ACTORS PAUL MESCAL & FRANKIE CORIO
Why did you want to be a part of this film, and what was the casting process like?
Mescal: I read the script in one sitting and immediately was like, “OK, we’re gonna go after this hell for leather, whatever it takes.” I did a self-tape, which was a scene where Calum is by himself smoking and dancing to Blur. I was really enjoying even just the first couple of steps towards the prospect of playing him.
Then I met Charlie and was just bowled over at how bright she was and what she knew she wanted from the story. She’s so thoughtful and precise in her work. The centre of the film feels quite warm to me, but in the edges of the film it’s a little more complicated. I really trusted her that that would be really held up from an acting point of view.
Corio: There were a lot of videos that we had to send in, and then a Zoom call, and then I went to Glasgow for an audition. I didn’t have emotions other than, “Oh my god, this is so cool!”
When did you meet each other?
Mescal: I did a chemistry read with Frankie (over Zoom). When people see the film, I think they’ll feel what I saw the first time that I met Frankie, which was you would just die for her. She’s got this amazing spirit. I genuinely consider it a massive honour to be sharing her first credit with her.
Corio: We did a couple Zooms, and then I saw him in person when I went over to start filming. He’s a very good person. He’s very funny as well, and he has good music tastes that are similar to me!
Describe your character.
Corio: I’d say Sophie is quite like me — except for the fact that she wears a lot of dresses. She’s a tomboy, sort of. So am I. I feel like if she was a real person, I would definitely be friends with her. Her dad is very good because he looks after Sophie a lot.
Mescal: Calum is a single father; he and his partner have separated. I think he is an excellent father, but he is definitely battling his own demons in private. He’s somebody who has immense ambition for himself, but I don’t think he has the tools in which to consolidate what he wants from the world. To put it simply, he’s somebody who loves his daughter completely but struggles to love himself as much as he loves her.
What was it like once you both got to Turkey? Did you spend any time together before you started shooting the film?
Mescal: I hadn’t worked with a child actor before, and every scene in this film is either with Frankie or by myself. I got to Turkey a little early, and then we “rehearsed” — and by rehearse, I mean we hung out for two weeks. Frankie would go to her tutor in the morning, and then we would go play pool, we would jump in the pool. Her parents were absolutely incredible with how they invited me in. Over the two weeks we just became pals, and we would dip our toes into scenes.
Corio: I got to go in the sea, go swimming, go to the amphitheatre. All the people there are just so kind and nice. And all the teenagers who were gonna be in the film – we all just had a good time together and we played pool … and then my dad and Paul would play (pool) against each other, and I’d be sitting there eating my ice cream.
What was it like working with Charlie?
Mescal: I was kind of in awe for a first film to involve a pretty remote location and two actors – one of them a child actor who hasn’t worked before. But Charlie just puts full trust in the words that she’s written and the people around her to do their job and then supports you from the ground up around that. She’s very gentle in how she approaches actors and how she was able to navigate talking to Frankie about her character. One of the greatest joys that I got from the experience was seeing Frankie really enjoy the process of acting. Also, when you’re acting with a child, you don’t sit around talking and contemplating – with other adult actors, you can kind of talk (a role) out of existence. Whereas with Frankie, you go into it and whatever she decides or whatever happens, happens, and you run with it.
Corio: Charlie gave me all these tips when I was filming – just good, confident advice. She’d help me a lot to do it right. She had ideas that made it a really good film because it felt more natural. I think she’s a really good director.
Any favourite moments during the shoot?
Corio: My birthday! When I was at lunch, they brought out a big chocolate cake, and all of my family and friends were there. Although that day there was a part in the movie where I needed to cry, and that was very hard. I didn’t wanna cry because it was my birthday, and I was so happy.
The audience doesn’t know Calum’s backstory. Did you learn more about him, or did you come to your own conclusion?
Mescal: If I had any pressing questions, they would be answered, but the film is almost
in total from Sophie’s perspective, so the whole point is she doesn’t fully know what her father is experiencing. Some of it was consciously kept unelucidated so the integrity of the perspective of the film could be protected. To me, it feels like a crystallised version of Sophie’s memory of her father.
What do you hope viewers take away from this movie?
Mescal: Is the message of the film about cherishing memories that we have with loved ones while they’re happening? I think people will decide what the film’s about for them, and I think that’s what a good film should always do. I don’t think it’s telling you what to feel; it’s a film that made me laugh when watching it; it also made me emotional. It’s loads of things. I really hope people like it and respond to it.
Corio: I’m very excited to see it, and I can’t wait until it comes out so I can show all my friends.