Close-up: An Interview with Sophie Tergeist

SOPHIE TERGEIST has appeared in films such as Holding Back, Silently Within Your Shadow and Shakespeare’s Diaries. Prestridge² talked to Sophie about her latest film Echoes of the Passed, critiquing films and her background.

Q: Your latest project is a short film called Echoes of the Passed. Can you tell us about the film and your role in it?

A: ABSOLUTELY. It is a short film in which I play Liz, a scientist who spends a night in an old infamous house with a professor and two helpers.

The team is investigating whether the house, where a tragedy happened decades ago, is haunted. The film is a psychological horror which ends with a twist that will make you uneasy.

Q: What were your experiences on this project? Do you enjoy the short film format?

A: I LOVED the experience – for many reasons. This was my third short film with director Scott Lyus whose work I really respect.

We did night shoots over a long week-end which brought lots of emotions and contributed to what you see in the film. The house where we shot was old and mysterious and even our tiredness influenced the way we delivered lines and collaborated. I’m grateful to have worked with this team. Yes, I do enjoy the short film format but it’s over too quickly!

Q: Can you talk about your background? I believe you got into acting back in 2008?

A: I WAS born and raised in Paris where I started taking theatre lessons in 2008. Theatre definitely opened something up in me, but I did not realise back then that I wanted to act professionally – I honestly did not think it was possible.

So I went to university and moved to London to find work, but wherever I went it was always my priority to find a place where I could act. Since I have been in London, I have acted in plays and short and feature films.

Q: You are multi-lingual. How do you think this helps you as an actress? Would you love to work on German and French language films?

A: I HAVE noticed that it means my profile fits with more castings which helps. But your question is also interesting because recent films such as “Call Me By Your Name” or the TV show “Jane the Virgin” display characters speaking multiple languages naturally. That Is the reality I know from my life and those are the kinds of projects I hope to be in one day.

I have a film currently being edited, “Sycamore“, set in Sicily, in which I have a conversation in Italian – and I loved that.

It goes without saying that yes, I would love to work on German and French films. I have auditioned for French-speaking roles this year so I want to keep going on this path.

Q: You review films on your blog (Sophie’s Balcony) and occasionally on your YouTube channel. You had great coverage of the London Film Festival. Which films stood out for you? More generally, what kind of cinema are you interested in?

A: THANK you. I can send the compliment right back.

The two films that stood out for me were “Loveless” and “Wajib“. “Loveless” floored me – as the end credits rolled, I had forgotten where I was. I thought it was one of those perfectly executed films where the story is bigger than all the elements that make it. I could talk about it for hours.

Wajib” was a wonderful and sweet road movie set in Bethlehem and I enjoyed the family relationship it showed. I particularly enjoy family stories on screen. They can be painful, but they are the most personal.

I enjoy watching films that are not in English language, family dramas, and also romantic comedies. Let’s bring them back.

Q: Do you think critiquing films helps your own performance?

A: UNCONSCIOUSLY perhaps yes because I take the time to stop and think about the experience that the film gave me. At the same time, once I am performing, I have to forget everything I have seen before and just do my own thing.
Q: I believe you are schooled in Meisner improv. Are you always looking to grow as an actor?

A: YES, I have taken Meisner classes that have helped me, especially with text. I do think it Is important to keep learning and training yourself – or to challenge yourself in new ways because it helps the performance.

Q: What are your ambitions for the future? Is there anyone you aspire to?

A: I FEEL that I still have so much to learn, but I do know that I would like to work in multiple countries and with directors who have strong points of view.

I would just like to keep growing – take roles that will challenge me in films that will hopefully be seen by as many people as possible. My absolute role model is Jessica Chastain. I admire her choice of roles, the bold choices she makes with text, her grace and kindness in life.

Q: Lastly, do you have any upcoming projects you can tell us about?

A: YES. I have just been cast as a whorehouse owner in a play called “Thomasina” by director and artist Leonard Cohen. It is a neo-Western set in today’s Louisiana and tells the story of the whorehouse. This could also turn into a film.

Also, I wrote a short film in German that I would like to shoot early next year.

Photo by Alishia Love


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