British-born actress Eleanor Worthington-Cox made her film debut in Disney’s Maleficent, playing an 8-year old version of Princess Aurora. From there, she delved mainly into television work, including roles in Cucumber and Hetty Feather. She takes on the titular role of Gwen in a new period drama-thriller film coming to theaters, On Demand, and Digital on August 16 from RLJE Films.
World Film Geek had the opportunity to talk to Worthington-Cox about her latest and perhaps, breakout film role.
Thank you so much Eleanor for talking about Gwen. I recently saw the film and I was quite intrigued with how the film came out and you gave an excellent performance in it.
Thank you so much! I’m excited to hear that.
What attracted to take the role of the titular Gwen?
I got the script a few months before we started shooting. I was just blown away from the moment I read it. There was nothing to detract me from getting on board. I remember going to the first meeting for it and I was so passionate about wanting to be a part of the film. It was all about Gwen’s story and it was so beautiful that I wanted to be a part of it from day one.
For those who are interested in the film, describe Gwen in your own words.
Gwen is the story of a young woman who is trying to keep her family together in a patriarchal community who is encroaching on their land and also dealing with the horrors of nature. There are plenty of things going around the house that can’t quite be explained. There is a fine line between whether it is man or nature causing these things.
You had some nice chemistry with Maxine Peake, who plays your mom. What was it like working with her? Did she help you in terms of how to bring out your role?
Maxine is and always will be a role model for women everywhere and I couldn’t have been luckier to work with a highly acclaimed actor. She was such a pleasure to work with. To be able to build that complicated and special form of relationship and I never felt luckier. In terms of learning from her, stoicism more than anything, being able to deal with these hard and difficult conditions or having 70 mph winds, it was always how to work with that and it was incredible to work with her.
The film was the feature film debut of writer/director William McGregor. What was it like working with him?
Honestly, he is one of the most freeing directors I’ve ever worked with. And the fact that he wrote the film as well, it’s quite unusual for someone to give you that amount of responsible and trust to allow you to create that character in the film. It was really invaluable, and I was so proud to be able to create this character and bring his vision to life. It was such a pleasure to work by his side.
What would you consider your favorite scene of the film, perhaps in terms of shooting?
My gosh! I don’t think there’s any particular scene that stood out for me, but shooting there were some I did feel we did a great job. Like the scene in church, we were shooting with 70 MPH winds outside so we had to film in natural light. There were scenes we shot that didn’t make the final film, like a scene where we shot on the side of the mountain and we see the sunrise. I thought that was beautiful.
If I had to pick my favorite scene to shoot, it was at 3 in the morning, getting pelted in the face by a blizzard outside with a lantern. That was the most atmospheric challenging scene that I ever did in my life. And the best thing was that there were no special effects. This was pure blizzard pelting into my face. At that moment, I knew it was quite special. I mean where else at 2 in the morning do you shoot this scene with the blizzard with a crew around you who love what they are doing.
I totally agree, and I feel like that scene alone shows how dedicated you are and the fact that it was real. That’s something that this movie could be known for, its sense of realism.
Completely. It tranforms you, makes you feel like you’re part of the landscape. Just so much close to your character and the headpace that young women would have experienced in the 1800s. And if you feel that same conditions, it is all in your reaction in what’s going around you. Some might take it as a negative. They will say “It’s -17 degrees, it’s freezing!” No, we chose to see it as something special and strange. It gave the film another layer of depth and realism.
Finally, are there any new projects in the works that you can talk about?
There is a series I am proud to be doing. It’s called Brittania. We are in our second season and it will air on Sky Atlantic. I can’t wait for the public to see it!
Excellent! Gwen is coming to theaters, On Demand, and Digital on August 16. Anyone who loves a good period piece with some great twists will want to see it, especially because I feel this could be a breakout film role for you. Thank you again Eleanor for talking about the film.
Thank you so much!
A Special Thank You goes to Katrina Wan PR and Eleanor Worthington-Cox for making this interview possible.