IN Ted Kjellsson’s family-friendly sci-fi Alone In Space, 15-year-old Ella Rae Rappaport gives a magnificent lead performance that shows maturity and skill far beyond her years.
Ella Rae joins us on Close-up Culture for a quick chat about her role as space-traveller Gladys before Alone In Space screens at the BFI London Film Festival.
Q: This was a big but also a very exciting challenge for you. Was it daunting or did you feel at ease heading into the role?
A: It wasn’t hard for me to get into the role because I could relate to Gladys. I tried my best to be as natural and ‘myself’ as possible.
The difficult part of the role was the physical scenes where I had to be weightless [in zero-gravity] and do stunts. Fortunately, I had a stunt-double who did the most difficult scenes.
Q: Gladys is a strong and tenacious young woman who looks out for her younger brother. What did you like and relate to about the character?
A: What I like about Gladys is that she is very brave and adventurous. I would like to be as brave and adventurous as her, but I probably wouldn’t if I was in her position. I can relate to her in the way that she’s just an ordinary girl who has a little brother – just like me!
Q: This is a character that will be a good role model to younger audiences watching the film. Who are your role models?
A: The only role model I can think of right now is Astrid Lindgren because she was a very cool, funny and strong person.
A: Director Ted Kjellsson has spoken about your maturity and ability to tap into method acting. Can you tell us about working with Ted and how he helped you along the way?
A: He gave me a lot of freedom to explore emotions and situations. He always listened to my opinions and he gave me directions whenever I needed them.
Q: You worked on green screens and a model spacecraft on this film – not to forget acting opposite an alien. How did you find those sci-fi challenges?
A: It could be a little hard acting with someone wearing an alien mask because sometimes I could see Henrik Ståhl’s eyes behind the alien’s nostrils. In those situations, it was hard to stay serious.
Q: I imagine you and Dante Fleischanderl (who plays Keaton) had a lot of fun on set. What was the most enjoyable scene to film?
A: I liked the scenes where I had to cry and use real emotions. It was a bit difficult, but I learned a lot.
Q: The film opens with talk of the Voyager’s golden record. What would be on your golden record if you had to send one into space?
A: Probably the same content that is on the real-life golden record. I would also invite them to our planet – hopefully they are nice aliens!
Q: Have you thought about whether you want to carrying on acting in the future?
A: I think I want to continue acting, but I don’t know for sure yet. We will see what happens, I guess. I am only 15 and have the whole of my life in front of me.