Sunday, 16 December 2012

INTERVIEW: Andrea Riseborough at the British Independent Film Awards 2012

Shadow Dancer's Andrea Riseborough made an entrance akin to that of the golden Hollywood luminaries in a stunning black dress and cool red-carpet confidence to match the wintry temperature outside. In front of me, the statue of sassiness had been diluted, now replaced with genuine astonishment for picking up her first win at the British Independent Film Awards. You may know of Andrea from Madonna's W.E. or Brighton Rock [2011]. Her television work consists of, amongst many others, The Devil's Whore [2008] and you may have spotted her as the original ghost Annie from the the pilot of Being Human.
Andrea co-stars with a particularly strong cast in Shadow Dancer, with the company of Gillian Anderson [The X-Files, Any Human Heart] and Clive Owen [Children Of Men, The Bourne Identity]. 

The following interview took place at the Moet British Independent Film Awards in London on 9th December 2012.

GG: Congratulations Andrea, another category with exceptionally stiff competition, so how do you feel about winning the BIFA Best Actress award for Shadow Dancer?

Andrea: Just amazing, I had no idea I was going to win. A couple of years ago I was nominated for two awards at the same BIFA ceremony [nominated for Best Actress and Most Promising Newcomer for Brighton Rock in 2010] and I didn’t win either of them so I’d gotten quite used to sitting down. Now this year the competition was more tough that you could have ever imagined; Meryl Streep and Judi Dench and then fantastic younger actors like Alice [Lowe, for Sightseers] and Elle [Fanning, for Ginger & Rosa] who I think are both extraordinary, with such great, diverse work for a line-up.

GG: The film Shadow Dancer is set in 1990s Belfast and you play a member of the IRA who defects to MI5 becoming an IRA informant in a bid to keep her son safe. Having only been born in the 80s, how was it playing a part and researching a role that is set during part of your living history?

Andrea Riseborough in Shadow Dancer
Andrea: I think when you start researching anything you have a very tentative relationship on a subject that you think you have some knowledge on. As an actor you start researching something from a very specific stand-point. It’s not general Irish history you start researching; you only really need to know what the character knows. It’s important not to know other things.

GG: What angle were you directed to take?

Andrea: Director James Marsh very much encouraged the family element of the story - that was really what he was mining.

GG: Your character Colette is a mother, how did you invoke that maternal relationship with your on-screen child?

Andrea: Instinct really. There’s no point reading a book about what it is to be a mother, you really have to feel it. I just formed a relationship with my estranged child, which worked very well especially in that scenario as the actor playing my child was estranged; For Shadow Dancer he wasn’t yet very comfortable with acting. He’d worked before but hadn’t been on a set an awful lot, so he often felt and looked very awkward which was very useful.

GG: Have you spent much time in Ireland?

Andrea: Yes before we filmed Shadow Dancer I’d spent time in Galway and I’ve shot another film in Dublin. Unfortunately when you are filming you get little time to spend outside of that. Funnily we were filming scenes set in Cambridge but in Ireland, [laughing] as is the nature of our industry. My main relationship with Ireland is glorious and adolescent as I’d been in Galway for a whole summer when I was maybe 17, we had an incredible time, met lots of artists and we did this collaboration with a Newcastle youth group and Galway theatre group so we did a week long improvisation which I’m sure did not bear a very fruitful play at the end. But we all tried [laughter].

GG: We are of course here celebrating all that is cinematically British at the BIFAs tonight, which films that are nominated are your favourites?

Andrea: I’d feel terrible to say! I feel too awkward to answer it as I feel like its damning so many other films. There’s a hugely high quality of work here tonight.

BEST ACTRESS Category at the British Independent Film Awards 2012
Alice Lowe (Tina) – Sightseers (YouTube trailer)

Andrea Riseborough (Colette McVeigh) – Shadow Dancer (YouTube trailer)

Elle Fanning (Ginger) – Ginger & Rosa (YouTube Trailer)
Judi Dench (Evelyn Greenslade) – The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (YouTube trailer)
Meryl Streep (Margaret Thatcher) – The Iron Lady (YouTube trailer)

NB: This interview must not be published anywhere without credit or my permission.

Here are some videos of Andrea's work: 

Shadow Dancer trailer:
Brighton Rock trailer:
Andrea as a ghost in the original Being Human pilot episode:
Posted by: Geek Girl Kerensa Creswell-Bryant
Geek Girl, Updated at: 21:00