Harriet slater, best known for her role as Sandra Onslow on television Pennyworth, gives us the scoop on his new film, Emily and the magical journey – an endless story-type fantasy film that is now available on DVD and digital at Uncork’d Entertainment.
Harriet, how was your year?
Harriet Slater: It’s been ups and downs in many ways, as I imagine it has been for most people! I spent most of it at my home in North London, browsing a long list of movies and series and baking obscene amounts of banana bread. I don’t know why, but it became a massive trend here during the lockdown.
Has your work been affected at all by the pandemic?
Harriet Slater: It has been a very difficult year for many industries and the arts are certainly no exception. We were about a month to shoot Pennyworth Season 2 when it all stopped, which was difficult. But the producers were great and kept in touch during the lockdown, and luckily we were able to pick it up at the end of August.
Always pull yourself Pennyworth?
Harriet Slater: We are a few weeks away from finalization. We have just entered a second lockdown in the UK but this time we are able to continue filming thanks to the regulations the studio now has in place. It was a very different experience filming in a post-Covid world. It’s usually very social and I still can’t get used to the lack of hugs! But I feel safer on set than anywhere else right now. I can’t wait for Season 2 to be released.
What a wonderful character Sandra is. What are the funniest aspects of playing it?
Harriet Slater: Wow that’s a tough question, I have so much fun playing it. Pennyworth is my first TV job and to be honest I still find being in the studio stupidly exciting. But it squeaks so I’ll keep this to myself.
I’m a huge fan of ’60s fashion, so I love costumes, hairstyle, and makeup. Sandra’s style changed a lot in Season 2, so it was fun to play with. I want her whole wardrobe.
I also really enjoyed the singing aspect of this season, which I have done for fun since I was a kid but never professionally. It was a great experience in itself. I became completely addicted to playlists from the 60s. My most listened to artist last year was Cilla Black, which was not surprising as she usually plays in my trailer before I hit the set. .
Did you know about the rich history of Batman comics when you signed up for the project?
Harriet Slater: I enjoyed his success very much, but I was never a comic book reader, so this world was new to me. I thought I understood the popularity of the franchise, but since I got the job and got to know it, I realized how much it meant to people. I also found quite a few followers in my own circle of friends. Fandom knows no bounds.
On the film side, you shot Emily and the magical journey just before starting work Pennyworth I believe?
Harriet Slater: That’s right, we shot “Emily and the Magical Journey” in the summer of 2018. I auditioned for Pennyworth in November of that year and got the job in December, which was a nice Christmas present!
And how did you get involved in the film?
Harriet Slater: It was the fairly typical process of being asked to send in a tape and then being called back for in-person auditions. On both of my callbacks, I read and improvised with actresses who were seen for the role of Emily, which was really fulfilling as we got to explore the characters and discuss the scenes with the creative team, who made it happen. flew from Sweden for the final round. .
It is very reminiscent of an 80s classic, The never-ending story.
Harriet Slater: Yes! I have fond memories of watching this movie as a child and being swept away by the magic of this world. “Emily and the Magical Journey” is similar in its sense of adventure and design, which will hopefully really capture children’s imaginations. It’s a beautiful movie with wonderful messages about facing your fears and reconnecting with your inner child. I think now is the perfect time because we could probably all do a little bit of escape right now and a reminder to stay hopeful and playful.
I imagine that the sumptuous decorations would have been dreamy?
Harriet Slater: My role in the movie is Emily’s nanny, Kayla, and my scenes take place in the “real world” – so unfortunately I couldn’t spend time on these sets. I know Marcus, the writer / director / producer – man is a machine! – did not want to limit his imagination when writing the story worrying about the practicalities of the shoot. The sets, costumes and puppets are fantastic and do a wonderful job of bringing the world he imagined to life.
And did you work with a lot of handmade puppets and characters?
Is it difficult to suspend disbelief as an actress, or were you able to immerse yourself in this character and her world quite easily?
Harriet Slater: Being able to explore the character and her relationship with Emily throughout the audition process really helped me feel like I knew her when we came to shoot. Tipper and Jenny are brilliant actresses that it was nice to work with and the vibe was really positive and relaxed on set which made the process a lot easier.
What’s in store for you?
Harriet Slater: Good, Pennyworth Coming out on Epix next month which is exciting, but other than that it’s hard to say because the world is so unpredictable right now! I have a few projects potentially in the works, but nothing is set in stone. In the immediate future, I will be making my way through Lockdown 2.0. I made enough banana bread this year to last a lifetime.