Rebecca Herod played the leading role of Nicole in indie feature Hellbride (released earlier this year on DVD in the UK and reviewed elsewhere on this site). As opposed to asking her loads of questions about her experience working on this particular horror film etc, I was interested in finding out more about her job as an actress. You always hear about 'struggling actresses' yet very few of them have been asked during interviews why they are struggling and by extension, why they continue to enjoy working in this difficult industry. What follows are very insightful responses to my questions which vividly show how tough it is being an actress and also on the flipside, just how rewarding this career can be.
Q: Why did you want to become an actress?
I have always been a performer. I originally trained as a dancer at Elmhurst Ballet School and dancing remains an absolute passion of mine. However, as I grew older the thrill of acting superceded my desire to dance and by the time I was seventeen I knew that acting was the path for me. I still continue to dance whenever I can for pleasure but acting is now my life. I love it. I have always been interested in what makes people tick and piecing a character together is like a puzzle in many respects but also allows for personal interpretation which is exciting and challenging. It is what drew me to acting.
Q: What was the experience of your first acting role like?
So much fun. Intenseley satisfying. I remember thinking and feeling: 'I am so at home here; this is what I am meant to be doing'.
Q: How dramatically has the UK indie film scene changed over the years?
Less money. Less people funding films and consequently fewer roles for actors. It's hard for everybody at the moment. It is like climbing Mount Everest with a camel on your back just getting the idea off the ground let alone getting it out there. But I hear it's picking up...
Q: Do you find it difficult to find the role/type of characters that you want to play?
Good meaty roles that you can really get your teeth into are few and far between and projects looking for an unknown actress are even rarer. There are roles that I would be perfect for but it is getting seen for them that is so difficult.
Q: What's the most liberating role you've played, and why was it liberating for you?
Any role that you have to make a strong character choice is liberating. It allows you to push yourself and your boundaries. It is also liberating working with a director who makes you feel safe. The more supported and comfortable I feel on set the more liberated I am.
Q: Do you have any plans to try and break into the USA indie scene, (or is there more room in the European film industry)?
You go where the work is and yes, most definitely if I am presented with the opportunity to work on the other side of the pond I would jump at it. No doubt about it.
Q: Which female actresses do you admire, and why?
Oooh good question. I love Judy Dench. I have seen her on the stage many times and I think she is amazing. I have always admired Kate Winslet because there is never any vanity in her performances. Meryl Streep is just incredible because she is so versatile. I remember watching "Sophie's Choice" and wow! I love that she is fearless and every role she chooses is completely different. Julia Roberts has to go on the list too. I could go on ---and on.
Q: What would be your dream film role and why?
Any role that challenges me and helps me develop as an actress is a dream role. I am always striving to improve. But, I would love to play Cathy in "Wuthering Heights", Queen Lostris in "River God"..... mmm
Q: Do you have any plans to write or direct in the future?
Who knows, 'never say never'. I am very open to that possibility and new challenges that will push me creatively as an artist. I also love to write and have loads of ideas, but right now I am just focusing on acting.