Close-up: An Interview With Siobhan Williams

Siobhan Williams joins us on Close-up Culture to talk about her big upcoming role in Welcome To Marwen, working with Robert Zemeckis and being part of highly-anticipated TV series Deadly Class.

Q: ‘Welcome To Marwen’ looks like an incredibly touching experience. What can you tell us about the film and how many times will we cry?

A: It will be incredibly touching! As well as exciting and heartbreaking and funny. I haven’t seen the film myself yet so I’m not sure how many tearjerking moments there are, but I know I cried twice in the script.

I also know that it’s a very personal journey, and everyone will have moments they relate to – undoubtedly some more than others. You will laugh, and you will cry.

Q: You get to play a doll, named Elsa, in the film. What was that like and do you remember what doll, if any, was your favourite as a child?

A: Because of Robert’s concept for the film, the entire ‘World of Marwen’ was animated. This meant that all of the actors were doing motion capture for all of the doll segments.

Motion Capture basically requires standing in a massive padded room in skin-tight unitards and acting with no set and placeholder props. I’d done a fair amount of motion capture before this project, so I knew what to expect, and thoroughly enjoy the challenge it provides. It requires an abundance of imagination – which is fitting, given the story we are telling.

As a child I had a lot of different dolls I adored – the first that comes to mind is a porcelain doll I named Dutchess and spent an eternity saving up for (as much as a 4 year old can), and – you guessed it- Barbies.

Q: How exciting was it to work on this film and be part of such an excellent cast?

A: I can’t even answer this question. There are no words to describe how excited I was – and still am. I have been a fan of Robert Zemeckis ever since I can remember – his films shaped my childhood. He is a legendary creator, and to have the chance to work with him was not even in the realm of what I’d previously have considered possible.

Beyond this, the original documentary was a tragic and inspirational story that affected me deeply. It’s an honour to be able to assist in the telling of Mark Hogancamp’s story.

As for the cast, I was working with so many people I admired – and it was all I could do to listen to their stories and watch them work and learn as much as I possibly could.

Q: Can you tell us more about the way Robert works and any interactions you had with him?

A: He is a genius. He invents technology that didn’t exist previously so that he can have his films move people in ways never done before. He is so kind and genuine, and calm on set. His planning is meticulous and makes everyone in the cast and crew’s lives so much easier. I could go on about him forever.

Q: ‘Adventures In Public School’ is out now on VOD. I have heard encouraging things about the film since Tiff 2017. What should audiences thinking of checking it out expect?

A: To laugh, and maybe cry, and feel a bit weird, and feel nostalgic.

Siobhan and Daniel Doheny in ‘Adventures In Public School’

Q: From the trailer alone, you can feel the type of chemistry between yourself and Daniel Doheny that all teen romances thrive on. What was it like working with Daniel?

A: Oh, thank you. Working with Daniel was a dream! I want to work with him on every movie I ever do in future. He’s a riot. We clicked instantly – we went for beers before we started filming to get to know one another, and realised pretty quickly we have the same sense of humour and a lot of the same interests.

We’re both dorks and we still hang out and play video games or make sketches. We had way too much fun on set – so many laughs. I keep hoping they’ll release a blooper real, ‘cause it’d be amazing.

Q: You have an extensive music and dance background, as well as a love for photography. Can you tell us about your passion and how, if at all, they interact with your acting?

A: As my career grows I am lucky enough to be able to incorporate more and more of my hobbies into my acting profession. Dance has morphed into having a knack for stunt/fighting choreography, as well as (no spoilers) some other kinds of choreography appearing in Deadly Class.

Photography couples so nicely with acting – I love taking portraits of co-stars and am actually in the process of editing a project that will be my directorial debut. As for music – I’m dreaming and holding out for a role in which I get to play the front woman of a band. I’d love to be able to flex my singing and acting muscles at the same time.

Q: I am glad you brought up ‘Deadly Class’ – it looks incredible. Can you reveal anything about it?

A: Deadly Class is incredible! At least, filming has been. It’s been a crazy whirlwind, and I’m learning so much. There’s been a lot of stunt-work, which keeps us all busy (and sore) and we are just all so beyond excited about the show.

The sets are incredibly intricate, the scripts have been phenomenal, and the world is dark and sultry and dirty and violent and awkward and endearing. It’s also surprisingly funny. I can’t wait to see how it is received – I just hope people love the world as much as we love creating it.

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