Sophie Skelton, who many know from her work in the critically acclaimed series Outlander, co-stars with Nicolas Cage in the bank heist film 211 (she plays his daughter and Cage stars as the soon to be retired cop). Below is the audio and transcript of my interview with Skelton, as she talked about both projects, her acting background, and love for Audrey Hepburn films!
My Q&A w/ Skelton is lightly edited, and the full audio is featured right below the transcript. Lastly, I also included my brief discussion of 211 with CinemAddicts co-host Anderson Cowan, and that’s featured after the Skelton audio:
What was your experience like working in Bulgaria for 211?
So I actually worked with that production just before on another movie and that’s when they asked me to come back and do 211. So it was great, it was almost like going home because I had been there for quite a long time before on the last shoot. It was nice being at the same studio with the same crew, same producers.
Bulgarians are wonderful. They are very friendly. It is an interesting place. It’s such a mix of architecture and culture. A lot of it has a very Russian feeling with some Peruvian type buildings. The set itself is Nu Boyana studios and it’s beautiful. You have got all the mountains behind them and it almost looks real . . . it’s a really cool set to walk around. There’s London. There’s New York and you feel like you’re in the streets.
Everyone speaks English which is great because we’re terrible at Bulgarian. Obviously, you and I as American and English we kind of nod our heads for “yes” and shake our heads for “no.” But in Bulgaria, it’s opposite. They shake their heads for “yes” and nod for “no.” We didn’t know this for a while so that created a funny – I don’t know – I think they quite enjoyed that we were none the wiser.
Can you talk about working with Dwayne Cameron on 211 (Cameron plays Skelton’s cop-husband in the film)?
It was great. Dwayne and I were kind of thrown together on the day. We hadn’t met before. Then we were on set ready to shoot. It was “nice to meet you” and then straight on to set. It was great because Dwayne was so easy to get on with. He’s really warm and we just sort of managed to muster up that chemistry straight away and we played the scene first where I tell him that I’m pregnant. We talked about it quickly and we and just decided to play the scene whereby they have been trying for a baby for a long time so you get that release and ecstasy that it’s finally happened. That makes the rest of the day and the events that unfold a lot more hard hitting because it goes from ecstasy to a complete 180 flip. Their lives are really shattered.
He’s so great to work with. He’s very in the moment which meant that the scenes played out really naturally and really easily. He’s not afraid to kind of play around with the scenes a bit and try to see what works. It was really great working with him.
How has your time on Outlander changed your life in the big picture?
It really is. It kind of becomes – you live, breathe, drink and eat (it). It just becomes your whole life in a way. We have hiatuses when we’re not shooting or we’re not doing press or we’re prepping for the next season. They really love it and it’s wonder to have such a loyal fandom but it means you almost can’t abandon them in a way! That’s where our social media comes into play and you’re always responding to them on Twitter. It really does become part of your every day even when we are on a slight hiatus.
It influences (me) in that way because there are so many people who are passionate about it. They really support the show (and) you do really want to give a lot back to them. That’s a very different experience with features. You do a film and people watch it. They love it and they kind of step away from it for a while until maybe they watch the film again. But with something like Outlander you have people who’ve read the books 20 times over so it’s always an ongoing thing which is great. That means you never sort of step aside from the character – they’re always with you. You become very protective of your character.
Did you always want to venture into film and television as an actress, or was the stage your first love?
I started as a ballet dancer from the age of 3 so I used to do ballet every day. I started on stage doing that and then I branched (out) into musical theatre. I loved the rush of being on stage. With a live audience, you can’t really beat it. But because you have a big audience, you have to make everything very big. For me, I always did yearn for that discretion of screen acting. I really did want to go into Film and TV and kind of move people in a very different way.
Again, people watch a show and they enjoy it for two hours and then they leave and sort of get on with their lives. I think with TV, people really take it with them. They’re watching it in their home. It’s much more intimate in a way and you do sort of step into their lives a lot more. It just feels a lot more connected and a lot more true. So it’s something I’ve wanted to branch into but obviously in recent years TV has become a bigger medium than film, hasn’t it? . . . People are sort of binge watching the series at home and now with social media and everything, they are so connected to you . . . on stage you maybe get a bit of a connection after the show but it’s truly wonderful to see how you can change people’s lives in a way. When they watch a show they really do feel a part of it.
I noticed a picture of Audrey Hepburn on your Instagram feed. Can you name a particular Hepburn film you love and what makes it special to you?
I think Roman Holiday because it’s one of the first films she did and it’s just sensational. You know what it’s like with those older movies, everything can be a little bit overacted. But she does it in such a natural way . . . and she’s so lovely in that movie. I also love Funny Face because you have the dancing elements and everything. She’s just really wonderful. I know everybody sort of talks about Breakfast at Tiffany’s but there were other movies of hers where is just natural and sensational. I like her a lot.
211, now available on VOD and Digital HD, is also discussed on this month’s episode of CinemAddicts: