it!
Do talk about the shoot as such, and the on-set
The atmosphere was incredible. For
starters, we were on the most amazing set you could have ever asked for so
everyone was buzzing, even at 5am, haha! We became a close-knit family,
working in such unsociable hours, on set for 7pm, wrap at 5/6am, sleeping
all day, the only people I spoke to for two weeks was everyone that was a
part of this film! It was brilliant, I’d do it all again in a heartbeat.
Any future projects you'd like to share?
Well I am currently rehearsing for my
Christmas pantomime, Aladdin, which is
being performed at Barton Village Hall from 16th January to the 20th
January. Both John (played by George Horn) and I are performing which has
been great fun, definitely a show for all the family! I also have
episode two of a series I started shooting last year called Ultimate
Adventure coming up, which is very exciting.
got you into acting to begin with, and did you receive any formal training
on the subject?
I did the normal, age 7 joined a
drama group and have never stopped performing from then on! Obviously
studied it throughout school, GCSE and A-levels and then when I finished
sixth form went onto traveling up and down the country performing in
people's short films and feature films like this one! I have not any
training from a drama school but I have had private tuition with a West-End performer for about 3 years now. She gives me advice on
techniques, rehearsal methods and breathing. Also she has taught me how
important it is to warm your body up not just your voice. There's a little
tip for people reading, haha!
What can you tell us about your filmwork
prior to Mask of Thorn?
as I said, I shot a pilot for a series last year which I believe I am set
to shoot the next episode next year which is all very exciting. I have
performed in many short films which has been a great help in creating my
showreel and boosting my confidence!
would you describe yourself as an actress, and some of your techniques to
bring your characters to life?
I would describe
myself as very free. I find I have to read a script over and over again,
not just my scenes but everything! I like to know the whole plot,
everything that happens to everyone because I think it really helps me
understand the importance of my scenes and where they fit and why. Then
obviously down to what my character is feeling in that particular scene
and why. I definitely pull from my past experiences in acting and life
itself to help bring my emotions to the forefront and try to always be in
the moment, feel the impulses come up from my body. I don’t plan exactly
how I will deliver a line or how I will react to others - I make sure I understand the context of the scene and then go with the flow.
Actresses (and indeed
actors) who inspire you?
Most definitely David Tennant, I mean do
I even have to explain why? The man to me is the definition
of a perfect actor. Everything he does is grounded and just looks totally
natural, which is what I think is key to being a great actor. I would have
to say Jennifer Aniston is probably my most favourite actress due to not
only her acting ability but they wa she conducts herself and has done
through all the fame, fortune and media around her for her whole life.
Your favourite movies?
just recently saw Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle and that was incredible. Honestly the way Jack
Black portrays that 16 year old girl is amazing. Everything he did was
completely immersed in that character from start to finish. However I love
series more than films because I feel you get to learn more about who the
characters are and follow along with their storylines!
and of course, films you really deplore?
dislike many films because I think the amount of time and effort that goes
into them is insane so I always keep that in mind. However I just
desperately dislike films that have no ‘nitty gritty’ to them. I love
powerful storylines, my favourite genre tends to be action as I feel there's always desperation in them which pulls the story. But
I do love a
good comedy because who doesn’t love to laugh?
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Anything else you're dying to
mention and I have merely forgotten to ask?
Nope I think I have rambled on more than enough, haha!