Monday, 30 March 2015

Interview With Lori Campbell Hinterland

David Martin chats to Lori Campbell, who makes her onscreen debut playing Lola in the fantastic film Hinterland...

Hinterland is a film that will resonate with those of us who drifted around in our twenties with little or no understanding of who we were and our place in the worlds. I spent many a happy family holiday exploring the Cornish coastline and the many tea rooms and cafes that serve Cream Teas. Having spoken to Harry McQueen (and you can read that interview here) I was interested to hear what Lori Campbell had to say about the experience. Lori is a talented singer and songwriter who has recently wowed audiences whilst on tour with The Blockheads and is regularly to be found performing her repertoire on stage around the country. She is a hard working lady and I was honoured that she took time out from her busy schedule to talk to me about Hinterland. Having just released her first EP and had one of her songs featured in the film she is now focused on continuing her singing work but clearly loved filming Hinterland.

"Hi Lori, thank you so much for chatting to me today. I have to say that Hinterland is a perfect example of why I love Indie films so much. The intimacy and storytelling really was profound and I thoroughly enjoyed your portrayal of Lola. What are your memories of filming Hinterland?
Hi David and thank you for saying that. I am so glad you enjoyed what we did and Im really excited that the film is just about to be released. I filmed Hinterland about two years ago so its funny now going back and talking about it. But yes, it was a fantastic experience which was hard work but a wonderful project to be involved with. Harry was really great to work with and his direction and character was easy to improvise with. We workshopped the project for two months and the transition from that to filming seemed a really smooth one. Most of what you see is as a result of the work shopped experience and improvised whilst in front of the camera. Harry had scripted some of the dialogue, especially the scenes in which Lola is talking about her parents and also the fire side scene but the rest was really down to us exploring the childhood memories our characters had.

Lola is very different in character to Harvey isn't she? What did you draw on to bring out her free spiritness?

Ha ha, yes she is and there actually is a lot of me with her as well. She is still very much a character but I share some of free spirit and emotional intensity along with some of her experiences. The fact that Harvey is very much the planned and organised one of the two meant that there were clear differences on screen. I think he really was trying to understand her and what she was going through whilst clearly having deeper feelings for her. Harry is great at developing really intimate scenes within Hinterland without it feeling forced or made up. The road trip element of the film where we are travelling to Cornwall was very natural and I felt the moments where I was playing my guitar didn't detract from that. It wasn't like I was performing one of my songs which would have just felt really odd, there were little extracts. I tend to take my guitar where ever I go so it felt perfectly normal for me to be picking out a tune while he drove.

Watching the film, it felt like you had known Harry for years and that you had actually been childhood friends. How did you get involved with the project?

Thank you, its great that the natural closeness we were aiming for really does come across. I think its something you cant make up and onscreen chemistry is either there or it isn't. Harry was chatting about his plans for the film with Rosie Morris, who was the Costumer on Hinterland, and what he was looking for with the person who played Lola. Rosie is an old friend and I went to college with her, she very quickly realised that Harry was describing me. I was in France at the time and got a call to come over for dinner when I could, i thought i was being interviewed to provide the films musical score. Harry told me at some point during the evening that he wanted me to play Lola but in my mind it was a few days later.

The song you wrote and performed during the pivotal fire side was so emotional and perfectly worked with the scene. Can you tell me more about the song?

Thank you and actually the strange thing about the song was it was written 1 week before I had even heard of Hinterland. September is song that features on my E.P and there is another verse that doesn't feature in the film. It does go really well with the close intimacy of the scene and underlines the heartbreak that Harvey is going through. It was one of those weird sort of co incidences that just worked out in the most amazing way. Filming that scene really early in the morning in the freezing cold added some believability to the cuddling and warming by the fire. It was a hard scene to film but the end result is really great. We filmed a few different takes and in one of the ones that isn't the final cut Harvey actually walked off, saying nothing after Lola says she isn't looking for love right now. I think it works better that he doesn't walk off angry and kind of internalised his emotion.

The bath scene after such an emotionally intense one really works well to lighten the atmosphere. I loved the way that Harry wrote it so it is still intimate but isn't sexual.

The bath scene was a lot of fun to film. We had both agreed to bring in one prop that the other one didn't know about and then improvise around it. Harry brought a garden gnome in, which was an odd experience and I brought in the glass cider bottle with what looked like cider in it. When he drank out of it he had no idea what actually was in it, it was a concoction of whisky, Earl Gray tea and Apple Juice. When the scene had been shot he turned around and asked me "what the hell was in it that bottle"

The final scenes back in London show a change in both Lola and Harvey don't they?
yes they were both effected by the time in Cornwall but in different ways. Lola wants to continue travelling and I really don't see how that would entirely change but she also realises that Harvey provides some order and calmness to her as well. Harvey probably has gone off travelling but Id like to think they meet up later along their journey.

Has acting in Hinterland given you any desire to take part in more projects like this?

If an opportunity came up Id love to have a look at it. Its something I loved being a part of and would really like to see what happens, I felt at ease in front of the camera and it was a very natural performance. It will be interesting to see what happens once Hinterland is released.

Well thanks again Lori, it really has been a pleasure chatting with you. Hinterland is a wonderful film that deserves to be seen by a wide audience. 

Thank you David its been great to talk about Hinterland

Hinterland is released On Demand today

You can check out more of Lori's work including the full version of September on her website

Images from Hinterland and Lori Campbell

David Martin is a firm believer in wider reading but also spends his time watching horror films and going to the theatre. He has been known to venture outside but prefers worlds he can imagine. Follow him on Twitter at @ventspleen2014

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