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Exclusive Interview

From Female First / by Helen Earnshaw

Sophia Myles returns to the big screen this week as she stars in now horror movie Blackwood, which sees her team up with first film filmmaker Adam Wimpenny.

This is the second film for Myles this summer, having starred in box office smash Transformers: Age of Extinction and she will be returning to the small screen this autumn with Our Zoo.

We caught up with the actress to chat about Blackwood and working with Wimpenny, as well as looking back at working on Transformers.

– Blackwood is about to be released on the big screen, so can you tell me a little bit about the film?

Blackwood is a psychological thriller that follows a family who move to the countryside with their young son. The husband suffers from mental health issues, which my character Rachel – his wife – thought was under control. Clearly, as the film unravels, they are not.

– You take on the role of Rachel Marshall in the film, so what was it about this character and the script that initially drew you to the film?

I couldn’t put the script down when I read it as I just thought it was so gripping. I loved the fact that it was also a well-written role for a woman, as these are roles that come around all that often. So I really just jumped at the chance to be a part of it.

She is an incredibly interesting character because she becomes almost like a lioness and wants to protect her son. The moment that her son is potentially in danger that is when she gets very scared but also very strong as well.

– Blackwood marks the feature film directorial debut of Adam Wimpenny, so how did you find working with him bearing in mind he was a first time filmmaker? He has done quite a lot of work in television.

I loved working with Adam, you would never have known that he was a first time filmmaker as he feels like a old pro. He is so competent and I would work with him every day of the week if I could. I think he is just fantastic.

– And how collaborative a process was it between the director and the actors as you were developing your characters and the scenes? Was he quite open to actors throwing in their ideas?

Yes, he was open. At the same time, she was also very sure of what he wanted and his vision. I do always admire that in a director because I prefer to be told want to do.

I really do like it when the director is the captain of the ship because it makes you feel safe and makes you feel that somebody knows what direction you are going in. I trusted his instinct because it felt very strong to me.

– Rachel has a very interested – and at time quite troubled – relationship with her husband Ben. So how did you find developing that relationship with actor Ed Stoppard?

It was a very organic process really. He is such a good actor and so that made my job incredibly easy. It really just evolved as we went along really.

– With movie like this the setting is everything. The house almost becomes a character in itself, so how did you find shooting in it? How much to you prefer being on location as an actor compared to a set that is built of green screen?

I thought the house was incredible – I would never spend a night alone there. It had a very intense energy about it, which only really helped create an atmosphere in the film. However, it was very cold as we shot over the winter. It was nice to be confined to one location and I enjoyed it immensely.

I think it is like asking someone if they would like to move into an old house or do you want a new build? They are two very different energy and experiences.

I think there is more history and intensity to something that has been around for many years, as opposed to something that is brand spanking new. I don’t really have a preference they are just different. It like saying to you prefer coffee or tea?

– The movie played at the London Film Festival last year, so have you been able to gauge the response to the film ahead of the release next week?

I have only seen it once and I never plan to see it again because I was so terrified, even thought I am in the movie (laughs). I went to a very small screening of the film, and I made a complete fool out of myself because I couldn’t stop screaming all of the way though.

It is so brilliantly edited and it really had me jumping out of my seat. I was rather traumatised by the end of it. I do give people a warning if I tell them to go and see it because it is terrifying.

As a cinemagoer, I don’t like horror films or thrillers, I like to be made laugh or feel warm and fuzzy and I don’t like to be scared shitless (laughs). If you like that kind of thing then this is the perfect movie for you.

– You also returned to the big screen earlier this summer with Transformer: Age of Extinction – which is already the most successful film of the year – so how did that film come about?

I was asked to audition and I did a self-tape at home. I really didn’t think that I would get a job like that: I suppose often it is the jobs when you least expect… I don’t know, it was a huge shock and a wonderful surprise. It really was an incredible experience.

– Transformers couldn’t be more different from Blackwood, so how did you find stepping on the set of such a mammoth film and working with Michael Bay?

I adored it, I adored it. The people were just so wonderful. Also getting the chance to work with Stanley Tucci was the highlight of the filming process for because he is such a brilliant actor and a really great person. He constantly made me laugh.

I loved it, but I loved Blackwood equally. I think it is very much about the people that you surround yourself with really, and they were both lovely crews and casts on both films. The money to me is irrelevant and it really is all about the experience.

– You have also completed work on TV series Our Zoo, so can you tell us a bit about that?

That is the BBC’s flagship drama for the autumn, and is a period drama that is set in 1930s. It is based on a true story about a working class family that set up Chester Zoo in the late 1920s early 1930s. My character is an aristocrat called Lady Katherine, who – up until the story begins – has spent the last three years in Kenya.

However, she has got herself into a bit of trouble and has had to come back to England and is hiding away from society up at her uncle’s house: which just so happens to be the house next door to the family that has set up the zoo.

She befriends them and becomes a very active in trying to help the family to set up their dream. It was fun and it was lovely to be back in England.

– Throughout your career we have seen you move between TV & film projects, so how do the two mediums compare? And what made you want to return to television?

The story was what really drew me to this. I don’t really think about the size of the screen that the work is going to be on, whether it be the cinema or the telly. I really do just choose work based on the story, the script, and the people: that is all that really matter to me and I don’t think about all of the other stuff.

Television has definitely come on leap and bounds in the years that I have been working in the industry, and it is now completely equal – if not sometime superior – to movies.

There really is great material around. I think that there is great material everywhere; you just have to look hard enough for it and find it.

– At the beginning of the interview you said that you don’t often come across this well written and strong female roles, so just how difficult is it to find these roles?

It is not a problem; it is just a big like searching for diamonds. I just don’t think that female roles are written or given… I just think that there are more strong roles for men. Maybe it is because women are more complex and maybe people don’t understand them and so cannot write for them (laughs).

It is just lovely when you find a character that is not just in the story as a love interest for the man or the object of sexual desire. It is just great when you get a woman in a film that has her own story and narrative that has depth and substance.

And it is always exciting when you get to explore the workings of her soul and you are not just looking at this character as a body, as it were.

– Finally, what’s next for you going through the second half of this year?

I am putting my feet up. I am just going to put my feet up because I have been working solidly, and I am going to be having a baby.

Blackwood is released 1st August.

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Stanley Tucci and Sophia Myles Talk TRANSFORMERS: AGE OF EXTINCTION

From / by Dave Trumbore

The faces of the corporate side of the conflict in Michael Bay’s Transformers: Age of Extinction will be provided by Stanley Tucci and Sophia Myles. While the pair were tight-lipped about their characters, our lucky group of journalists did get a chance to talk to them about the film while on set in Detroit. They each revealed a bit about their characters’ part in the Transformers world, their experiences filming big action scenes, and joining the epic franchise. They also talked about working with Bay, and shared their favorite Bay movies.

We’re having fun talking about this in very vague terms… as much as you can tell us about your characters and how you play into the mix would be good?
Stanley Tucci: I play Joshua Gross who’s the head of this corporation that sort of makes all the Transformers. I don’t know what I can and can’t say. Here’s the thing, it’s a great role and that’s why I’m here, you know what I mean?

We wouldn’t expect you to be in something that wasn’t great.
Tucci: Well, you haven’t seen them all then.

Did you feel slightly typecast because everyone knows America loves Stanley Tucci in a supporting role?
Tucci: No because it’s a great role. I was more than happy to do it. To be typecast in great roles does kind of misuse the word I think but no I was very happy to, if it had been a role I’d done before then I maybe wouldn’t have been interested but it was something kind of new and really fun, you know what I mean? Sometimes making movies isn’t fun and to play a character like this in a movie like this is fun.

How does Michael Bay make that fun?
Tucci: He never stops screaming at you and that is really fun. No, he has so much energy he loves what he does and it’s infectious, it’s great.

Sounds like you must have a lot of interaction with the robots themselves….
Tucci: I haven’t had that yet, but I will later on, we’re not quite there yet.

Your character manufactures the robots?
Tucci: Yes. That’s the best I can do.
Sophia Myles: My character is called Darcy Tyril, she is English, she’s a geologist and in this movie she works within the mining division of Stanley’s character’s company and [turns to Tucci] Can I…
Tucci: No.
Myles: It’s not completely straight forward.
Tucci: She’s tough and smart and beautiful and funny and caustic.
Myles: Yeah she doesn’t take any B.S.

We’ve been hearing a lot about the stunts, do you guys get in on the action?
Myles: Yes, my finger is swollen, you can see the difference. It’s going to get bigger and bigger.

In addition to the character you get to play, what is fun about coming into a huge production like this?
Myles: As Stanley said, Michael is so enthusiastic and so passionate about what he does it’s just infectious. All the guys, everyone working here in every single division, everyone is so grateful to be here it’s just fun.
Tucci: And he has a great crew and they’re very accomplished, so you’re working with very accomplished people, from the camera operators to the special effects, I’ve never seen such efficiency and energy.
Myles: They’re the best in the business.

Do you have any good Michael Bay stories so far?
Tucci: If I did I couldn’t tell you them. Just that he’s very funny and he loves a good laugh and that’s kind of the great part of making the film.

Are you playing it more straight or is it a comedic role?
Tucci: It’s sort of both. Like all of Michael’s movies there is a seriousness to it and then suddenly it turns into funny stuff, that’s the great part as actors that we are able to do that.

What’s your favorite Michael Bay movie?
Myles: Armageddon.
Tucci: Armageddon yeah, I like The Rock.

You’ve done a bunch of sci-fi and fantasy roles recently, is that a bi product of the roles becoming more interesting or available or what you’re going after?
Tucci: I think it’s the Zeitgeist of the times, it’s what is available and is there and if the role is good in that movie then that’s what you do. It’s important to try to mix things up and I’ve tried to do that over the years, where you go do an independent film then you go do a drama and then a comedy, science fiction so if you can mix it up that’s great but I do think there are a lot of these movies being made now, you go where the work is but they’re fun. The Hunger Games is like the greatest gift ever.

Do you have to do a lot of work to make it challenging for yourself or is it on the page already?
Tucci: For the most part it’s on the page, you know you always are inventing things and collaborating with the director but if it’s not on the page the stuff doesn’t make it far.

How do you describe what this one is compared to what’s come before it?
Myles: The fans are now older and I think bringing in a whole new string of characters…
Tucci: It adds a different energy

Do you feel like it’s grown or narrowed?
Myles: It’s grown.

Do you have more fun with the action or playing with your characters?
Tucci: It’s all fun. The action stuff is as anybody will attest, it takes a long time but when you’re there and you’re doing it and you go into that take and you run and everything is blowing up around you and you’re diving onto something it’s actually incredibly thrilling and you feel like a kid again. Like a kid who used to play and pretend all those things would happen and now they’re actually happening.
Myles: It means that you don’t have to act, it’s so spontaneous. Everything that you’ll see within these action sequences is us reacting not acting.
Tucci: Which is terrifying. But then doing scenes with each other and with Mark, that’s also fun.
How serious do you approach the role, whenever we talk to Michael Bay it’s like a kid playing with imaginary toys… is there a way you approach it in knowing that?
Tucci: Every role is approached in exactly the same way, you have to make it believable and that’s all. Acting is really serious, like, pretending really hard.

Do you have a preference of evil vs. good?
Tucci: Nope, just depends on the role. How well is it written is it, how well realized is it?

Are you a bad guy or a good guy in this?
Tucci: I can’t answer that.

You make robots…
Tucci: What can I say…

Who are you making robots for? Michael Bay?
Tucci: For you guys. For the world.

Will you get your own action figures?
Tucci: I don’t know, I don’t know about that. It would be fun though.
Myles: I would love one, it’s been a dream of mine to have an action figure, but I don’t think boys want to play with a girl.
Tucci: Well I did when I was a kid. I wanted to play with real girls but they wouldn’t let me. I don’t know about action figures.

How do you like working with Wahlberg?
Tucci: Oh Mark is great, a wonderful actor. I did a movie with him five years ago and he’s just lovely, I’m a big fan of his.

Presumably a different dynamic here than in Lovely Bones?
Tucci: Oh yes, yes. Very different. We have fun in this one. I won’t rape and kill his daughter.

Memorable moment so far?
Tucci: I think when all that stuff was blowing up.
Myles: Yeah.
Tucci: That one take when there were more explosions than anticipated, that was like, “Oh, we’re really making a Transformers movie” I ran like this [Demos weird run], like extreme Groucho Marx.

But now forever for your reels you’ll have the slo-mo Michael Bay action thing
Tucci: I know I’m so excited I can’t wait to see it.

You’ve got to do the gun dive…
Tucci: I don’t know if it’s in there but I’ve got to get that in there.

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IFC visits Gallows Hill (EXCLUSIVE)

From Screendaily (US)/ by Jeremy Kay

IFC takes North American rights to Victor Garcia’s genre outing.

IFC has picked up North American rights to Victor Garcia’s genre title Gallows Hill following a strong buyer response at a recent Los Angeles screening.

IM Global’s Octane division handles international sales at EFM.

The film screens in the market tomorrow (Feb 8) and stars Peter Facinelli, the UK’s Sophia Myles, Nathalia Ramos and Colombian model and actress Carolina Guerra, part of a large Colombian contingency.

Gallows Hill was financed entirely within Colombia by television network RCN¹s affiliate Five 7 Media, who produced with A Bigger Boat and Launchpad Productions. Peter Block, David Higgins and Andrea Chung produced.

Rich D’Ovidio, whose credits include The Call and Thir13en Ghosts, wrote the screenplay about a widower who takes his children on a trip to their mother’s Colombian hometown.

En route, the family are involved in an accident and take refuge in a secluded inn, where they free a girl locked in a basement and set in motion a terrifying sequence of events.

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Myles: Transformers 4 is a dream

From Belfast Telegraph (IE)

Sophia Myles has revealed she still can’t believe she has a role in the next Transformers film.

The British beauty is to play a scientist in Michael Bay’s fourth instalment of the giant shape-shifting robots franchise alongside Mark Wahlberg and Stanley Tucci.

“We’ve been on it for a couple of months now. It’s so exciting and so thrilling. I love working with the whole cast and Michael Bay is just an incredible director. I feel so privileged, I’m still pinching myself,” she said.

“We’re still shooting right now. We’ve been all over the world: we’ve been in Detroit, Chicago, Washington, Texas and a lot of it in Hong Kong and maybe parts in China.”

Sophia remained tight-lipped about her character but admitted she hasn’t filmed with Mark yet.

“I haven’t actually worked with Mark yet but I have lunch with him and his entourage whenever we’re on set. They’re the most hilarious people I’ve ever met,” she continued.

“A lot of my work is with Stanley Tucci and he’s just so funny. He’s so talented and I have to not laugh at him being incredible, and that’s one of the hardest things I’ve had to do on the film.”

The former Spooks star did admit that the forthcoming film will be “even better” than its predecessors, which starred Shia LaBeouf.

“I think it’s going to be even better than the last ones and they were pretty great,” she said, adding: “We’ve all been sworn to secrecy. I’d love to tell you more but I can’t.”

Kelsey Grammer, TJ Miller and Li Bingbing will also star in Transformers 4, which is set for release in summer 2014.

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Sophia Myles to Join Mark Wahlberg in Michael Bay’s ‘Transformers 4’ (Exclusive)

From The Wrap (US)/ by Jeff Sneider

Director Michael Bay has tapped British actress Sophia Myles (“Underworld”) for a major supporting role in Paramount’s big-budget sequel “Transformers 4,” TheWrap has learned.

Paramount had no comment.

Mark Wahlberg leads an all new cast that also includes rising stars Nicola Peltz (“Bates Motel”) as his daughter and Jack Reynor (“What Richard Did”) as her boyfriend. Kelsey Grammer was recently cast as the human antagonist of the film.

While the studio is keeping her role under wraps, an individual familiar with the script has told TheWrap that Myles will play a scientist. She recently attended the Los Angeles premiere of Bay’s “Pain & Gain.”

Ehren Kruger wrote the script for the big-budget blockbuster, which Lorenzo di Bonaventura is producing with Ian Bryce, Tom DeSanto and Don Murphy.

Myles starred opposite James Franco in the 2006 romance “Tristan + Isolde” and has also appeared in a pair of “Underworld” movies. Her other feature credits include “Art School Confidential” and “From Hell.”

Myles is repped by the Gersh Agency and London-based United Agents.