Rosie Day in All Roads Lead To Rome
Rosie Day is one of the British actresses to keep an eye on this year as she has a string of film and television projects on the horizon in 2016.
She is set to return to the big screen with All Roads Lead to Rome, which sees her team up with actress Sarah Jessica Parker for the first time.
We caught up with Rosie to chat about the film, her new role in TV series Outlander and her directing ambitions.
- You are about to return to the big screen with new film All Roads Lead to Rome, so can you tell me a bit about the film?
All Roads Lead to Rome is about a mother and daughter from New York who decide to go on holiday to Italy because the daughter has got in a bit of trouble. They go on this road trip through Italy. On the trip, the mother bumps into an old flame and, whilst seeing him, the daughter steals a car and tries to get back to the airport with the old flame's mother. This teenage girl and this grandma have escaped and are driving across Rome to get to the airport with the mother and the old lover chasing them. It is very much about that journey.
- The movie sees you take on the role of Summer, so what was it about this character the script that was the major appeal for you?
When I first heard about it, I knew it was to play Sarah Jessica Parker's daughter, I initially went 'I am never going to get that because I look nothing like her.' I just thought that it was never going to happen.
Summer is a very smart and sarcastic girl who is very bright for her age but troublesome at the same time; that is what drew me to her. I thought that she was a really cool character - this was before I knew that I was going to have to dye my hair pink (laughs). When I got told that I had been offered the role, I swore at my agent because I couldn't believe it.
- Can you talk about Summer and how we are going to see her develop throughout the film and the development of this mother and daughter relationship?
When you first meet her, she is a typical annoyed and moody teenage that has been taken somewhere that she does not want to be. She hates and resents her mother for taking her away.
As she goes on this journey with this old lady, she realises that her mum has only been trying to protect her, her behaviour is the cause of all this trouble, and it is her own fault that she is in this position. She changes and realises that her mum does really love her and becomes a much nicer person by the end of the film.
- The movie sees Ella Lemhagen in the director's chair, so how did you find working with her?
She is the loveliest women ever. Summer's style and some of Summer's ways are based on her daughter - who is a similar age to me - and it was really cool to get to play that out. Getting to work with a female director is brilliant because there are not too many of them. She was really really great and it was a lot of fun with her and Sarah Jessica Parker to make this girl film, which was really cool.
- You have slightly touched on my next question. This is a project that has a female director, female leads and a female-driven story, how often do you come across that when you are reading scripts?
Not enough, not enough. Female film directors are so hard to come by because they are not given the same opportunities that men are, which is terrible. When I knew that it was a female director, I knew that this project was in great hands. It was so lovely... I love male directors as well but it was just so lovely to get to work with a woman. She is a mum of three kids and is a really inspiring woman.
- How collaborative a filmmaker was she? How open was she to you bringing you own ideas to characters and scenes?
Yes, completely. She is from Sweden and although she says that her English isn't perfect, it pretty much is. But if I wanted to change a line or I didn't think that Summer would do something like that, she was totally up for that and incredibly collaborative.
She wasn't precious about the script, which is always really nice. Having my hair dyed pink was her idea but I really did love it because I was a big fan of Avril Lavigne growing up and I had always wanted pink hair. I was more than happy to oblige and do that.
- Sarah Jessica Parker leads the cast list how did you find the experience of working with her? There are some great moments between the pair of you.
She is like my American mum. She is just the loveliest human being, so normal and was just great on set. She is a brilliant actress to work with and we had the best time running around Rome together. It was really really special.
- Away from the film, we are also going to be seeing you take on the role of Mary Hawkins in Outlander Season 2, so can you tell us a bit about the role and where she is going to fit in?
That is completely different to the film. Mary is very sweet, innocent, and shy fifteen-year-old. Jamie and Claire - the central characters - go to Paris where they discover that she is being sold into an arranged marriage and needs help getting out of it. Claire adopts her and takes her under her wing.
From that moment, you see her develop from a very stuttery and shy little girl into a woman over the course of the series; it was really lovely to play. The series is full of romance, war, and torment; it is very dramatic but it is great.
- Outlander has been such a huge success, so how have you found stepping into the show?
I have loved it. I have been friends with Sam Heughan, the lead actor, for years and it was really lovely to go onto a set where I already had a mate. It was such a lovely set; we filmed in Scotland.
It has been such a great thing to be part of. It has American showrunners and they are all over here, but it still feels like quite British. The scripts were so great. I haven't seen any of it yet, so I am excited to see a bit.
- You have also completed work on film projects Heretiks and Butterfly Kisses can you tell me a bit about those projects?
Butterfly Kisses is a BBC Film and follows a group of teenagers at the age of around fifteen; it is at that time when you discover that life isn't innocent and you realise that people aren't all good. It is about these five teenagers on this estate who come to realise this over the course of a week. It is very dark and about the development of sexuality. Essentially, it is about growing up and that moment when you step into adulthood. That is very edgy and dark.
Heretiks is a horror film that I made with my best friend Paul Hyett, who is a director. It is set in a nun's convent in the 17th Century and, in one way or another, they get possessed. It is a psychological thriller with a lot of blood. Hannah Arterton, who is Gemma Arterton's sister, is the lead in it and we filmed in Wales for a month before Christmas. Horrors are good fun to do because they are quite silly to film.
- During your career, we have seen you move between television, film and theatre, so how do you find moving between the different mediums and how do they compare?
I love all three of them. TV and film are very similar but, when doing a film, you have more creative leeway with what you want to do and you have more time; TV is done on a schedule and lots of people have involvement and say in it.
On film, you get a lot more creativity with your character. Theatre is just the best because the audience is there, whatever happens on that night happens and there's no rewind button. I love all three of them equally and I hope to continue to do all three.
- Back in 2014, we saw you move into the director's chair with short film Girl to Girl. How much is the director's chair an interest you and do you have any directing projects in the pipeline?
I do. I am developing a short film and a feature film with the company that I did Butterfly Kisses with. I am hoping to do the short film with them this year. It is interesting because I have spent so many years acting and watched so many directors that I really do want to have a go.
There are not enough female directors either and I would love to give it a shot - who knows if I will be any good at it (laughs). It is definitely something that interests me.
- How did you experience as an actress help you make that transition into the director's chair?
I think it helps because I know how to talk to actors, as I have spent my whole life with them; that is the emotional side of it. Technically, I know that I have a lot to learn. When you are on set acting, you don't pay that much attention to what everyone else is doing (laughs). It is something that I would like to explore as I get older.
- Finally, what's next for you?
We finished Outlander on Friday and I have been working on that for ten months. It is a case of seeing what I want to do next really because I haven't really decided. I would quite like to do a play because I haven't done one in a while.
I have got other things coming out but I don't know what I want to go on to. I am going to America next week, so I will see how it is out there. I will just see what happens, I guess.
All Roads Lead To Rome is available on digital platforms now and on DVD from the 29th February, 2016 courtesy of Signature Entertainment.