From Icon Vs Icon / by Jason Price
Over the past several years, Sophia Myles has established herself as an actress to a wide array of talents. With roles ranging from ‘Underworld,’ ‘Dr. Who,’ Thunderbirds,’ and ‘Transformers: Age of Extinction,’ she continues to turn the heads of critics and fans alike. Her latest project finds her teaming with director Victor Garcia for his terrifying new film, ‘The Damned’. The film follows American David Reynolds (Peter Facinelli), widowed from his Colombian-born wife, who flies to Bogota with his new fiancée (Sophia Myles) to retrieve his rebellious teenage daughter Jill (Nathalia Ramos). En route to the city of Medellin, a car accident leaves them stranded in a rundown isolated inn. When they discover the old innkeeper has locked a young girl in the basement, they are determined to set her free. But have they made a terrible mistake? Jason Price of Icon Vs. Icon recently caught up with Sophia Myles to discuss her career, her work on ‘The Damned,’ upcoming projects and more!
How did you get started on your journey into the entertainment industry?
I had no ambition to become an actor early on. I was doing a play at school when I was 15 and I was spotted by Julian Fellowes, who wrote ‘Gosford Park’ and currently writes “Downton Abbey.’ He gave me my first job and I completely fell in love with being on film sets. At such a young age, to start me off with money to go and kiss Johnny Depp made the whole career seem rather appealing to me!
I can’t argue with that! [laughs] Who would cite as some of your biggest influences?
There have been so many! I have been so privileged of working with some of the greatest actors on the planet. On every job there has been someone who inspires me. I couldn’t possibly pick just one person!
You latest project is ‘The Damned.’ How did you get involved with the project initially and what made you want to pursue the role?
The biggest appeal to me was twofold. First of all, I had never made a horror movie before. Secondly, the movie was shot in Columbia, which is a country I had never dreamed of going to. I was really excited to go there and find out for myself what it was really like. What I discovered is that it is a country that is so grossly misinterpreted by the press. I have never felt safer. Actually, I felt much safer in Columbia than I did when I shot ‘Transformers: Age of Extinction’ in Detroit. It is exquisitely beautiful, the food is amazing and the people are lovely. I had the time of my life there! I loved it.
What were some of the highlights of your time on this film?
I don’t get to play baddies very often. The fact that there is a huge twist, I won’t spoil it for anyone who hasn’t seen it, was just fun! It was fun to explore something different. I loved hanging out with the Columbian actors. I loved Carolina Guerra and she has become one of my closest friends. I love the energy of the Latin American people. It is just so sexy and cool.
There is a bit of a twist in the film, as you alluded to. Even with that twist, are there elements of yourself we might catch a glimpse of in this role?
That is a difficult one. I think we have all had times in our lives where we feel like we have been possessed by something! [laughs] I definitely have had a few dark experiences but they are all informative in some way and help you grow. It has never been quite as extreme as what happened in ‘The Damned’ but pretty close! [laughs]
What do you feel director Victor Garcia brought to the table for this project?
Victor has a great energy and a great spirit. He is incredibly passionate. The great thing is he is Spanish and was able to communicate really well with the Columbian crew. I didn’t know a word of Spanish before shooting this movie, so it was a real learning experience for me. It is amazing really. Even without language, you can still communicate pretty easily using body language and it is pretty easy to get by wherever you go in the world.
What were some of the biggest challenges for you on this project as there are a lot of elements at play?
Agua is my least favourite word in the Spanish dictionary. As you know from watching the movie, it rains the whole time. We were under rain machines constantly. That word just sends shivers down my spine to this day! That is what the director would call out to start the machines going. It was just cold and wet. Thankfully, there was such a great energy to the cast and crew; we kind of laughed our way through it.
You have had a lot of success this year. What was it like being part of a big budget blockbuster like ‘Transformers: Age of Extinction’ versus a smaller budget film like ‘The Damned.’
There are very different experiences but equally fun. Obviously, on ‘Transformers’ the sets are bigger and a lot more stuff blows up! [laughs] We had as lovely a cast and crew on ‘Transformers,’ as well as ‘The Damned,’ It was an absolutely mind-blowing experience to get to work on a project of that scale. I loved working with Stanley Tucci because he is so brilliant and so much fun!
You have a new series coming out soon on the BBC called ‘Our Zoo.’ What can you tell us about that project?
‘Our Zoo’ is based on a true story of a working class family who set up Chester Zoo in the north of England in the early 1930s. I play a character called Lady Katherine. She is an aristocrat who spent the last three years in Kenya but who has gotten herself into trouble over there so she has to come back to England. She is effectively hiding out at her uncle’s house in Northern England. She becomes involved with the family who is trying to set up the zoo and facilitate their dream.
Whether it is on a film or on a series, how does working in on Hollywood production compare to projects based in the UK?
The food in the UK sets is dreadful! [laughs]
What other projects do you have on the horizon that we should be on the lookout for in the near future?
I have an independent film called ‘Blackwood’ coming out. It is a psychological thriller, a British film, which just came out here. It is very, very scary and really brilliant. Then, of course, there is the series we just mentioned.
Do you have any advice for you actors looking to make their career in the entertainment industry?
Don’t get into it! [laughs] Sir Ben Kingsley told me once that when you are doing interviews never to answer that question. [laughs]
Thank you very much for you time today, Sophia. We look forward to seeing what you have in store for us in the future!
Thank you! Take care!