Interview: Rosie Day

From the interview archives.

Rosie Day has been turning heads since her film debut as Angel in The Seasoning House of which she took home four Best Actress awards. Coming up you can see her portraying Tina Pemberton in the new Sky1 series Living The Dream as well as alongside Uma Thurman in the film Down a Dark Hall to be released later this year.  We got a chance to talk to Rosie about the new series and film as well as her ongoing advocacy for teenage mental health.

You recently wrapped filming for Season 1 of Sky 1’s Living The Dream. What attracted you to the role of Tina Pemberton and what can you tell us about her?

I find that a lot of teenage characters are written with a lot of angst and are at war with their parents, but Tina was none of that, whilst she’s quite witty and sarcastic at times she genuinely gets on with her mum and dad and wants what’s best for the family. She’s also very sporty which I think is important to show on TV; young girls being great at sport. The idea of getting to work in America and go on this adventure, very much like Tina does, really drew me to doing the show. 

Is Tina looking forward to leaving Yorkshire to move to Florida or is she apprehensive?

She’s extremely excited at first, she’s watched all the American teen movies and is expecting it to be all parties with red cups and making out behind the bleachers. Her reality she finds is actually very different, as she’s moved to a very conservative school – then the apprehension definitely sets in. 

If your parents sat you down one day and said, “hey, I know you probably like it here but… we want to run an RV park in another country and you’re coming with,” what would your personal reaction be?  

Are you having a midlife crisis?! It depends what country they wanted to move to! But I love an adventure so would humour them and go along! 

Are the Pemberton’s well received by their new neighbours or do they have some buttering up to do? 

They instantly are loved by their neighbours due to their British accents and are overwhelmed by American hospitality, and it’s actually the Pemberton’s that find it all a bit mental, but it’s a very different story at the trailer park… 

Grilled alligator. Yay or nay?

NAY. My first time seeing an alligator outside of a zoo was on a BBQ wrapped in tin foil, in a scene we were filming. So bizarre! 

On that note, what’s the most “unusual” food you’d be willing to try?

I tried whale once when filming in Norway. It was horrendous!  

What is Tina’s relationship like with her brother? Are they the kind of siblings that stick together during this transition?

They’re just typical siblings, they get on when they get on, and other times they want to kill each other. When they start school, Tina keeps looking out for Freddie and there’s a strong bond between them because they’ve really been thrown in at the deep end. 

I saw you recently met Billie Piper. How was that experience? 

She’s been one of my favourite actresses since I was 11. I’m really drawn to people like Andrea Riseborough, Ruth Wilson, Claire Foy – women who are so versatile and can play literally anything, and she is definitely one of them.  She was so lovely.

And you also recently spoke at a mental health conference. Why was that important to you? 

I’m an ambassador of a teenage mental health charity called Stem4, we do conferences for schools/GP’s and parents educating on teenage mental health, and how to handle/prevent it. It’s something I’m extremely proud of because the charity does such amazing work and the mental health sector is desperately underfunded and under publicised. 

How does preparing for a speaking engagement such as that compare to prepping for a new series role?

They’re so different. When I’m speaking in public I’m speaking as me which is terrifying, there’s no role to hide behind, but I’m hopefully very knowledgeable about whatever I’m speaking about. Whereas for a role, it’s all about discovering who this new person you’re going to embody could be. 

You also have another film coming out called Down a Dark Hall with Uma Thurman; can you tell us a bit about the film?

It’s the team behind ‘Twilight’, ‘The Fault In Our Stars’ and ‘The Hunger Games’, so teenage Rosie was freaking out! It was amazing to work on such a big American set. The other girls were all American and we became the most wonderful kick ass girl gang. And working with Uma Thurman was very surreal. 

What was the best part about filming this movie? I imagine the sights of Barcelona are gorgeous. 

The whole thing was amazing, it was set in a boarding school, which having watched ‘St Trinian’s’ a thousand times, I’d always wanted to do. At the weekends we’d just explore the city and eat amazing food and have a ton of fun. It was such a special job.  

Anything else you’d like to add or let us know to look out for going forward?

I’ve written a six-part comedy series called ‘Adulting’ with my best friend, and we’re in the process of developing It. I think it’s important as a young woman to create your own work, to not be beheld to anyone. And we need more young female voices out there, it’s time to get people to listen to our stories. 

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