Filed in Press

Sophia Myles Talks The Damned

From ShockYa.com / by Karen Benardello

Exploring the motivations and secrets of the main characters of a film is often one of the most important aspects that truly allows audiences to relate to, and understand, the protagonists and antagonists of any story. While horror movies often forgo those character studies to instead frighten audiences with physical threats and stunts, the best entries in the genre are often the ones that incorporate the characters’ emotions in with the action. Actress Sophia Myles enthralling embraced the need to infuse her new horror independent film, ‘The Damned,’ which was helmed by genre veteran Victor Garcia, with both powerful emotions and physicality to showcase the true terrors of the story.

‘The Damned,’ which is now available on VOD and will open in theaters tomorrow, chronicles an American father, David Reynolds (Peter Facinelli), who’s still emotionally contending with the recent death of his Colombian-born wife. Their teenage daughter, Jill (Nathalia Ramos), decides to travel to her mother’s native country and spend time in Bogota, as a way to rebel against her father and cope with her grief. In order to protect his daughter, David travels to the city with his new fiancée, Lauren (Myles), to pick Jill up and bring her home.

Despite warnings from a native police officer and treacherous weather, David, Jill and Lauren are accompanied by Jill’s boyfriend, Ramón (Sebastian Martínez), and the sister of David’s late wife, Gina (Carolina Guerra), to try to retrieve the teen’s passport so they can return home. But after the group gets into a car accident on their way to the city of Medellin, they’re left stranded at a rundown isolated inn, whose keeper is inexplicably hostile. The group ignores the innkeeper’s instructions not to roam the area, and end up discovering he has chained his young daughter in the basement. But the girl isn’t as innocent as she initially appears to be, which David and his family quickly learn after gruesome deaths quickly ensue. The travelers are forced to try to find a way to escape before the girl tortures all of them and reveals their darkest secrets.

Myles generously took the time recently to talk about filming ‘The Damned’ over the phone from her native England. Among other things, the actress discussed how the story’s unpredictable plot elements, as well as the chance to film on location in Columbia, convinced her to take on the role of Lauren, and how she enjoyed working with Garcia, as he was a collaborative director who gave the cast creative freedom over their characters.

ShockYa (SY): You play Lauren in the new horror thriller film, ‘The Damned.’ What was it about the character of David, and the script overall, that convinced you to take on the role?

Sophia Myles (SM): Well, I found the twist at the end of the story to be really clever. I’ve also never made a horror film before, so it was the first movie I’ve made in that genre, so that also appealed to me.

Another big draw about the movie for me was that it was going to be shot in Columbia. I had never been there before, so I was absolutely fascinated to visit a place that has such a reputation. I wanted to go and see what it was like for myself. I found it to be one of the most beautiful places on Earth.

SY: The horror movie was shot on locations in Columbia, like you mentioned. Do you prefer working on location, and how does it influence the filmmaking process?

SM: I fell in love with Columbia, and it’s one of my favorite countries now. The people are delightful, and the food is out-of-this-world. The scenery is so breath-taking and beautiful. I think the media has painted such a negative perception of it to the public, which is entirely untrue. I felt much safer there than when I was filming ‘Transformers (Age of Extinction)’ in Detroit.

SY: How did you prepare for your role as Lauren in ‘The Damned?’ How does preparing for a film compare and contrast to preparing for a television show?

SM: I never prepare for roles. I work very organically, so I wait until I get to the set, and intuitively decide what’s right to do on the day we’re shooting.

SY: Peter Facinelli plays Lauren’s new fiancé, David Reynolds, who she accompanied to pick up his daughter, Jill, in Medellin, Columbia. What was your relationship with Peter like as you were shooting the movie?

SM: Peter was delightful. We all had a great time working together.

SY: The mystery film was directed by Victor Garcia, who has previously helmed such horror films as ‘Hellraiser: Revelations,’ ‘Mirrors 2′ and ‘return to House on Haunted Hill.’ What was your experience of working with Victor on the film like, since he has experience in the genre?

SM: It was an absolute pleasure working for Victor. He’s a lovely person, and incredibly talented at his job. It was also great working with him in the sense that because he’s Spanish, he was able to communicate very well with the crew. However, I had to use a lot of sign and body language, because my Spanish was non-existent before I went to Columbia. But I did pick up a few bits and pieces along the way.

SY: Did Victor allow you and your co-stars to improv, or offer suggestions on the ideas you had about your characters’ backstories?

SM: Oh, definitely. Victor was very open, and is a collaborative director. He doesn’t focus on doing things in just one way. He gave us a lot of freedom.

SY: Victor has said that he has always thought that no matter how creepy or gory a film is, the movie isn’t going to fully work unless you have a sense of real drama and characters. When making a horror film, do you agree that developing the characters’ backstories and relationships helps set up the effectiveness of the physical scares of the story?

SM: Oh, absolutely. Action standing on its own is awfully boring. You need depth, character and soul to make any story interesting.

SY: Do you enjoy taking part in the physicality aspects of the role of Lauren, particularly since you have experience in the horror genre?

SM: It was a lot of fun to pretend to be scary. The location was absolutely beautiful, but sinister at the same time. It had a great energy to it. It made the whole movie and the shoot feel so right.

SY: With ‘The Damned’ being shot independently on a shorter shooting schedule, did that experience drive the creativity process of developing your character and her relationships, as well as the story?

SM: It was lovely-I love the intensity of working fast. The shoot was great, but I’m astonished that we managed to do it in the time that we had. I think we did a great job.

SY: ‘The Damned’ is currently playing on VOD, and is also set to be released in theaters on August 29. Are you personally a fan of watching films On Demand, and why do you think the platform is beneficial to independent films like this one?

SM: I think the whole way in which films are distributed these days, which lets people watch movies on laptops, iPads or even phones, is amazing. I don’t think I’ve been to the cinema in about a year, as I tend to watch most things on my Mac.

SY: The horror thriller, which was released on VOD on July 29, debuted at the number 1 on the iTunes horror list. What does it mean to you that the film reached the top spot so quickly? Do you think that it helps prove that movies don’t need a big theatrical release to connect with fans in the horror genre?

SM: Everyone who I’ve spoken to who has seen it has been really impressed. I haven’t seen it myself yet, as I haven’t had the opportunity. It hasn’t come out in England yet, so I can’t download it at the moment. But I’m excited to see it for myself.

SY: Besides films, you have also starred on such television series as ‘Moonlight’ and ‘MI-5.’ How working on a television show compare and contrast to making a film, and do you have a preference of one medium over the other?

SM: It doesn’t make a difference to me, because the experience of shooting doesn’t change, whether you’re making a movie or television series. As long as the story’s great, I don’t care if it’s on television or in a movie theater.

SY: Would you be interested in starring in another horror film in the future?

SM: It depends on the script and the story. The plot is the most important factor to me, and the genre in which it’s set is secondary. So if it’s a good story and character, I’m game.

SY: Besides ‘The Damned,’ do you have any upcoming projects lined up that you can discuss?

SM: I have a movie called ‘Blackwood,’ which is a British psychological thriller. It’s brilliant, and it just came out in the U.K. I’ve also been working on a television series for the BBC, which is going to start in September. It’s called ‘Our Zoo,’ and it’s based on a true story. It takes place in the early 1930s. It’s about a working class family who set up Chester Zoo in England.

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Filed in Other Work

New Project: Last Chance Academy

Sophia has provided the narration for BBC One Panorama documentary ‘Last Chance Academy’

An insight into life at Baverstock Academy in Kings Heath, Birmingham, a ground-breaking school opposed to permanent exclusion that will go to extraordinary lengths to see students make it to the exam hall. This Panorama special follows teachers battling to help disruptive pupils achieve five GCSEs. Last year alone, 146,000 children were excluded from the classroom, 3,900 permanently. For those who end up in referral units less than 2 per cent will achieve a pass at grade C – a figure that highlights a need for change in schools across the country

The documentary airs Wednesday 27th August, 9pm on BBC One (UK).

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Filed in Photo Updates Television

Our Zoo Programme Information


We have even more news on Sophia’s new project Our Zoo! As you can see, I have added a promotional still of Sophia as Lady Katherine Longmore and I have updated the information on the series’ project page including this character description of Lady Katherine:

Lady Katherine is an exotic misfit in Upton. A well-travelled woman, adventurous and charming, but living almost as a recluse after running from a scandalous event abroad. Her fascination with George’s grand design makes her a powerful muse to him. At times she understands what he’s trying to build better than his own wife. She breezes into the life of the Mottersheads, intriguing Mew and causing tension between George & Lizzie.

The first episode of Our Zoo will air on BBC One Wednesday 3rd September, 9pm

Episode One
Frustrated by living with his wife and two daughters under his parents’ roof and tormented by his war trauma, George decides to change his life and put a bit of beauty back into the world.
Haunted by memories of combat in the Great War, he now finds himself living with his wife and two daughters in his parents’ cramped home above the family grocery store. While delivering goods by the docks one day, he spots an unwanted squirrel monkey and a camel about to be put down in the quarantine bay. George can’t bear to let them suffer so takes them both home to his parents’ backyard instead – much to the family’s bewilderment.

His family sees this as further evidence that he’s losing his mind, but George is busy making plans that will change their lives forever. On the way to an army reunion he comes across a rundown stately home, Oakfield, surrounded by acres of land, and he formulates the idea of buying it and building around it the first British zoo without bars.

Against the odds he persuades the bank to lend him the money to buy Oakfield. But once George has persuaded his sceptical family to move into their new ramshackle house, the whole family faces the tough task of convincing the genteel and hard-to-please villagers to accept them as neighbours. George thinks it best to keep the zoo plans secret, which becomes difficult when Mortimer the monkey escapes into the village.

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001 Television > Our Zoo (2014) > Promotional Images
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Filed in Photo Updates Television Video Updates

Crossing Lines Screencaptures and Video

I am happy to say that I have updated both the photo gallery and video vault with content Sophia’s latest role as Dr Anna Clarke in global crime drama Crossing Lines.



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Filed in Press

Sophia Myles discusses her role in The Damned, upcoming projects, and more!

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!

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