Francesca Louise White is the lead actress and associate producer for ‘Dead Meet,’ an indie-action comedy short film. Francesca shares news on the film and her upcoming projects. Check out the interview below.
Hi, Francesca! Thank you for granting the interview. It is a pleasure to speak with you about your portfolio of work. You recently won ‘Best Actress in a Short’ award at Artemis ‘Women In Action’ Film festival in Beverly Hills, California, as well as ‘Best Performance’ award at STARBURST magazine’s Media City film festival. Tell us about your experience.
Surreal sums it up! Obviously, I didn’t get into acting to win awards but being recognized for my work was incredible and I’m hugely grateful to STARBURST, Artemis and all the filmmakers who have cast me. Daniel J. Brant who directed ‘Dead Meet’, which was the film for which I won both these awards, and the whole team involved worked their butts off and all share the awards with me: Emily Turton, Dean Williams, Dom Ellis, Reuben Williams, Graeme Rawson, Frankie Strange, Melanie Lindsey, Chris McGlynn, Richard Usher. Artemis ‘Women In Action’, founded by stuntwoman Melanie Wise, celebrates women who kick butt and the men who support/enable them to do so and accepting an award on stage in Beverly Hills – the same stage the like of such talented actresses as Ming-Na Wen and Michelle Rodriguez as well as stunt women who can and have kicked a hell of a lot more butt than I have such as Zoe Bell, Alicia Vela-Bailey, and Debbie Evans – was honestly the most inspiring experience of my life. I came away motivated through and through to work even harder, and I felt validated that I’m on the right path. STARBURST Media city film festival was actually before Artemis. I was completely thrown for a loop when they announced that I had won ‘Best Performance’ and hadn’t prepared anything to say…! I’ve been told by the Editor Jordan Michael Royce that my stuttering speech of a thousand ‘Thank you’s was endearing but I think he was just being nice!! Well, it definitely proves all those people who say they didn’t expect to win yet have a speech ready to whip out our big fat bluffers, I had nada!! Thoroughly enjoyed both festivals and will be a life-long supporter of each that’s for sure.
We see you’re starring in several projects that are in both pre and post-production. That’s awesome! We’re thrilled for you. Could you share a project you can speak about?
Thank you very much! Yes I’m currently working on and just about to start filming: a proof-of-concept short for an action horror feature called ‘Till Dark’ written by David Mansell. Thriller feature ‘Are You Watching Closely’ by Liam Thomas Burke for Recognition Pictures. Sci-fi thriller short ‘Companions’ by Will Dennings. Post-apocalyptic industrial western ‘The Flock’ by Andrew Griffin for Steamwork Films, which I’m both acting in and co-producing. And finally post-apocalyptic murder mystery ‘EMPunity’ by Rodeo Whiter for Rodeax. I’m thrilled to be involved and can’t wait to get started on all of them! And don’t worry I have strict instructions on what I’m allowed to reveal for each so I’ll hopefully only mention enough to whet your appetite as it were, no spoilers!
What should the audience expect?
In ‘Till Dark’ dark witty humor from David’s script, well-choreographed action scenes by martial artist Scott Witham and beautifully shot and thought-provoking cinematography from Mark Caldwell. It’s a new take on a familiar subject: vampires and immortality.
In ‘Are You Watching Closely’ you should expect suspense, twists and complex characters. Liam the Director is also a DoP so striking shots, and brilliant acting from Pablo Raybould as Frank and Ben Manning as Dave.
In ‘Companions’ you should expect existential and moral questions and thoughts being provoked; wonderfully cerebral science fiction. Will’s concept is intelligent and enthralling. Chris Clynes as Julian and Becki Loyd as Margot as the faces of humanity and technological future. Chills are a certainty.
In ‘The Flock’, the audience should expect thrills from our action, potential controversy what with a particular religious aspect, and a gripping script from Director/Scriptwriter Andrew. Our DoP Alex Powell and actors Ben Manning as Abel and Tiana Rogers as Vera will keep you absorbed in our brutal post-apocalyptic world.
And finally, in ‘EMPunity’ the audience should expect real and relatable characters in a terrifyingly possible future. It takes place after the technology has broken down and explores how humanity copes with this and without organized society. Rodeo and Dan Lee are multi-talented filmmakers and are aiming to give a percentage of profits to charity which is something I’ve always wanted to be able to do; directly give back from my acting. Candice Palladino, Kieron Tufft, Stine Olsen, Itoya Osagiede and Matthew John Son have all been cast too and I truly can’t wait to film.
What has the feedback been, thus far?
We just shot the blocking tape for ‘Till Dark’ and the feedback has been positive, about which I’m happy and relieved – Scott and I choreographed outside of scheduled rehearsal time with the Director and DoP so I’m glad we imagined it in the same way David and Mark did.
The table-read for ‘Companions’ went well and I believe Will has pleased with the chemistry between our three main characters which were something he was particularly aware of when casting; that we knew and/or had worked with each other prior so it was natural, real and tangible.
We just went on a location recce for ‘The Flock’ at Dungeness which is the most ‘post-apocalyptic’ area of the UK, they’ve shot quite a few films there. I think the test footage Griff released and photos have started getting people excited about the look and feel of our film from the feedback so that’s great.
I’m fortunate to I have a lot of supporters keen to keep an eye on my work and share their thoughts, which is truly invaluable in this industry. Thank you, everyone!
What has been your biggest takeaway in your career, thus far?
Determination and persistence are more important than talent. To quote my all-time favorite movie ‘Galaxy Quest’ “never give up, never surrender”! If you want it enough you can make it happen. Keep working and don’t worry about not pleasing everyone; the latter is impossible.
How important is it for an actor to expand their portfolio?
I guess that depends on if you mean a portfolio of roles; variety is the spice of life and all that jazz. Or if you mean in terms of taking on pursuits like writing, producing or directing and making your own roles and films. Personally, I try to choose a completely different role and genre from the last one I’ve played simply because I find it interesting and more challenging as an actress; researching, training up and full understanding a completely different person from the last. But then I understand how it is useful, particularly for those in control of the pennies to KNOW an actor can successfully play a certain type of person and people will want to see her or him in those roles; they’ll get their money back at the end of it. And this is a business at the end of the day, no matter the creativity involved. This all being said I don’t think many actors would choose to keep taking on the same kind of work, same kind of roles beyond a point else they wouldn’t have become an actor. And with that in mind, it’s extremely important to expand your portfolio.
I think writing, producing and directing are all great ways of keeping creative and telling the stories you want to be telling during lulls or if they simply aren’t being offered to you for whatever reason, e.g you haven’t played that kind of person before. So, again, very very important from that angle. If you’re getting enough diversity and simply don’t have the desire to pursue these sides of the industry, however, I understand that too; they are all time consuming and require skills that not everyone possesses. I have a lot of respect for Scriptwriters, Producers and Directors and the amount of work required to do each these careers justice!
If you could choose a role to play, what would it be and why?
Hmm… a complex woman in a fantastical setting generally… someone challenging and for whom I need to research and expand my knowledge/training, and in a concept which inspires my imagination. Though there are a few specifics that come straight to mind too: Serafina Pekkala in Philip Pullman’s ‘His Dark Materials’, Feyre in Sarah J Maas ‘A Court of Thorns and Roses’ or Kate Daniels in Ilona Andrews’ ‘Kate Daniels’ series. I would love to play an inspiring non-fictional woman also; the challenge is entirely different when you’re embodying someone everyone recognizes, who really lived.
Thus far, what has been the best experience working in the industry?
Playing mysterious “The Lady” in upcoming television pilot ‘The Seeing’, directed by Aoife O’Kelly, written and produced by Peter Slucock and Maxine de Vere. It actually snowed unexpectedly and we had a couple of outdoor scenes to shoot which was challenging but I genuinely loved working on it. Everyone was so professional, talented and easy to get along with. Peter’s character history for The Lady was written as though it was a piece from a journal, with references and quotes through history; something the like of a ‘Grimm’ journal from the namesake series, or The Watchers’ journals in ‘Buffy The Vampire Slayer’. My costume was AWESOME too, I do love to dress up (you wouldn’t have guessed from my career choice, would you?!). I had a lot of fun with that – fantasy and sci-fi are my not-so-secret favorite genres to read, watch and in which to act – and the physicality of my character. I can’t wait to share that with people and all my limbs are firmly crossed it gets picked up as it deserves it.
Do you have any upcoming projects that we haven’t mentioned?
I play Gemma Carter in thriller feature ‘King of Crime’ directed by Matt Gambell, written and Produced by Linda and Peter Dunscombe for Springbean and Buster Boo Productions will have a limited cinematic release this coming September so please do watch! It stars Claire King (Coronation Street and Emmerdale) and Mark Wingett (Quadrophenia and The Bill), and Nicholas Brendon (Xander in Buffy The Vampire Slayer). I hope everyone enjoys watching it as much as I enjoyed working on it!
Complete this sentence, if I had an opportunity to do anything I want, I would ___________.
First and foremost: I would act multi-faceted interesting women in films which inspire and connect with people worldwide. I would travel all over in order to film these films and properly portray different cultures, backgrounds, and experiences. I would own a production company, hire all my good friends who have well and truly paid their dues and deserve great work and adapt all my favorite books into films, do them justice! A few sentences of answers there!!
Thank you very much for your interest in my career Occhi Magazine!
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Featured Image Credit: Mark Caldwell Photography.