I recently got the chance to talk to Paula Gilbert about her role in romantic comedy ‘Red Heart’. Here, Paula talks about what it was like working with the cast and crew, how she got into acting and what a Paula Gilbert day usually consists of…
Hey Paula. Thanks for taking the time out to talk to me. ‘Red Heart’ will be in selected UK cinemas towards the end of 2011. How would you sum up the general plotline around the film?
The film revolves around a guy called Ben and his sweet-natured best friend Alice who have planned to propose to their girlfriend’s Katherine and Melanie on the same day as the Royal Wedding. However, just two days before the wedding, Ben gets dumped. Alice sets him the challenge – to win his girlfriend back before the Royal Wedding bells can call time on their relationship.
Tell us a bit about the character you play in the movie…
My character is Melanie, a girl who knows what she wants and isn’t afraid to go after it. Like most girls, she has insecurities that do creep in too. She’s passionate, ambitious and very in love with her girlfriend Alice.
How would you say this film is different from other comedies released this year?
This film is a story about friendship more than anything and the comedy itself is very quirky! It will be interesting to gauge audience reactions. The very special factor about this film which makes it unique, has to be that it’s set on the backdrop of the Royal Wedding and part of the film was in fact shot on the memorable day itself, 29th April 2011, amongst the excitement and crowds!
How did you get involved in the project in the first place?
I’ve been fortunate enough to work with Eben Bolter, the cinematographer and co-creator, a number of times. So when he told me about this project I was really keen to work with him again. It’s invaluable to find fellow creatives that are as talented as they are enjoyable to work with.
What was it like working with the cast and crew on set?
This film was a real labour of love. It was low-budget but everyone involved was incredibly passionate and extremely hard-working. There was never a dull moment on set!! Our first AD Alison Winter was brilliant, a hugely positive force who was driving the project forwards from the get go. Our director and writer Michael Lavers is hugely talented and awesome to work with. The cast was simply amazing and I felt truly in awe of the talent surrounding me.
The film is set around the days leading up to the Royal Wedding – what were you doing when Kate and William got married?
Well, funnily enough, it was my birthday!! I joined the celebrations along with everyone else and went to a great pub in Wandsworth for a champagne and eggs royale breakfast. We watched the magic of the wedding unfold on big screens and then spent the rest of the day outside at a street party with lots of Pimms in the sunshine. Bliss!!
Let’s talk a bit about you Paula. What made you want to get into acting in the first place?
Well, I first appeared on stage as a teacup aged four at my Chinese school… I’d say that was probably the beginning for me! I’ve always loved being on stage, being in front of the camera and also telling stories, it’s the most wonderful form of expression and I never feel more at home than when I’m working. I also feel I’ve been influenced a lot by my grandmother who has been in over 40 operas, I remember many occasions of dancing and singing around her lounge dressed as Truly Scrumptious from ‘Chitty Chitty Bang Bang’!
What advice would you give to UK actors wanting to get into the industry?
I would say to actors, don’t ever stop training. In the UK there is sometimes the idea that if we’ve been to Drama school, we’re actors. In the US, even the top professional actors take classes each week to keep them on the pulse. I noticed that the classes also create a sense of community out there, everyone’s really rooting out for one another and it’s also a place to meet people who you might want to collaborate on your own projects with.
You’ve been in a number of shorts – how important do you think the indie industry is at the moment?
It’s extremely important. Especially for new actors who are looking for quality showreel material or for upcoming directors who want to showcase their skills and meet new acting talent. Some of the greatest relationships can form through indie filmmaking – people in the industry building their careers together often help each other out where they can and bigger and better projects can spurn from that.
What does a Paula Gilbert day usually consist of?
I lead a busy life and everyday is different, that’s one thing I love about my job! I could be on set, then in rehearsals, off to an audition, training at the gym and going to a networking event all in the same day!! I also love watching plays in the West End and going to the cinema so I try to do this at least once a week.
What’s coming up for you in 2011?
I’ve recently completed a suspense thriller film and I’m about to start work on a film called ‘Plastic Love’. I’m also shooting a photographic campaign for ™ Lewin so look forward to seeing that in stores across the UK. It should be a good year!
Thanks for the interview!