Bonnie Wright ( Harry Potter Star Ginny Weasley ), Actress and Director Talks to us about her Directorial Debut ‘Separate We Come, Separate We Go’
Bonnie Wright Separate We Come, Separate We Go Interview
Bonnie Wright ( Harry Potter Star - Ginny Weasley ), Actress, Director talks to us about her directorial debut 'Separate We Come, Separate We Go'.
She first came into the public eye as Ginny Weasley in the hugely successful and now iconic Harry Potter films. To be faced with massive fame at such young age is a challenge, but at just 21, actress and now director and writer Bonnie Wright has managed to walk the tightrope between a successful life in the public eye - and keeping her feet firmly on planet Earth. Creative Mapping caught up with Bonnie at the Cannes Film Festival recently, where she talked about her acclaimed directorial debut, Separate We Come, Separate We Go starring David Thewlis - and about her future plans.
Categories: Acting, Directing, Editorial, Film / TV, Producing
Bonnie Wright first came into the public eye as Ginny Weasley in the hugely successful and iconic Harry Potter films. To be faced with massive fame at such young age is a challenge, but at just 21, actress and now director and writer Bonnie Wright has managed to walk the tightrope between a successful life in the public eye – and keeping her feet firmly on planet Earth and in pursuit of a promising creative future in the film industry.
Creative Mapping caught up with Bonnie Wright at the Cannes Film Festival recently, where she talked about her acclaimed directorial debut, Separate We Come, Separate We Go, starring David Thewlis – and about her future plans.
“It obviously takes a lot of confidence to direct something. One element I knew I would feel comfortable with was the language between myself and the actors because I’d experienced it myself and know from experience how some direction was really helpful and sometimes it isn’t.”– Bonnie Wright
CM: How did your debut film Separate We Come, Separate We Go come about?
Bonnie: The film is called Separate we Come, Separate We Go, and it first came from the landscape itself. We shot the film in Dungeness which is in Kent, England. The narrator kind of sprung from the place which is kind of unusual in terms of its development. I spent a lot of time there when I was younger, and I have been incredibly inspired by this place.
CM: What is the story and what inspired you?
B: Because of its sort of vast space and surrealness of the place, you get that cathartic feeling, and I just wanted to have a character that experiences what I sometimes feel within that space. That’s how I then wrote the story of a young girl going to this place coming from a sort of bleak and claustrophobic life to show a real arc for her. I needed her to come from quite a different starting point to show her new ending in this new space.
CM: How did your work as an actress help your work as a director?
B: It obviously takes a lot of confidence to direct something. One element I knew I would feel comfortable with was the language between myself and the actors because I’d experienced it myself and know from experience how some direction was really helpful and sometimes it isn’t. That informed the film massively, yet at the same time, I learned so much more about myself and about directing from doing this film. Just in the space of the nine months in which we filmed it, I learned a great deal about the process we’d already been learning about in our degree program but really solidified all those different things. It was a production that really stood as a professional production. The development of all the ideas were really solid and we worked incredibly hard before we shot the film. And if we hadn’t fully developed those ideas in the beginning in a collaborative process, then the shooting of the film would not have been as successful.
CM: How challenging was it to direct a child?
B: It’s really challenging. When I wrote the story, I knew that would be difficult, especially with someone who hasn’t had that much experience, but I think it’s interesting and you create a whole different relationship when you are working with a child, and they bring a really lovely attitude to the set.
CM: The dialogue is minimal, was that a risk?
B: Yeah definitely. I owe it to them as much as anything else. It was really important that we had that one read before we started shooting the film, and of course David Hughes is an incredibly experienced actor who has played so many different roles, and he has a daughter who is a bit younger than her, so I think that really helped him understand that sort of fatherly relationship that does develop between the two of them.
CM: The little girl in your film looks very similar to you…
B: It isn’t meant to be autobiographical, but she was the only person we saw with red hair and the look we all wanted was someone with quite fair features so that it would stand out in the landscape.
CM: How did you convey your art direction ideas to the team?
B: It was a mixture of things. When we first joined together, I decided that before even sitting down and talking about the film, I needed to take everyone to the space and didn’t even want to talk about the narrative yet, I just wanted to take them to the space, to Dungeness and a lot of it would speak for itself. And I think it really did, it was definitely a good idea because for me I knew the space really well and would start talking about ideas and then people would not be able to contextualize it at all, but the minute we went down there, a lot made more sense.
“Sometimes as a director you can be quite overprotective and you do have to stand back and let the editors put their own spin on the piece, and once I did that it was incredibly successful.”–Bonnie Wright
CM: What does the future hold for you career-wise?
B: If I can continue both [acting and directing] that’s what I really want to do. Both inform the other and I’d like to be busy all the time so that when I’m not acting, I’d like to be directing. I want to develop my own voice through short films, and I probably don’t want to get into directing feature films for quite a long time, so I want to try and look at different genres, different mediums, shooting the film in 16mm, shooting digital, looking at the difference between directing something I hadn’t written and having a completely different connection to the film. Just to keep pushing myself and trying different ideas really.
CM: The differences between a big budget production and a small independent film?
B: No matter what scale film set you are on there’s obviously a common language that runs throughout film making, but I think it is incredibly different in terms of the product that comes out of it and also the development that goes into it. I think that whenever you make an independent film, everyone’s got a creative voice, and there’s not such a strong hierarchy and department segregation. Everyone works as a team and that’s what I really love.
CM: What was your biggest challenge in making this film?
B: I think the post-production was incredibly hard. You’ve shot all this material that you love but you can’t have it all so you need to re-find your story in post-production. The story changed quite a lot in terms of some areas that I thought I was going to be more focused on at the beginning, but which changed and you have to find a whole new rhythm. And sometimes as a director you can be quite overprotective and you do have to stand back and let the editors put their own spin on the piece, and once I did do that it was incredibly successful.
CM: How was your film received at the Cannes Film Festival?
B: It’s been received really well. We’ve had a lot of people go see it and have had a lot of articles and reviews written about it. It’s just been interesting from our perspective to see how it works and what you can gain from being here as a young film maker and it’s just nice to speak to other people in the same positions and who are making the same kinds of films. For any cinephile or cinema lover, to come here and watch as many films as you can and soak up this side of things… for me one thing I don’t know a lot about is production development and distribution, so it was interesting to learn those sides of the industry.
CM: What’s next for you?
B: I’ve got two films that I’m acting in this year, both are independent films. An American one called Shakespeare’s Daughter and another British independent film called In Want of a Wife, but then in between that I’m developing a new idea for a short film, and when I get back from Cannes, I’m directing a music video.
Photography copyright: Bonnie Wright – Creative Mapping. All rights reserved.