From Colton to Cruise – Hermione Corfield (The VH Interview)

More and more young actors are popping up on our screens in recent years. Some make small appearances before fading into obscurity, while others, like Hermione Corfield, are gaining a lot of traction in their careers. From small beginnings, to jumping into big-budget films like Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation and xXx: Return of Xander Cage, Hermione is definitely on the up-and-up.

After a long day talking to various members of the press about xXx, Hermione took some time out to talk to us about her career and her new TV show, The Halcyon; where she plays Emma Garland, the daughter of a London hotel manager in the midst of World War II.

I wanted to start with where you started, on the Colton’s Big Night segment of 50 Kisses. It seems like an interesting project; how did you get involved with that?

So I knew the producer- I actually met him at an audition, and he e-mailed me saying he was doing it and that he had a director called Seb Solberg involved as well, and he asked me if I wanted to do it. And I said “yeah!”

At the time, I was at school, so I was doing lots of theatre, and I’d never actually done any form of film before. So that was an exciting way in. It was great!

And since then you’ve moved onto a lot of big-budget Hollywood films.
Did you ever expect that in that time you’d go from doing a three minute film to sharing screen-time with actors like Tom Cruise, and having YouTube and Facebook pages dedicated to you?

[Laughs] No, not really! I think it’s kind of that thing where you take every day as it comes and I never expected at all that I’d be doing these sorts of films. I mean, even how I got my agent; I had no idea how to do that, so each step has been a massive learning process. It’s been fantastic.

Well, it seems to be working well for you; the site I’ve seen is called ‘The Daily Hermione Corfield’ and they all seem very fond of you.

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Oh yeah, I know. I mean they are on it. I find out news through them sometimes. They’ve got everything.

Do you think there are more opportunities today for young actors to land big picture deals like you have?

I think definitely for women there are. I think there’s more and more- particularly in this film (xXx: Return of Xander Cage) there are a lot of strong female roles and I think that’s becoming more and more the case. Less and less that they’re more these accessory parts, and more substantial interesting roles. I definitely think that’s the case.

For boys- young actors- the roles still get more interesting as you get older and I guess people get more interesting as they get older. They’ve got more experience and life stories.

How did you find the transition from all these films you’ve been in to headlining your own TV show?

It’s fantastic for my first proper lead in the project. It’s very different walking on and doing a supporting role in a film to do five, six scenes a day non-stop for five months. It was a big transition, and I actually really enjoyed it. I love being busy on set. I way prefer that to having lots of downtime, so I actually really really loved it.

I saw online, on The Daily Hermione Corfield, that it took about two and a half hours every day to prepare your hair and make-up. 

Oh yeah, it did. It took a long, long time. It was a mega one. I think it’s because the hair is so intricate and beautiful, particularly in the forties, and the curling and everything did take a long time. So it was a long process. Two-and-a-half hours, yeah. So I’d get in at about four thirty, five.

Do you think that time psyches you up and helps you get into character? Or is it a time to relax before getting to work?

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At the beginning I think it was, and then you get into a nice pattern of working, so you probably need less time to prepare because you’re in the mindset already. So it was also a bit of a chatting session for me and Amy, who does my makeup. So it became more about that I think [Laughs].

I’d got to the point where I’d done all the prep for the character and I’d got to know the character well. So at that stage I could just slip into it which was nice.

We’re two episodes in so far, obviously we don’t know where we’re going to be come series end. Do you think The Halcyon will be returning for more seasons or is it more of a one-and-done affair?

I hope so because the first season spans the first year of the war, which is so much to cover. My friends are going ‘what else happens, what else happens?’ and I’m like ‘well, we’ve explored the war a bit further down the series’ and it would be great to continue to do that, because it had such a huge impact on London and the way London functioned. And the hotel’s a great lens to look through that; you can see through the eyes of the hotel how significant that change was.

So yeah, I hope so.

xXx is out next week, and you’ve also got Bees Make Honey and King Arthur: Legend of the Sword coming later this year. What can you tell us about those projects?

Bees Make Honey is a comedy written and directed by Jack Eve; Trevor Eve’s starring in it, Alice Eve’s starring in it, Joshua McGuire- It’s got a really great British cast, and it’s very funny. I had lot’s of fun shooting it. I don’t know exactly when that’s coming out, but they’re aiming for festivals I think. We shot all that at Pinewood actually, which was brilliant.

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King Arthur is this big Guy Ritchie feature. I’m playing a creature in that.

A creature? 

A siren creature, which is very different. And then there’s xXx, where I’m playing like a ghost hunter/ex-Mi5 agent. So yeah, all very different.

People are always excited for Guy Ritchie films. What was it like working with him?

It was really exciting. I couldn’t believe it when I got the initial call. It was a big big deal. It was such a fantastic big production, I don’t know how he managed to spread himself across the whole thing. There were so many different worlds in it. And I can’t wait to see the whole finished thing.

There’s also Fallen, which is out in most countries but not in Britain. 

Yes, Fallen! The angel YA film. I shot it such a long time ago. It was the first film I shot; so that was about three years ago. It was a lot of fun shooting it. I think they brought it out in Johannesberg and then- I actually don’t know what’s going on with that. I don’t know what the release times are. And I haven’t actually seen it yet…

You haven’t seen it yet?

Well, they did screenings in L.A., but I wasn’t there unfortunately.

 

So, to backtrack a bit, you’ve done a big variety of things. You’re playing a siren; you’ve worked with zombies, detectives, spies and hotel managers. What would you really love to do with this foundation you’ve built? Where would you like to go next?

I think anything really transformative. The siren role was very transformative just in a physical sense, because there’s a lot of prosthetics and it was very physical. But I think something that’s completely against type would be quite exciting. Yeah, that would be great.

Any strong female part and I’m up for it.

The Halcyon is airing now on ITV, and is availble for catch-up on the ITV Hub.