Interview: Kaya Scodelario from "The Truth About Emanuel"
Actress Kaya Scodelario is world famous for her role as Effy Stonem on the hit TV show “Skins”, and now she is preparing to release her new film “The Truth About Emanuel" which co-stars Jessica Biel, Alfred Molina, and France O’Connor. Kaya was kind enough to talk with us here at Movie Room Reviews about her role as Emanuel.
Nick Leyland from Movie Room Reviews: Well I saw your new film, "The Truth About Emanuel", and it's fantastic. And I was wondering if you could tell our audience about your role as Emanuel?
Kaya Scodelario: Yeah. For me, the first time I sort of read the script, I had this amazing female character that was in every single scene and was controlling everything that was happening within the story, and wasn't naked or wasn't having a sex scene or any of those stereotypical female parts, so I really fell in love with it. And I felt like it was magical and out there and crazy. And so the story is basically this young woman, Emanuel, who hasn't really got any ambitions in life, doesn't really know where she's going or where life's gonna take her, and she feels as though there's something missing. And then she becomes infatuated with this woman who's moved next door. And they strike up a very surreal relationship, and then it gets deeper and deeper into almost a fantasy world.
MRR: How come they don't just write your accent into the part? 'Cause you have such a beautiful accent. I'd figure they would just write that into it.
Kaya Scodelario: Oh, thank you. I don't know. They don't really like using us British the way we are. I don't know what it is.
MRR: I figured they'd be like, "Well, they came from Britain five years ago and now they're here. So she has an accent."
Kaya Scodelario: That would be great. I'm gonna request that next time.
MRR: There's so much beautiful cinematography in this film, and Polly Morgan has done a lot of great work in the past. Can we talk a little bit about the water scene, because I thought it was a really well done scene. How did that all work?
Kaya Scodelario: In fact, it's actually my favorite part of the whole film. What we did was we went to a 20-foot deep tank in Long Beach, which I got really excited about because someone told me that's where Snoop Dogg was from. [laughter] So I was loving it. And they built the actual set of the bedroom, and they put it on a crane, lifted it above the tank, and then slowly submerged it into the water. And we played out the scene over and over again with the water slowly rising each time, which is a really great way of doing it, quite tough for everyone involved. It was quite technical, it was quite dangerous. Polly was under water for a really long time. We were quite far down, so we all had sort of scuba training and learning how to use the breathing apparatus and stuff like that. But I think it looked so good that it couldn't have been done any other way. I don't think it would have looked as great if it was done digital like that. So I'm really glad that we took two days to do it all under water.
MRR: I've seen some movies where they do a scene like that and it just does not look as real as this one did.
Kaya Scodelario: Yeah, well Polly was amazing. She really threw herself into this project; whatever was asked of her she would do. And she was really geared up to do it all under water and do it properly and get as much as we could down there.
MRR: Throughout the film, it's funny because as you watch it, you can never really tell at any given time who's the crazy one. You can't tell if it's Jessica Biel's character or if it's you or if it's the rest of the cast. Frances O'Connor, Alfred Molina, you can't tell who is the crazy person in the film. Was it so emotionally tiring to do a movie like this where you kind of have to almost be a suspect of the craziness, and you can't smile really or laugh at all?
Kaya Scodelario: Yeah it was quite depressing. But then, for me, that's what film is about. I could never be content just playing the girl next door or a high school student that didn't really do anything. I like interesting parts, and I like exploring the mind and what that can do to you. But it was tough in every scene in the film, and we shot for five weeks straight. So every day I was her and I was in that zone. And I think I had to cry every single day for five weeks, which is really, really exhausting. I discovered In-N-Out Burger in Los Angeles and I'd have one of those in the evening and that would make me feel so much better. [chuckle] So I got through it with fast food.
MRR: Well, you had a great cast to work with and for only being 21 and you've had such a great career already with your show "Skins" and many other things. Can you tell me a little bit about your co-stars and how they affected your performance?
Kaya Scodelario: It was brilliant, because it was such a small film and so low-budget, and everyone really really gave a f&*% about making it good. And I think that's what matters when you're on a set, it doesn't matter how much money you've got or the biggest star in the world, as long as everyone is really focused. And everyone genuinely was unbelievably professional. And Alfred is just a bloody genius, so I'd sit there and just watch him in the scene, and I'd sometimes forget that I was at work. I'd feel like I was just watching him on screen because he's so amazing. And that's everything you dream of in an actor. To be able to work against someone like that is brilliant because it brings out more in you, and it just keeps you in the moment constantly. And we also had a really good time. We had fun, and we laughed and we joked, and we spoke to each other, and we all ate together and things like that. So it was as comfortable a set could be.
MRR: As you grew up, what kind of films were you into? Are these the kind of films that you were into growing up and made you want to become an actress?
Kaya Scodelario: Yeah, I mean I was into a lot of movies. For me, it was always an escape from reality. And being able to sit and watch a good film, it would stir up so many emotions with me. I'd always cry or I'd laugh hysterically, and it would just take me out of whatever problem I was going through or whatever was happening in life in that moment. I grew up on Arnold Schwarzenegger films which is really weird, but I love him. They kind of really made me want to make movies because it would just make me so happy seeing him on screen and seeing him play these crazy characters in his movies and stuff. Even if critically they aren't the best in the world, for me, they are like magical. I'm so obsessed. I think film gives something to everyone in a unique way, and for me it was Arnie films.
MRR: I love Arnie films too, so that's great. And the film comes out January 10th. Now one question I have to ask is I saw pictures of a premiere where Ringo Starr and his wife, Barbara, were there. Did you get to meet him there?
Kaya Scodelario: I did. Barbara's Francesca's mother, and while I was in Los Angeles I didn't really know anyone and she said, would you like to go to my step-dad's and have a tea and stuff? I didn't know who he was, and I was like, "Oh yeah, that sounds great, that sounds lovely." And we were driving and I was like, "Ooh we're in Beverly Hills, this is nice." And then we drove up this big driveway, and I was like, "Oh, what's happening here?" And then he answered the door, and it was Ringo Starr, and I nearly collapsed.
I told her, "You should've warned me first." But, he's great. He's really funny, and he was wearing his gym clothes, so he was really casual. It was the most surreal thing I've ever experienced. They're brilliant and they're both so supportive of Francesca and so supportive of the movie. And they're a big part of the reason why she wanted to make this story. So yeah, it was great actually meeting him, but really weird. Really weird.
MRR: I would've lost it. I think I would've just lost it.
Kaya Scodelario: I know. I nearly did. I had to try and calm myself down. It was awful.
MRR: Well, thank you so much for talking. What can we look forward to seeing from you in the future besides "The Truth about Emanuel" coming out on January 10th?
Kaya Scodelario: I've got a film called "The Maze Runner" coming out September 19th, which is Fox's new young adult adaptation, and that's really fun. It's about a group of boys that are put into a maze and don't have any memory, don't know why they're there. And a female turns up, and they've never seen a female before, and it's about them trying to escape. I know it sounds like a weird sex thing, but it's not. It's all PG and fine. And it's about them trying to escape out of this maze and work out why they've been put in there.
MRR: Cool! Well, thank you so much for talking with me. I really appreciate it. I enjoyed the film and I hope it does great things.
Kaya Scodelario: Thank you so much.