Interview by Chris Olson
We recently reviewed the excellence indie film Northern Lights. Star of the film Katie Quinn took some time to talk to UK Film Review about her character, researching anxiety, and what she would say if she were a dolphin...
Can you tell us a bit about your character in the indie film Northern Lights?
My character’s name is Emma and she is struggling with anxiety. Things become really tough for her when she has to deal with the stress of her GCSE exams. Luckily she finds comfort in her best friend Rob (who is secretly in love with her) and her cheeky little sister Mia. She’s a strong character but sometimes we can see the cracks in her as she has been through a lot in her life. I don’t want to give too much away but Emma deals with growing up in the film and goes through some big milestones in her life.
What attracted you to this role? Did you identify with any of the story’s themes?
I love a challenge and I felt this role was exactly that. I had to do lots of research into anxiety and how people feel when they have anxiety attacks. I really wanted to do it justice as it was such a great role that Nick (Connor) created. The plot of the film takes you on such a journey that as an actress, I couldn’t wait to draw on every emotion and show how the character changes throughout the story. There is also a big twist at the end and when I read it, I just knew I had to be a part of this film. The film is essentially a coming-of-age drama so I could definitely identify with the character's emotions and the struggles of growing up as I have been through those experiences myself. I remember my GCSE’s and how stressed I was. However, there was some themes that, to begin with, I didn’t identify with so I spent a lot of time and effort researching and practicing so that I could identify with them to try and make my performance the best it could be and not let anyone down.
How was the experience as a whole? Any particular highlights?
One of the best experiences I’ve had. It was long hours and lack of sleep but so worth it. Everyone on set got on like a house on fire which made the experiences even more enjoyable. Some highlights were definitely when the cast and crew would just break out into song (I think we were delirious from the lack of sleep) or when Nick would shout ‘Golden’ every time he loved a take… oh, and the food on set was definitely a highlight.
What’s next for your acting/film career?
I think Nick and I will continue working together on a few projects. We both suit each other’s working styles very well and it helps that we’re great friends. We’re already discussing other things so watch this space!! I’m going to go on more acting courses and expand my knowledge and keep trying to get into Drama School to train as an actress professionally which I’ve wanted to do since I was about 10 years old. Hopefully more big things to come. Fingers crossed!
Do you have any advice for budding actors?
Just put yourself out there! If you don’t ask you don’t get. Nick and I were surprised at how much support we got from other people in this industry just by emailing them and asking for advice or help with Northern Lights. We put ourselves out there and it paid off! Keep going to your drama club, youth theatre, singing teacher, summer schools etc. Do everything you can to grow as an actor and make friends and contacts along the way! Do not give up. If acting is really what you want to do then you keep doing it. Remember, Judi Dench was rejected from Drama School 5 times and Kate Winslet was told she might make it as an actress if she was okay with settling for the ‘fat girl’ parts. If they gave up they wouldn’t be shining that Academy Award on top of their mantlepiece now would they?
What, if any, are your favourite films and why?
I have so many films that I love. One film I can’t skip over if its on is Titanic. I love the story but also the historical element to it. It was also hearing the story of how Kate Winslet got the part of Rose that motivated me to never give up so I have a soft spot for that film. I also have a love for old horror films and thrillers. Jaws, Psycho, The Silence of the Lambs to name a few. Being on the edge of your seat as an audience member is what, in my opinion, makes a great film. I’d love to be in a horror movie one day.
What would you say if you were a dolphin?
Well at least I’m going to stay healthy with all of this Vitamin Sea.