Interview / New Release

Interview: Laura Waddell on The Love Witch

Sam Clements talks to actor Laura Waddell about her new film The Love Witch. The film comes to Picturehouse Cinemas on 14 March with The Final Girls and it is out now on DVD, Blu-ray and VOD. 

Laura trained at the prestigious East 15 Acting School, London. She went on to work extensively in London’s West End, and credits include Top Girls directed by Samuel West at the Alameda, Elegies at the Fortune Theatre, and Ophelia in a national tour of Hamlet. Laura quickly acquired her Green Card in the U.S., and has worked on the Disney movie Saving Mr. Banks, and the Guillermo del Toro film Crimson Peak. She is also an established voice and motion capture performer for video games, Laura recently played Ana in Rise of the Tomb Raider.

Are you a big cinemagoer?

Yes absolutely! Ever since I was little. If I haven’t been to the cinema in a while I feel weird, as if I’m missing something!

What was the last thing you caught at the movies?

It was The LEGO Batman Movie, which was in stark contrast to Elle, the one I’d seen before that. But sometimes, you need a bit of light relief and it was so much fun!

The Love Witch is awesome! I caught it at a sold-out theatre in London, and it was electric. What was it like for you watching with an audience for the first time?

It was fantastic! There were some good vocal reactions, so it was great to see it have such an impact. I think that’s a testament to how unique the film is, especially in comparison to standard blockbuster films today!

What went through your head when you first saw a script entitled ‘The Love Witch’?

I was intrigued!  Many films often have working titles, so you never know if it will change but it honestly made me want to read the script and know what it was all about.

What did you first think when you read the screenplay?

It wasn’t like a typical film script or anything I’d read before, but all of the characters popped off the page. I was excited to see what Anna would do with it and how it would look.

What do you remember from your first meeting with Anna?

I’m always a bundle of nerves, but she was incredibly sweet and put me at ease. Sometimes you don’t even meet the director at the first audition so it was lovely that I met her straight away in person and she wasn’t just watching tapes of the auditions later. That told me something about her commitment to the project.

Anna made all of the costumes (and more!) what did you think of Trish’s wardrobe?

It was fantastic!! I was a little bit nervous of being in my underwear haha, but Anna was great at making sure I was wearing stuff that I felt comfortable in, so it was fine!

You have some key scenes with Samantha, how did you work with her – did you get time to rehearse together?

We had a little time beforehand but not an enormous amount. Samantha was extremely well prepared, months ahead, so it all worked really well. Also we got on, which helps.

Trish goes on a real journey in the movie, was it fun to play those latter scenes?

It was! Trish begins questioning her own identity (after certain events in the film!) and those were some of the most challenging but rewarding scenes to play.

I know you’ve worked on a diverse range of projects. What’s your background (classically trained / school / learnt on the job)?

I had been involved in theatre from a young age, but then I went on to have a traditional drama-school training in London and then worked mainly in theatre and a little film. Following that I moved to LA and began diversifying a bit more by working in TV, film, voice over and video games, so a real mixed bag.

How long have you been based in LA?

I’ve been there 7 years now and it’s flown by!

One of the big projects on your CV for me is Rise of the Tomb Raider, I love that game! What do you remember about that project?

That was a great game to work on! It was full performance capture so you wear a suit with markers on to capture all of your movements. You also have head cameras attached to get all of your facial expressions. I worked on that on and off for about a year and it was great to play a baddie for once! Especially with a superb script written by Rhianna Pratchett and amazing creative directors.

What’s it like working on a video game?

It’s really fun but challenging in a different way from movie and TV. Working on games is a bit like being a child again. You have to use your imagination for a lot of the props and scenery, as they are often marked out with blocks or cardboard versions! You have to imagine what it would look like, rather than having the set there in front of you. It’s so much fun though!

What surprised you when you did your first work on a game?

My first video game job was purely voice over so not that different from other VO jobs. Apart from having to do random ‘idling’ noises though, which is quite amusing! When I first did motion capture that was a big change. Wearing a skin tight suit and a helmet on your head makes you feel very conspicuous to start with and then you get used to it and it really is like being a kid again! I realised how much energy you need though, as it’s physically quite demanding but so much fun!

Are you a gamer?

I am! I love games. They are so immersive and detailed now, with wonderful characters and stories; the creative talent behind them is amazing. Sadly, I have to leave my consoles back in England though, as I know that otherwise, I would spend hours playing and wonder where the time has gone! I am definitely going to be playing the new ‘Zelda’ game however, as I’ve been a big fan of that since the Super Nintendo days.

Have you been recognised for being in The Love Witch? How do you react in those situations?

Haha, no not for The Love Witch as yet. I look a little different from Trish though, so I’d be surprised if anyone did…

The Love Witch is available now on in cinemas and on DVD, Blu-ray and VOD. If you enjoyed this, you can also listen to our podcast interview with The Love Witch director Anna Biller

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