Stunning British actress Amelia Warner is one of Hollywood’s bright young stars. The only child of British actress Annette Ekblom, Warner Relocating to London when she was 4 years old, she studied at the Royal Masonic School for Girls, and then (at 16) the College of Fine Arts.
However, her schools did not approve of her taking so much time off for her acting work and so was forced to study for a while at a college in Belsize Park. She was “discovered” after she and her friends devised and acted out a play in Covent Garden where she was spotted by an agent and won a place at London Royal Court Theatre’s Youth program.
Warner had a string of television roles in TV dramas such as Casualty before making it big with Lorna Doone and the film Quills, which both came out in Christmas 2000. Her other credits are the diverse likes of Nine Lives, Winter Passing, Stoned, Aeon Flux and her most recent film, The Dark is Rising, due out later this year. In Los Angeles on a brief visit, the actress talked exclusively to Paul Fischer.
Question: So let me start of by asking you how this came about for you?
Warner: I took the script and read it and then went in and read and then got it. It was kind of really easy.
Question: Is this the kind of genre film that appeals to you? I mean were you kind of like a fan before you took this on?
Warner: No, I mean it’s kind of a really different thing for me because the films that I’ve done before this have been much more kind of drama based character kind of small little films. So it’s definitely not what I would naturally be drawn to. It’s probably not the kind of thing that I would normally go and see but I really liked the script and it was really exciting to do something different, something with a huge set, the things going on and so I really enjoyed it.
Question: What kind of character do you play in it?
Warner: She’s kind of a mystery and enigma. You think that she’s one thing and then she’s another and she’s kind of something else
Question: Well I take it it’s the kind of character you can’t really talk about very much.
Warner: Exactly, it’s really frustrating. I can’t really say very much because I’ll get in trouble.
Question: So how hard is it for you to do publicity for a movie which you can’t really talk about?
Warner: It’s really quite hard. I’m just terrified that I’m going to say something wrong. But, the thing is as well is that it is made from books so people, if they really want to find out, they can just read the book. And those who have read the book will already know kind of who’s good and who’s bad and the general gist of things. So it’s out there.
Question: It’s a series of books right?
Warner: It’s five books and The Dark is Rising is the second one in the series and they made that one. But they had to make a lot of changes and adapt things and change it …
Question: Why do you think they started out with the second one?
Warner: Well I don’t actually know why. I think it just appealed to John -and I think he incorporates a lot of things from the first book into it and – it’s definitely a kind of, there are a lot of changes so people who are huge fans of the book, it’s not like a literal kind of telling of it. There’s definitely things have been changed.
Question: Having shot this in location in Romania what role does working in that part of the world play in doing this kind of movie?
Warner: I think it plays an important part in terms of actually what they were able to do that maybe you wouldn’t be able to do in LA or in London. Being able to film in so many sets. There wasn’t just one or two sets there, but like nine or ten, huge absolutely beautiful sets. Being able to have a crew of that size and I think that when people work in Prague and Romania, you can get a lot more for you money.
Question: Dark is Rising is such a big film for you. Is it likely to open up doors? I mean are you expecting it to do that?
Warner: I really don’t know. I mean it’s kind of wait and see really. I’m not kind of banking on – I hope that it does well and it would be fantastic to be a part of something that does really well. I’d be very happy.
Question: Why did you want to become an actress and how tough has it been for you?
Warner: I don’t know really why, it’s more I’ve always loved films, you know, watching films and going to cinemas was always one of my very favourite things to do and just to be able to be part of that and to tell a story really appealed to me. But the idea of actually being an actress didn’t kind of – I didn’t really have that moment where it’s like ‘I want to be an actress’. I just enjoyed the arts at school and I painted and did music and it was one thing I did and then an agent saw me in a play and I just kind of started doing it.
Question: Are you surprised that you are evolving in terms of professionally in what is regarded as such a tough profession?
Warner: Yeah, I mean it’s a crazy business because it’s something ridiculous like 3% of actors actually working and so any job you get you have to feel lucky and kind of thankful to get it because it’s hard but then you also want to try and pick stuff carefully. It’s tough, but I feel very lucky. for me, being an actor is just kind of – I’m just very happy if I can continue to do that.
Question: Are you still living in England?
Warner: Yeah I still live in London.
Question: Do you want to move here?
Warner: No I don’t. I love London. I’m a London girl and it’s absolutely a part of me. I’ve always lived there, I love it and there’s not many other places I could live in like London. LA is just too different. I don’t drive. I walk everywhere.
Question: IWhat are you plans after this? Are you contracted to any other of the books?
Warner: Yeah I think I’m optioned to do – I mean my character’s actually not in any, but If they make another one, if Maggie will be in it, I don’t know. I don’t think they know yet. It’s a mystery.
Question: And what are your future plans then?
Warner: I’m not sure. I’ve been away a lot this year so I want to go home and kind of chill in London. And then I’ll probably start work in September but I’m not sure I can tell you what it is yet. It’s not 100%. But hopefully I’ll be working on something.
Question: Will it be a British film?
Warner: It’s a film in America, it’s an American story but it’s British money. So it’s made out of England.