Sophia Myles, 34, has appeared in film including Transformers: Age of Extinction and believes long hours on set have prepared her for being a new mum.
What have you been up to today?
Looking after my two-month-old baby, Luke. It’s been quite an adjustment.
Are you worn out?
Working in the film industry has set me up quite well – the hours are so long and the job is so unpredictable so, for me, having a baby has been relatively simple. I should imagine it’s more difficult if you have a normal nine-to-five routine.
Does making the film Transformers: Age of Extinction seem a long time ago?time ago?
In some ways but in others it feels like yesterday – it was such an incredible experience, I’ll be able to remember it when I’m 90. Working with Stanley Tucci was the highlight. He’s such a talented actor. He constantly had me in stitches, sometimes on screen, which got me into trouble. He’s got such a dry sense of humour. He’s been in the game for so long – he’s been there, done it and bought all the t-shirts. He’s hilarious.
What was it like dealing with the explosions?
The explosions really happen. The CGI in the movie is all the Transformers but the explosions are real to the point where you think you’re in a war zone. There’s no acting required. You’re naturally reacting to things blowing up beside your head and you’re cacking your pants. You become immune to them. I came back to London and there was a car crash outside. I woke up and my first reaction was: “They need me on set,” because you get so used to car screeching and bombs going off.
What’s working with director Michael Bay like? Is there lots of screaming and shouting?
He has a megaphone but he needs one because the sets are so big and the bombs so loud. He needs to be heard. He’s got a wicked sense of humour and is a really chilled guy, which isn’t written about in the press.
What was your favourite toy as a child?
I was a bit of a tomboy. I found barbie dolls to be completely repellent. I was off in my imagination a lot of the time. I had a My Little Pony but I cut all its hair off. I had a Boglin rubber hand puppet, which I really liked and I always wanted a Gloworm but never got one. I’ve never forgiven my mother.
Transformers must have been a contrast to Our Zoo?
Just slightly. It doesn’t get bigger than Transformers so to come back and do a relaxing period drama was nice. I was pregnant all the way through Our Zoo, which was interesting. People don’t tell you the difficult bits about pregnancy. They just say: “You’ll be blooming,” which is horses***. We had an amazing costume designer who made my outfits progressively more floaty and the camera gradually went higher and higher, so at the end it was bosoms up.
What inspired you to become an actor?
I did drama at GCSE because I had a crush on the teacher. We did a play as part of the exam and Julian Fellowes was producing a period drama for the BBC – before he’d won his Oscars – and he was looking for someone to play Lady Jane Grey in The Prince and the Pauper. He came to the school and found me. I fell in love with being on a film set and decided I wanted to do more of it.
Did you feel out of your depth at the beginning of your career?
It was the opposite – I didn’t know anything about it and didn’t have any burning ambition so I was completely fearless. I don’t realise how competitive it was. I only started to feel out of my depth later on when I realised how high the stakes were. It was a walk in the park at the beginning and got progressively harder.
Who have you learned the most from working with?
Stanley Tucci, Terry Zwigoff who directed me on Art School Confidential, Ron Cook who played Parker opposite me in Thunderbirds and Celia Imrie – she’s one of my all-time favourites. We did one of the worst films ever made together 15 years ago. We were so ashamed of it. It was straight to DVD and you’ll never see it. She did an episode of Our Zoo so it was lovely to work with her again. I learned from her not to take any of it too seriously and just to have a laugh because otherwise what’s the point?