Claire Foy may not be a household name yet, but the 26-year-old British actress is about to invade the Hollywood machine with a leading role in Relativity Media’s highly anticipated film, ‘Season of The Witch’. The film is a supernatural action adventure that packs serious star power. Foy shares the screen with Oscar® winner Nicolas Cage (National Treasure, Ghost Rider), Ron Perlman (Beauty and The Beast, Hellboy, Sons of Anarchy) and legendary character actor Christopher Lee (Horror of Dracula, Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones, Lord of The Rings Trilogy) — which is not a bad way to start your film career! The film centers on a heroic Crusader (Cage) and his fellow soldier who must transport a woman accused of being a witch (Foy) to a remote monastery. The arduous journey across perilous terrain tests their strength and courage as they discover the girl’s secret and find themselves battling a terrifyingly powerful force that will determine the fate of the world. Under the watchful eye of veteran Dominic Sena (Kalifornia, Gone In 60 Seconds, White Out), Foy steals the show with her weighty and spine-tingling performance! Jason Price of Icon Vs. Icon recently caught up with the young actress to discuss her blossoming career, silver screen debut and much more!
How did you get started on your journey as an actress?
I went to university in Liverpool, England were I was pursing a film degree because I thought that I wanted to be behind the camera. In my final year of university, I did a lot of plays and things of that sort and decided that I wanted to go to drama school. So I did! I went to the Oxford School of Drama and that was the end of that really!
I am curious to know who has been most influential to you as an actress?
Oh, crickey! Hummm … I grew up watching people like Meg Ryan. I was massively obsessed with Doris Day as well. But growing up watching people like Meg Ryan probably influenced me more than anything. Looking back on it now I can see what I think acting is and what I like about acting are the things that they sort of did. People like Leonardo DiCaprio influenced me as well. I recently rediscovered him. I have loved his work since I saw him in ‘Romeo and Juliet’. I think that he is a really brilliant actor.
‘Season of the Witch’, is your feature-film debut. What can you tell us about it and who do you play?
The film is about Nicolas Cage’s character who gets charged with transporting a witch, who is played by me, across Europe to be put on trial. The film focuses on all the characters who go on that journey with him. There are six main characters and it is really about our interactions and things like that. Ron (Perlman) and Nic’s relationship in the film is very important as they came from The Crusades together and they have a lot of history together. My character is the one woman in the center of all of these men who has been charged with doing a terrible, terrible thing but no one believes that she is so little and a woman! [laughs] I get the better of them all in the end!
What initially attracted you to the role?
It was really unlike anything that I had ever read. In England I was going up for lots of theater or television roles and this was a big Hollywood movie. The script really felt like that because it had a lot of action and was very Hollywood movie-ish, if you know what I mean. Really, the main thing that attracted me was the character. She is a very driven character who is always making things happen. The types of characters that I have played before have been very different than that and it was really a challenge for me to do it. When I got the part, I was really excited about playing it because it didn’t have to be simple and I could do quite a lot in the role.
What is your process for bringing a character like this from the script to the screen?
I think that you just have to make it as real as humanly possible by playing the intention of all the scenes and all of that. My main thing was that I didn’t want to play a witch. Ya know what I mean? I didn’t want to be some sinister thing that people might expect. So I just tried to play to the intention of each scene and make her a real person and hopefully it comes out!
You had a great cast for the film. What was it like being the lone woman in a predominately male cast?
I loved it! All of the projects that I had done before were really ensemble and that is exactly what ‘Season of The Witch’ was as well. I loved being with all of the boys. It was never really like it was just me with lots of boys, everyone was sort of different in their own way. Obviously, there are plenty of women on film sets so it wasn’t like I was completely outnumbered! [laughs] We all had such a good laugh together. We went out all of the time and went to dinner and had a really, really good time. I don’t know if I will ever work with such a close knit cast again. It was really, really brilliant.
The film boasts some very big names, Ron Perlman and Nicolas Cage, when it comes to guys who do a lot of character work. What did you learn from them as an actress during your time together?
Well, you pick up on different things that people do. Nic, for example, is really interested in the stage actors in England. All of us who are English on the set, he would ask us about our experiences because he is very interested in the British training of actors. It is like a completely foreign world to me, this whole American movie thing. So, it was really fascinating for me to watch him, he has been doing it for 30 years and he is amazing to watch. After all of those years he is still interested in it and he makes decisions to make sure that he is still interested in it. It was quite interesting really. We got the opportunity to watch ‘Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans’ with him and he was so proud of it. It was so lovely to see someone who has being doing it for such a long time still give a shit! [laughs] Obviously, I worked with Ron as well and he is amazing, hilarious and doesn’t take himself too seriously at all. We were a really, really lucky cast because it is rare that you get to work with such amazing people who have no ego at all, both of them. They were always on set on time, always brilliant and always a laugh.
You mentioned that originally you had gone to university to be behind the camera. I imagine that gives you a unique perspective that many actors might not have. What can you tell us about working with director Dominic Sena and what do you think he brought to the table?
Dom is an amazing director. He really knows where the camera should be and what it should look like to make something look really, really stunning. You can see that in the film as he has so many beautiful shots of things, especially the landscape. He was so clever with the locations that he chose as well as the actors that he chose. He really has the ability to do as little as possible to make the camera do as much as possible. By that I mean he gives the actors the benefit of the doubt about whether they have done a good take or a bad take. He will tell you when it is good or bad but he is very respectful and fun. He doesn’t take himself too seriously either. I think that he is tremendously visual and knows his lights really well and what tricks to pull when he needs them. A very clever man, very clever!
As you mentioned, the film is loaded with action. What can you tell us about your experiences with the stunts on the film?
I am awful at them! Really, really bad! [laughs] I think I am probably the worst that the stunt coordinators have ever come across! [laughs] I couldn’t do any of the stunts! I’m rubbish! I just can’t convince people that I am really strong when I’m not. They would say something like, “You have to shove like this! Then turn your body like this!” I had no idea what they were talking about! Nic and Ron would be really good at them. All of the boys were really excited about doing the stunts but I couldn’t bare the thought of doing them. So yeah, I don’t think that I would get employed for my stunt skills in the future! Quite unlikely!
What was the biggest challenge for you in making this film?
I think the cold was quite a challenge! But really, I think for me the biggest challenge was making the character believable and give it enough strength and weight. On my first day of shooting I had to try and intimidate Nicolas Cage, which when you grew up watching his movies is a bit unnerving.
You have done both film and television in your career. Is there a medium that you prefer?
I wouldn’t say that there was one that I prefer. I want to do everything. I wouldn’t want to just do one thing, I know that for certain. I like doing everything and I am desperate to do theater. That would be the next thing I would like to do.
What other projects are on the horizon for you?
I did a revival of ‘Upstairs Downstairs’ in Britain, which I believe is coming to America in April. I also did a project called ‘The Promise’ about Israel with Peter Kosminsky but I am not sure if that will be coming to America or not.
What is the best piece of advice someone has given you so far in regard to your blossoming career?
I don’t think, embarrassingly, anyone has given me any advice. I think the only thing that might have been mentioned is “a publicist!” [laughs] Which I think is quite good because it means that they believe all the hype, if you know what I mean. I feel really lucky, in a way, that no one has had to bestow any wisdom. I have been really lucky to be able to observe people. The main thing that they tell you is to be polite to everyone and treat people they way you want to be treated and remember how lucky you are. That is what I have learned from watching the people that I have worked with. It’s been lovely!
Anything that you would like to say to the fans before I let you go?
I don’t know if I’ve got any, mate! [laughs]
I doubt that but you certainly have won us over!
Keep believing! [laughs]
Thanks for your time, Claire! We look forward to seeing you even more in the years to come!
Thank you, Jason! Cheers!
‘Season of The Witch’ hits theaters nationwide of January 7th, 2011. Fans can also check out the official website for the film at www.seasonofthewitchmovie.com, become a fan of the film on Facebook or follow the film on Twitter.
Jason Price founded the mighty Icon Vs. Icon more than a decade ago. Along the way, he’s assembled an amazing group of like-minded individuals to spread the word on some of the most unique people and projects on the pop culture landscape.