Your new movie Book of Monsters
- in a few words, what is it about,
and what can you tell us about your character?
Book of Monsters
is a fun comedy horror about some kickass girls fighting off a bunch of
monsters. I play Mona who is the fiery rebel of the group.
What did you draw upon to bring your character to life, and how
much of Michaela Longden can we find in Mona?
extremely independent, she stands up for what she believes in and is a
true free spirit. She has a good heart and a lot of fight and all of these
things I think are strongly mirrored in my own personality. Her
friendships mean the world to her and it’s her energy and passion that
drives a lot of her scenes.There is another side to Mona where, when
forced to fight alone, we see more vulnerability and we realise that
perhaps she isn’t as strong as she makes out. She depends on her friends
just as much as they do on her, and I can definitely relate to all of these
aspects. She’s a normal teen testing the boundaries and I think we have
all been there at some point.
you get involved with the project in the first place?
the supporting lead for Dark
Rift’s first film The
Creature Below and I was overjoyed they called me back for this
project. We created a little family the first time round and it was such a
lovely, warm and welcoming experience I was delighted to be asked to
return. Paul Butler [Paul Butler
interview - click here] and Stewart Sparke are a dream to work with.
what extent could you identify with the film's horror theme, and is horror
a genre at all dear to you?
Horror is a genre that
challenges current anxieties in an arena that can shock and get a strong
emotional reaction from people. That is something I am passionate about -
telling stories that are current and that matter.
Book of Monsters
female-led and reverses the stereotypes of the damsel in distress to tell
the story of a modern group of girls who do just fine fighting their own
battles. The horror genre does so much more than just entertain and scare,
it highlights areas of concern.
What can you tell us about Book of Monsters'
director Stewart Sparke, and what was your collaboration like?
I’ve worked with Stewart for two films and known him for nearly five
years. He is a wonderful super hard-working director and has become a very
close friend. He is a positive ball of energy to be around on set, but he is efficient and a great masker of any fears or doubts
internally going on. To be a great director your team need to have faith
and trust in you, for me this is easy with Stewart. He works hard to
create a shared vision with his actors and there is a mutual trust and
respect of any ideas put forward. His passion, energy and commitment is
what drives every project he does. As an indie filmmaker he understands
that collaboration with his team is key and also… putting yummy food in
everyone’s belly makes everyone happy! He is and will continue to be an
inspiration to work with.
talk about the shoot as such, and the on-set atmosphere?
shoots were so much fun filled with banter but professionalism as well.
There was a time I blasted lead Lyndsey Craine [Lyndsey
Craine interview - click here] in the face with a blood
gun by accident when trying to help ‘blood her up’ before filming - it
is a real friend who laughs and immediately forgives you for this. The
team are a family and I have made some best friends. Everyone worked so
hard on set but it was also a warm and relaxed atmosphere. Even in the
long hours and early mornings of shooting, where my tiredness potentially
took over my sanity, I have the fondest memories and some brilliant
Michaela (center) with Lyndsey Craine, Lizzie
future projecs you'd like to share?
I have recently played
lead character Kim in the short film Terminal, which is running the
circuits right now, we just won ‘Best Short Film at Starburst Film Festival, which was incredible. There are a few more projects in the
pipeline but I am unable to say too much about these at the moment. I have
also started to write my own short film which I am excited about as it’s
my first time attempting to write.
What got you into
acting in the first place and did you receive any formal training on the
From a young age I wanted to be an actress, for me
it was something I felt couldn’t be achieved as I was from a single
parent working class background. I finally after some persuasion applied
to drama school (The Academy of Live and Recorded Arts) and got in with
full scholarship. The rest is history. I never looked back, I love what I
do - don’t get me wrong it can be very challenging but I am grateful for
every day I get to wake up and say that I am an actress and I do what I
love for a living.
What can you tell us about your filmwork prior
to Book of Monsters?
Prior to Book of Monsters
I appeared as supporting lead in The
Creature Below, which was Dark
Rift's first feature film, I have also appeared in a few of the
UK’s well known television soaps - Hollyoaks, Coronation
Street and Doctors - and I have appeared in a range
of award winning shorts including Choice. Regret., Headless: The
Ed Shales Story and Demented.
How would you describe yourself as an actress, and some of
your techniques to bring your characters to life?
Feeling lucky ?
any of my partnershops yourself
for more, better results ?
The links below
will take you
staying motivated and having a positive attitude is everything in this
industry. Building strong relationships with people and working hard is a
must. I approach my characters with thought and imagination, actively
trying to find the strands that I can relate to and the areas that I need
to source. I love to use actions and objectives, to find out what my
character's motives are throughout and how these might change. I live in
the moment when filming, listening is everything.
(and indeed actors) who inspire you?
Many actresses/actors I find inspirational: Rachel McAdams, Emma Stone
and Rachel Weisz are to name a few. Not to mention the likes of Judy
Dench, Tom Hanks, Matthew McConaughey and Meryl Streep - the list is
endless. I am inspired by local talent I watch in fringe plays and I am
inspired weekly by the kids I teach in my acting school. Inspiration comes
in various forms for me, writers, directors, cinematographers all inspire
me to stay motivated and have passion for the wonderful industry that I am
Favourite movies: Shawshank Redemption, Get
Out, Harry Potter (absolute fave), Moulin Rouge, The
Emperors’ New Groove and of course Book of Monsters.
There’s quite a mixed bag for you!
... and of course, films you really deplore?
don’t deplore any movies in particular, if I don’t appreciate a movie I
usually turn it off before I get change to hate it. I can respect every
movie for the hard work and effort that has gone into it. However saying
that, (I’lll try not to be too boring), when at the cinema I never walk
out and two movies that were not entirely my cup of tea were Mother
and Teeth. This was purely because I just felt anxious throughout
the films however, this was probably intended.
website, Facebook, whatever else?
Facebook: Michaela Longden
for the interview!