Josh Lambie (Student Pages Entertainment Journalist) caught up with Jasmine Hyde to discuss the thrilling upcoming “The Unseen” film:
- Firstly, how did you first come across the film (The Unseen) and what attracted you to the role?
Well, I had worked with Gary (Sinyor, the director) before on a theatre project and he showed me the script… quite a while back. I said yes right away because it’s a really interesting role, she goes through it all. I like things with not many people in them because you can build strong relationships with the cast. I was intrigued by the story as well, although it’s quite a horrifying premise and as a mother myself I knew we had to get it right.
- I went into the film blind, I did not know anything about the plot when I started watching, so I was surprised when I saw that it was being marketed as a horror. Is that a genre that interests you in itself, or was it more the opportunity to play this character?
I think with this it’s not a genre I kind of think “now I want to do that”. I don’t think that’s how any actor works. I think you look at the character and think “are they an interesting person?”, “will they be interesting to play?”, “do they have interesting conversations with people?”, “is there an interesting journey?”, “is there a journey?” And if you can tick all those boxes you consider it. I think the character is intelligent, interesting. Emotionally, there’s a wide range to play. And also there was the concern about the discipline of that. Of course she is very upset but you don’t want to show someone who’s very upset for ninety minutes. So I liked the challenge there.
- The film is very emotionally draining, and that was just my experience as someone watching it. How did you prepare for such an emotionally intense role?
I think you need to know the piece and the character inside out. So when you go onset and do these rather emotional scenes, all your focus is on the thought rather than remembering the lines or what am I doing or what’s this about? So to know it thoroughly and then some. Going away to film something like that, especially when I have a young son and it’s about a young son dying, it leaves one feeling drained… you ring home a lot to check how everything is.
- Being a mother yourself, how did that affect your performance? Is this the kind of performance where the actress needed to be a mother herself?
The whole thing with acting is that you don’t have to go through everything your character does, or it would count you out of a lot of things. But, having said that, yes being a mother… I tell you what, it made me think twice. It made me think a little more about the project. If I hadn’t had a child and was offered it I would have said yes immediately. Being a mother made me hesitate for a moment and go “oh, this is not going to be pleasant. Do I want to do this? Do I want to do this? OK, yes I do”. I think it just makes one a bit more reticent to put one’s self through that.
- For all of the darkness that was in the film, what was the vibe like on set?
It actually was a fairly jolly set and I think that was to compensate, perhaps, for the dark subject matter. I don’t think it was necessarily Gary’s intention to, you know, “we must all be jolly on this”. I think it just naturally evolves quite quickly. And also when you’ve got a bunch of people who get on and gel, you breathe a sigh of relief and think “oh gosh, this is good, this isn’t hard work”… then I think it naturally happens. Also, I mean, the Lake District, it’s so beautiful up there, it’s just gorgeous. Long hours, yes, but what a treat to be in such a stunning place. I just thought, I’m really lucky to be here.
- There is one quite disturbing act of sexual harassment in the film. Was that heavily rehearsed and talked about beforehand? Do you need to be very comfortable with your fellow actors to do that?
Was it talked about at length? Yes it was. With Gary first of all, when I first read it and was doing it and then with Simon, with the actor. So yeah, we all talked about it and then… we just got on with it. But yeah, you’re right it’s all about feeling comfortable and safe.
- Something else I noticed about this film in hindsight is that it’s very male dominated. You are at the centre of it of course but it seems that you are caught between these two guys. Do you think there are enough strong roles for women in the industry at the moment?
No. This is a rarity. A real rarity. This is an unusually big and interesting role in a film for a woman. That doesn’t usually happen, so good on Gary for that. I mean, yes it’s male oriented, it’s basically about three people and two of them are men. But it’s told from her point of view and she is central. Yeah, that’s not usual. And I don’t want to get too cross about it but yeah it is just a fact that most of the leads are men. That’s a problem.
- As someone working within the British film industry at the moment, do you think films like The Unseen are important to make in Britain? Should filmmakers expand their scope from costume dramas and social realism?
Yes. And I do love costume dramas but yes, definitely yes. Perhaps it’s difficult… look, it’s not my side of things, this is production… but I would imagine it’s easier to get a film made if it easily slides into a category that people recognize so they can go “oh, it’s that”. So, I think it’s easier to do something in a recognizable category, but yes I definitely think we should be making more films like this, without a shadow of a doubt.
- What are your plans for the future?
I’d love to do something light actually, I’d like to do some comedy. My two biggest projects recently, this and a theatre one, have been really dark subject matters… having said that I had a great time on “Good Omens” as a Satanic nun. So I’m up for doing more heavy material. It’s always surprising what turns up.
The Unseen will be playing in UK cinemas from the 15th December 2017.