I recently got the chance to talk to Hayley J. Williams about her role in indie flick ‘Incidental Weekend’. Here, Hayley talks about what it was like working with the cast and crew on-set, and how she got into acting in the first place…
Hey Hayley. Thanks for taking the time out to talk to me. Of course we‘re here to talk to you about your new film ‘Incidental Weekend’.
What’s the general plotline surrounding the film?
The film centres on a group of friends from university who reunite after about 10 years for a weekend away. We follow the friend’s lives in the present day and in university flashbacks and its pretty funny seeing how they’ve all grown up (or not ha ha) and how they relate to each other now – with secrets being unearthed, betrayals, and random bouts of narcolepsy! It’s a comedy written and directed by Nick Kirk and Richard Allison who wanted to make a film that made them laugh with memories of their own university days. I think they succeeded.
How did you get involved in the project in the first place?
I auditioned for it just like everyone else and I remember reading the audition sides and getting excited by the character. When I went into the room and met Nick and Richard, Nick read the scene with me and it was quite a serious scene, one of the turning points in the movie, and I gave it my all…they seemed impressed but you can never really tell with auditions ha ha…three days later they called and offered me the role saying that they totally saw me as the character of Charlie. I remember jumping around the room with excitement – I always do that when I get a part though, it never gets old…
Tell us a bit about the character you play in the movie…
I play Charlie who was Miss Popular at university, lead singer of the band, very outgoing, fun, flirty, feisty, and the life and soul of the party – an actress with big dreams! Charlie’s life hasn’t turned out exactly as she’d hoped though and this trip is an opportunity for Charlie to re-capture some of her youth and dreams. She is also put in an extreme position, having to make a big decision to choose between loyalty to her husband or to her friend. I loved the character of Charlie straight away as I totally empathised with the aspect of her that was trying to break free from a life of ‘normality’ in the constant search for the life she ‘gave up’. It’s not something I’ve personally ever done but I’ve seen glimpses of it in my life and I’m very attracted to characters with a ‘free spirit’ inside of them, always so fun to play.
Have you ever had an ‘incidental weekend’? What happened?
Many…but I’m not sure I can tell you what happened ha ha! Actually we filmed the majority of ‘Incidental Weekend’ in 5 days in a town called Veliko Tarnova, the historical capital of Bulgaria and there were plenty of real life ‘incidents’ during filming – including one of the actors suffering a cracked rib, someone’s meal being forgotten by the restaurant every single night, a trip in a Bulgarian ambulance and our bus breaking down on the side of a mountain on the way home so we nearly missed our flight!! It was certainly eventful!
The film stars my good friend Jason Croot, Marq English, Henrietta Meire and Damian Morter – with Richard Allison and Nick Kirk onboard as directors – what was it like working with the cast and crew on-set?
We had a blast! It was an extremely jovial set and we all got on really well to the point where I actually felt like I had known the other actors since university! Everyone was very different but I think we complimented each other well. Nick and Rich were great, full of enthusiasm, they encouraged us to improvise and really go with the scenes especially the flashbacks…the best bit for me was all the crazy outfits we wore, I had some amazing costumes and Faye (make-up) and Hanna (costume) really outdid themselves, I don’t think I’ll ever forget the sight of Andrew Cleaver who played Ben in his ‘Robin’ outfit!!
Let’s talk a bit about you Hayley. What made you want to get into acting in the first place?
I’ve been doing it as long as I can remember really? As a child I loved dressing up and my Mum made me all these costumes…when I was about 6 I had a doctor’s outfit, an air stewardess outfit and a flamenco dancer dress – I could never decide which one I liked best so I think it was my Mum who said ‘why don’t you be an actress then you can be all three’! Wise woman my Mum. It’s a wonderful job and I love every part of it, I feel blessed to be able to do it.
Who has been your favourite actor to work with so far and who has given the best advice to you?
Hmmm that’s a tough one but my favorite was probably Beth Winslet who I worked with on ‘The Shadow Within’. She is such an amazing free spirit and we had so much fun working together. I was taking the role very seriously at first as it was my first proper lead role but she taught me how to have fun and free myself up to enjoy it…it was a great learning experience just making that movie. I’ve received a lot of advice over the years but I think the best was from an old acting teacher who just said ‘Don’t think about it too much just do it, trust your instincts.’…that’s exactly what I always try to do.
Ok, I‘m going to give you an imaginary scene of an imaginary film. You‘re in an apartment, in a kitchen – with a fit guy named Mitch that your character finds attractive. You’re not married or together. You have just found out that he has failed his driving test – and more so, he has just crashed your car, which you let him borrow for the test. How would the scene play out? Be as descriptive as you want!
Well considering I’m a huge horror geek and you’re asking me to write and act in the scene ha ha…I would probably have us have a huge argument, which at it’s peak turns into a steamy make-out session on the kitchen counter followed by some psycho killer tiptoeing up behind us and stabbing Mitch in the back mid clinch…I would run screaming and hopefully get to be the final female in the movie but if not I’d hopefully get a decent bloody imaginative death…call me a freak but horror’s my favorite genre…one day I’m gonna make one of my own!
If you could have a dinner with three historical guests, living or dead – who would you choose and why?
Ooh I love these questions but it’s so tough to choose! Ok I think Billy Connolly would have to be there, I think he is a wonderful actor and he makes me laugh sooo much, plus he has such an interesting life story so I reckon he’d be pretty cool to sit next to. Sigourney Weaver is one of my all time favorite actresses so I’d definitely like to sit next to her and pick her brains about all the amazing films she’s done. Thirdly I think it has to be Jesus, just so I can quiz him and find out if ‘The Life of Brian’ was actually closer to the truth?? I think Billy, Sigourney, Jesus and me would all get on great ha ha!!
What has been the most interesting piece of local / national news you’ve heard in the last month?
Well now I live in Los Angeles – the local news today has all been about 9/11, as today is the 10 year anniversary. I’ve been watching lots of footage of what happened and even though I remember exactly where I was – it still seems unbelievable. It’s very humbling to watch and it certainly puts life into perspective!! It also shows so much of people’s ‘humanness’ which as an actor is ultimately fascinating to me.
What else is coming up for you in 2011? I hear you’re currently filming a project right now!
There is a lot going on yes, I recently did an episode of ‘Torchwood’ for BBC Radio and a friend of mine is currently finishing a thriller script which he hopes to shoot early next year that I will be in. There’s also a movie, which is still in the early production stages so I can’t say too much but it will be extremely exciting if it comes together!! I also really want to do a play that I’ve been trying to put together so I’m in the early production stages on that. There’s always a lot going on and I love not really knowing what’s around the corner…
Thanks for the interview!