Talented English actress, Elizabeth Healey stars in the honest and charming two-handed drama “Across the River”, co-starring with Keir Charles.
Directed by Warren B. Malone, Across the River is an “ex-love story” about recapturing lost love, following your dreams, responsibility and modern life. Emma has it all as a successful lawyer: Barrister husband, lovely children, and great house in Chelsea. Ryan is trying to build an elephant out of sand on the Southbank. He was her first love; it ended badly many years ago and they haven’t crossed paths since. It’s awkward at first but they then find they have one thing in common: a strike has paralysed public transport and they need to get to their homes on opposite sides of the river.
On their way they reminisce, argue, cry and laugh. They can never recapture what they had, but the memory of it tempts them. So what now?
We were lucky enough to chat to Elizabeth about the role of Emma, and also a bit about what inspires her as an actress.
Firstly, thank you for your time, Elizabeth! We absolutely loved Across the River. As an actress, what drew you to this project?
My pleasure, thank you so much for asking me. I am so thrilled you liked the film – it is so nice to hear that people are enjoying it.
The unique thing about Across The River is that it was completely improvised – I had done a some improvisation before but nothing on this scale so that was definitely a draw. It is very rare you get this kind of opportunity and it was one I couldn’t let slip by. And I found I really loved working this way – it was a totally collaborative process from beginning to end and was a fabulously creative project to be involved in.
What was your onscreen partnership with Keir Charles like? I imagine you had to work closely since you were both responsible for carrying the drama.
Keir was just wonderful to work with – he’s funny and inventive which I think comes across brilliantly well. The film is pretty much a two-hander so Keir and I really had to be able to work well together. And although there was some rehearsal before the shoot itself, once we were rolling it was totally up to Keir and I how the scene played out, so we effectively created the script in the moment, which is why it feels so real and fresh I think.
The shots of London were beautiful. Did you have any favourite locations during the shoot?
Just walking and filming along the South Bank was lovely and discovering parts of London I never knew existed. I have lived here for years but it really opened my eyes to a host of fabulous hidden gems, like tiny, beautiful Victorian squares, and hidden away parks, often just off the main road.
What do you think makes Across the River stand out as a romantic-drama, or what do you think makes it different from other films focused on relationships?
I guess its simplicity and honesty for me is key. It is a simple slice of life during a single afternoon when a chance encounter between two first loves sends them off on a totally different path than the one they envisioned when they woke up that morning.
What was it like collaborating with Warren Malone on the project?
Warren is great – a man of few words and I think a visionary although he would hate me to say that! He was incredibly brave to attempt a film like this and I think he should be super proud of what he has achieved. He was always open to ideas and I’d certainly work with him again.
You’ve done some other fantastic work – for example, Mum’s List, which was an incredibly poignant film. Had you read the novel beforehand or was it purely the script that appealed to you on that?
No I hadn’t read the book but when I read the script I knew immediately it was something I wanted to be apart of. It is a beautiful and important film and I’m so proud to be part of it.
Are there any actors or directors you particularly admire and who have influenced you?
That is a hard question but I guess going by what kind of films I love to watch then Mike Leigh, Lars von Trier, David Lean, Andrea Arnold and Danny Boyle come immediately to mind. I guess what I love about all of their work is how brave it is. In terms of actors, Juliette Binoche is just incredible. Everything she does rings true and her emotional honesty on screen is second to none.
How did you get into acting?
It was something I had wanted to do from a young age, but I actually didn’t pursue it seriously until I had left university.
Are there any types of roles/characters you’d be interesting in tackling next?
I’m open to offers but definitely more comedy would be great. I don’t often get the chance to flex my ‘funny-bones’ so a tad more would be lovely.
What do you have coming up?
ACROSS THE RIVER is continuing to gather momentum and has been officially selected for Blue Whiskey Film Festival in Chicago in August, as is the short film FOR MY NEXT TRICK which I am also in. Mum’s List, with Rafe Spall and Emilia Fox is just out on DVD as is BBC One Of Us. CALEB is another lovely short film that is gathering lots of recognition on the festival circuit plus there is a super project that I can’t talk about yet but hopefully will be able to soon. I wrote and directed my first film recently called THE ANGEL OF HULL so I am busy with the post-production on that too.
Across the River screens at the Blue Whiskey Independent Film Festival on August 7th.