I recently got the chance to talk to Lauren Orrell about her role in ‘Sleeping Beauty’. Here, Lauren talks about what it was like working with the cast and crew on-set and what is currently on her I-Pod…
Hey Lauren. Thanks for taking the time out to talk to me about your new film, ‘Sleeping Beauty’.
What’s the general plotline surrounding the film?
A financially struggling Uni student opts into the morally ambiguous world of the ‘Sleeping Beauty’. It’s a job where young women are drugged in to a very deep sleep, and wealthy men pay to sleep beside them, with the very strict rule of ‘no penetration, leave no marks’. Part of her feels like she is being empowered by her new-found independence – more cash than she could previously imagine, whilst the other parts of her life, her relationships and her living situation gradually crumbles. She begins to question what really happens to her whilst she is asleep, but bound by extremely strict regulations, she must subversively discover through her own means.
Tell us a bit about the character you play in the movie…
It’s a very small role. I play a high-end lingerie waitress. She’s there for the cash like everyone else, She re-enforces for the audience that this is just a job, it’s all show.
How did you get involved in the project in the first place?
I auditioned straight out of Uni, read the script, read as many of Julia’s books as I could get my hands on, and was finally offered an opportunity to work on it.
How would you say this film is different and unique?
It’s very still. It makes no judgement, there’s no moral to the end of this tale nor closure. It really leaves the audience confronted with their own apathy - something I believe most of us hate to admit to. By the film taking a distant stance, we’re forced to find our own feet with it. Personally I love that in film. Aesthetically I think it’s one of the most beautiful films I’ve ever seen. The whole thing is shot in wides or mids, there’s no close-ups. You do feel very much like a voyeur. Nothing in this film is spoon fed to the audience. I find that really refreshing.
The film stars Emily Browning, Rachael Blake, Ewen Leslie, Peter Carroll, Chris Haywood and Hugh Keays-Byrne – with Julia Leigh onboard as director – what was it like working with the cast and crew on-set?
Julia is one of the most remarkable women I have ever met. I find her fascinating, her work is incredible – haunting. Emily is an extremely gifted, intelligent young actress – and wonderful person to boot. The whole cast was brilliant. It was amazing to come to work every day and watch the people you’ve admired your whole life and career work. Their generosity, respect and sense of play was remarkable. I felt incredibly blessed to be around that. I learnt so much just from being there. Special mention to Geoffrey Simpson the Cinematographer, he has such a keen eye and appreciation for beauty.
Let’s talk a bit about you Lauren. What made you want to get into acting in the first place?
I love stories, I love performing, stretching my skin to see what it’d feel like to be in another’s. I’m deeply curious about what makes us what we are, I don’t think we should ever stop questioning, exploring our place in this life, in this universe. Storytelling is such a vital part of most cultures. This is my way of being a part of that, of being connected to humanity in the past and present with all it’s imaginings of the future. We need to keep it alive in order to grow and connect. Growing up what really inspired me was watching old films, fairy tales mostly, ‘The Wizard of Oz’, ‘Hans Christian Anderson’ and the like. I felt there was so much magic in this world. And everyday I work I rediscover a little bit more of that magic.
What advice would you give to anyone wanting to get into the industry?
Learn. As much as you can. Don’t stop learning. Be open to criticism, to growth each day. Spend as much time as you can on your craft, your voice, your body – communicating within the context. Be as bold and as brave as you believe you can be, then push it further. Listen to those who inspire you, ask questions. There are no stupid questions. See as much film and theatre as you can afford – support the industry you want to be a part of. Read as much as possible. And above all respect. Respect yourself by treating yourself right and with dignity – keep yourself healthy, curious and active. Respect those you’re working with and those in your life by listening, giving them as much of yourself as you can without hurting yourself, because they will be doing the same for you, and do these things with love and compassion. It’s ok to fail, it’s ok to question, but keep going if it’s really really what you want to do. It’s enormously difficult, the life of an actor, it will impact greatly on having a secure future, it will impact greatly on relationships – social, family and romantic so be sure it’s what you want to do. Being an actor will not make up for a lack of love or attention in your life, you most likely won’t be famous or wealthy. You have to do it because you love the craft, not just admire it, but love it. I’m just at the start of my career and this only a little bit of what I’ve learnt, but I find these values to me, are incredibly important.
What is currently on your I-Pod right now?
A great Sydney based band that combines, metal, circus and cartoon music with even more quirk called Darth Vegas. The Hunter soundtrack, Bon Iver, Emiliana Torrini, Smashing Pumpkins, The Big Fish Soundtrack and Fiona Apple. A lot of it is a playlist I put together for my role as Zoya in ‘Ruben Guthrie’ at La Boite Theatre in Brisbane.
If you could have dinner with three guests (living or dead), who would you choose and why?
- Christabel Pankhurst – for her strength in standing up and establishing a movement to fight for the rights of women at the turn of the last century.
- Bill Hicks, for his wisdom, humanity and razor-sharp wit.
- Shakespeare – just to even get a sense of what it would be like to around that kind of genius – or to find out if the conspiracy theories surrounding his works are true.
If you were stranded on a desert island – what three things could you not live without?
My fiance Mikey, (because he’s my best mate and adventures are always better with your best mate), a good book, and Scrabble.
What’s coming up for you in 2012?
I’m currently developing a black comedy with my friend and colleague, the wonderfully talented film maker David Barker, and writing a new theatre piece for a short season in May-June in Sydney. Also travelling to Chile in January with the in-laws to meet the extended family. I can’t wait!
Thanks for the interview!