DEBORAH Haywood’s impactful debut feature Pin Cushion sticks the needle in where it hurts to show the destructive nature of bullying.
One of the exciting young stars of the film, Saskia Paige Martin, joins us on Close-up Culture to tell us more about Pin Cushion, bullying and her love for musical theatre.
Q: You play a rather nasty ‘popular’ girl named Stacie in Pin Cushion – in cinemas Friday 13th July. Can you tell us what it was like playing someone like her and how you prepared and got into the head space for such a character?
A: TO play the character Stacie was really quite fun. As much as she was manipulating and horrible towards lead girl Iona – played by Lily Newmark – there was something about her that I loved. I found it easy to get into character just because, as bad as it sounds, I could relate to some of her mannerisms and dialogue.
To prepare myself I did not really have to adapt massively personality wise. I just wanted people watching to hate me because then I knew I had done my job right. I adored playing Stacie and would love to play a similar part in the future.
Q: When you are playing a character like that, I cannot imagine it easy to switch on and off. What was the environment like on set and what was your relationship with the other younger actors, particularly Lily who plays your ‘frenemy’?
A: THE environment on set was something really special. I had never experienced being on a film set before so it could have come across as quite scary. But the people I was lucky enough to work with were wonderful and I would not change my experience of that for the world. I felt so comfortable on and off camera which I think is really important especially at the age of just 15.
I am so proud of Sacha Cordy-Nice and Bethany Antonia – who play the characters Keely and Chelsea – and I have to say they are both two of my closest friends and I love them so much.
I am so proud of them. Do not get me wrong, the majority of the time we were best friends on and off screen and nearly two years on I have to say they are both two of my closest friends and I love them so much.
We only ever really interacted with Lily on camera. This was for a good reason, as director Deborah Haywood understood how we all would have loved to spend time with each other having a giggle and becoming friends. Not getting to know Lily meant the interaction between the characters was more realistic, as she literally was the outsider to our group. As soon as we wrapped, we got to know Lily a lot better.
As much as this was hard for all of us, it was for the benefit of the film and look how good that turned out. I love Lily and her professionalism across the whole five weeks was so inspiring. She is such a lovely, talented person inside and out.
Q: Pin Cushion deals with the ramifications of vicious bullying. Can you speak to any of your own experiences of bullying, especially with the new elements that technology (iPhone and social media) have brought to the issue?
A: THANKFULLY, I was never really bullied as a young child but I know of people who have. It is an incredibly horrible thing to have to deal with and I think Pin Cushion really shows the extremes that it can lead to and how people hide their emotions and feelings too much.
I do feel technology nowadays has the biggest impact because, unfortunately, it is easier to contact people and harass them that way than actually dong it face to face.
Q: How important do you feel a film like Pin Cushion can be to changing attitudes and actions relating to bullying?
A: THROUGHOUT the film there are elements that show the way bullying online is used. For example people tricking others into being friends with them but they are actually only using them for entertainment purposes.
This happens a lot, especially in my generation, and I hope that after Pin Cushion is released, all sorts of bullying are spoken about more often so people can be helped and help others.
I would like to think people’s attitudes will change for the better having seen the film because of the cruel nature and impact it has on people and the way it can destroy relationships and livelihoods.
I also think it is important people walk away with a different outlook on how they view people and be more careful with how they speak to others as you never know what they could be dealing with behind closed doors.
Q: Can you share anything about working with Deborah Haywood and how she interacted with the younger actors like yourself?
A: I HONESTLY do not even know where to begin with this question. Working with Deborah on the film was such a dream and she is – hands down – one of the most caring, hilarious, talented people you will ever care to meet.
For me, I had never worked in front of the camera before and so I did not really know what to expect. But with Deborah as director I genuinely do not think I could have enjoyed myself more.
She interacted with us way more than some may expect for a director who is technically there to do just their job. I cannot thank her enough for the way she made us all feel like a family unit and not just like a bunch of actors working together.
We would always get morning cuddles from her and getting called ‘kitten’ or ‘ducky’ was something guaranteed to always make you feel happy (especially on early morning shoots). We all have too many memories of her being, well, just Deborah. You could hear her a mile off with her cackling laugh and she would have me in stitches of laughter every day. I am so grateful for how amazing she made my first film debut. I love Deborah Haywood lots.
Q: Musical theatre is a huge passion of yours. Can you tell us about your love for it and what you are currently up to?
A: EVER since I can remember I have been one to dress up and jump around the house singing and dancing and it is not much different now.
Musical theatre has always had my heart from a young age and having parents from that background I guess it was always destined to be. Over the years I have been lucky enough to do so many amazing shows both professional and amateur. I will carry on doing so my whole life. I never stop performing and my love for it also lies in all the incredible friendships I have made and continue to make. I love the connection I have with people that share the same passion with me – it is magical and a really lovely thing to have.
Unfortunately, I am not currently up to anything apart from enjoying my long summer having just finished my GCSEs. However in September I start my college life studying Musical Theatre and I am super excited. I have just got to wait and see what my next adventure will be – be it on stage or screen. Who knows.
Q: What is next for you? Any ambitions you can tell us about?
A: AS I mentioned, I am going to college in September for two years which is exciting and I will have to see what opportunities the industry will throw at me.
I love seeking ambitions on a day to day basis. It helps me set goals I can make myself determine to achieve. I love a good challenge. Truly, I want to continue performing both on screen and stage and get as much experience as possible to carry my career on through adult life.
I would love to land another film and a TV role and hopefully show a different side to me that is shown in Pin Cushion. I would love to be able to show how I can adapt as an actress and make people proud of me and most important make me proud of myself.
Pin Cushion will be released in select cinemas across the UK from Friday 13th July. Please go to PinCushionFilm.co.uk for more information and cinema listing details.