She’s one of the best young actors in Australia and I recently spoke with Angourie Rice about her performance in Sofia Coppola’s The Beguiled…
Matt: You’ve already some big credits under your belt including Walking with Dinosaurs, The Nice Guys and Jasper Jones. How do land a role this in The Beguiled? Do they come looking for you or are you still going through a lengthy audition process?
Angourie: Oh, I still had to audition. I originally auditioned for the role of Amy but I was too old and I was so upset because I really wanted to be part of this film. I then read for Jane and I was lucky enough to get cast. Oona Laurence did a fantastic job as Amy. She’s brilliant.
Matt: You’re working here under the tutelage of a great director – Oscar-winner Sofia Coppola. I realise you’re only 16 years old and so I’m curious about whether you knew a lot about her work going on?
Angourie: I did actually. My mum and I are huge fans of Sofia and I had seen all of her films except for The Virgin Suicides. I love all of her work and I told my mum that I didn’t care if I was an extra in the background… I just wanted to be a part of this film.
Matt: Clearly your focus is on your performance in the film but are you interested a lot in the filmmaking process? Do you watch people like Sofia and try to learn a lot along the way?
Angourie: Definitely. It was interesting because they shot it on film. That was a different process and you couldn’t watch the scenes back as soon as you shot them. That was difficult to do. You had to trust the performance and that the director liked it. Her process is amazing. She’s a very visual director and you can see from her other films how gorgeous all the shots are and how she sets it all up.
Matt: This is a period piece film which I think is a first for you. Is that right?
Angourie: I did do Jasper Jones which was set in the 1960s. Would you count that?
Matt: Maybe I’m digging back a bit further but you’re right about Jasper Jones. With all the 19th century costumes and ways of life, is there a lot you have to learn to play a character from that period? Are there subtle things about the way you talk and walk?
Angourie: Yeah. We did lots of lessons with the whole cast which was heaps of fun. We did dancing lessons, we did sowing and knitting lessons, and we did etiquette lessons. We learned how to set the table property. There was also a demonstration on how to sow a wound because Nicole has to do that in the film. We had an historian/doctor to show her how to do it. It was all fake but that was pretty cool.
Matt: Are you doing all this during the shooting of the film or was there a lengthy rehearsal period?
Angourie: That was part of rehearsals.
Matt: And how did you find the costumes? There a lot of preparation that goes into each day?
Angourie: Definitely, yeah. We had a lot of layers – singlet, corset, petticoat, dress, stockings, boots and sometimes an apron if you were working out in the garden to be practical. It was hard to do everyday tasks like eating and walking… particularly walking up stairs. It was worth it though. It looks great on film.
Matt: You’re working with some terrific actors here like Nicole Kidman and Colin Farrell. How exciting is it to be working alongside such Hollywood royalty?
Angourie: It was fantastic. All of the cast were so talented and brought something new to their character and to the project. Each one had unique ideas as to what this film was going to be. It was fantastic to see everyone work and to be on set.
Matt: You’re in the early years of what we hope will be a long and successful career. Do you get people giving you a lot of advice? Trying to suggest what sort of work you should do and how to handle all the glitz and glamor that comes with Hollywood?
Angourie: Yeah. A lot of people tell me what films I have to watch as part of my preparation. I guess a lot of the good advice comes from when I’m doing press tours. I ask people how to cope with that because the publicity thing is far removed from acting and being on set. I’m modelling and talking to people and doing interviews like this. I’m always looking for advice on how to deal with that.
Matt: You’ve had the chance to attend the Cannes Film Festival a couple of times now. Is that right?
Angourie: Three times actually. I’ve been very lucky.
Matt: How have you found those experiences? Cannes seemingly becomes the epicentre of the film world for a week.
Angourie: It’s so crazy. It’s like everybody is there. Every time you cross the street, it’s like a game of chicken between you and a limousine with tinted windows. It’s insane and sparkly and unreal. It’s like living in a Barbie world. It’s surreal.
Matt: With all of this acting, how do you keep up with your schooling?
Angourie: With the support from my teachers and family. I usually have a tutor on set and with technology, it’s a lot easier because I can email teachers and get work. I still do the same tests and exams as everybody up.
Matt: What have you got coming up? What are you working on at the moment? You’ve obvious got Spider-Man: Homecoming but is there anything else?
Angourie: I’ll begin filming Every Day soon which is an MGM production directed by Michael Suscy. It’s based on a young adult book. I’m really excited about that and the shoot is taking place in Toronto.