I recently got the chance to talk to Paris Arrowsmith about his role as a CIA Tech expert in ‘Hanna’. Here, Paris talks about what it was like working with Cate Blanchett and Joe Wright on the film and how he got into acting….
Hey Paris, thanks for taking the time out to talk to me. Obviously, we’ve got you here to talk to you about Hanna, which is out in UK cinemas this Friday, (6th May 2011) – What can you tell us about the film’s general plotline?
It’s about Hanna, a girl who was brought up away from civilisation and taught to always be alert. She goes on a mission to right a wrong that befell her. All with the help of her father, Eric Heller.
How did you get involved in the project?
I was in London, my agent found me the audition and I went for it. It’s not really a good story, but I am very grateful for the opportunity to work on the project.
Tell us a bit about the character you play in the movie.
I play a CIA Tech expert who helps out Marissa (Cate Blanchett). He’s a paper pusher and was in the Armed Forces.
Being a CIA Tech expert, did you get any training for the role?
No, but I did get a chance to talk to someone who used to work for the CIA on the phone, we talked about the way things were done behind those closed doors. Plus, during my time at RADA I had a chance to work with a division of the British Army learning drills. So I had some background Army experience, something Jo Wright asked me to channel on set.
The film stars Saorise Ronan, Eric Bana and Cate Blanchett – what was it like working on-set with them?
I only got to meet Cate Blanchett and Saorise Ronan on-set, Eric Bana wasn’t around when I was filming and Saorise only for a moment in wardrobe. Doing a scene with Cate was a pleasure, she really made me feel at ease. It’s a little daunting doing your first film – it was a little like jumping into the deep end. Cate I had met before though when I was younger, she did a stage show with my step-father, so it was nice to reminisce between takes.
The film’s soundtrack has been developed by The Chemical Brothers – are you a fan of them?
Yeah, Push The Button was one of my favourite albums in ’05, love ‘Further’ – however the soundtrack for ‘Hanna’ I got on iTunes as soon as I could. It’s just fantastic, I really like what they’ve done with the score. During the screening they were in the cinema and I must admit, that was a little nuts.
‘Hanna’ was directed by Joe Wright – of ‘Atonement’ and ‘The Soloist’ fame – how was it working with him?
It was humbling, watching him watch back takes, He sees a much bigger picture. Working with him on-set was a relief, he knew what he wanted and guided me down that path, a thankful thing on one’s first job. Obviously when I got the job, I went back and watched those two films and got really excited, Joe has a skill for long shots. I love how daring a long shot is, it’s technically stressful and blisteringly difficult like a dance. But when Joe does it, it’s masterful.
Tell us a bit about how you got into acting Paris.
I’ve wanted to act since I was a kid, I did lots of plays and things. Then I moved to Oxford at 18 to study at the Oxford School of Drama on their Foundation course, then a year later got into the three year course at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art and graduated in ’08. But to be honest, it really all started with a stage mess up when I was in caberet. Something went wrong on stage, Sally Bowels missed her cue badly, and I was left alone on stage. I dealt with it and the show went on – it was then I thought: “Yeah – I could do this”.
What advice would you give to anyone wanting to get into the industry?
Know it’s what you want, know that it comes with more rejection than most can handle. Every time we audition for a part – we are going up for something worth £30,000 a year and another step in our career. It can take a long time to get the ball rolling, and for that I just think about what I learnt from John Beschizza at RADA: “It’s not a sprint, its a marathon, you just have to keep up”.
What would be your ideal role?
I’m a bit of a sci-fi nerd so I guess something along those lines.
What’s coming up for you in 2011?
As with most January’s for me I enjoyed the quiet time of casting. I spent some time in LA doing some auditions and I’m just waiting to hear back from a few recalls I had. Back in London now (had to see the wedding didn’t I?) and auditioning here too. I hoping to finish writing season one of the TV show I’m writing with John Macmillan, who I met on the set of ‘Hanna’. We’re looking to get that read. But who knows? Check back with me around Thanksgiving.
I will do. Thanks for the interview!