Interview By Paul Salfen
For British-born actress Hermione Corfield, this is a strange time to break out. After appearing in smaller parts in massive films like Star Wars: The Last Jedi, xXx: Return of Xander Cage and Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation, the 26-year-old gets a high profile starring role in Sea Fever, just as the quarantine is beginning, giving her the first virtual red carpet premiere that would set the standard during the outbreak of the coronavirus. In the film, she plays Siobhan, marooned with a crew on a boat off of Ireland that has a deadly growing parasite in their water supply. Writer-director Neasa Hardiman recalls Alien and The Thing in this timely thriller on the water.
Leading up to the premiere, Corfield has been marooned herself away from everyone. She says of her quarantine, “I’ve been productive and creating a routine for myself, but I’m starting to get a bit cabin fever-ish”
AMFM Magazine: This movie couldn’t be more timely given the themes of quarantining, a growing virus, and what the right thing is to do to save the most people.
Hermione Corfield: Neasa (Hardiman, Director) predicted this with Bill Gates. They both knew. [Laughs]
AMFM: But don’t you think people will take this film differently?
HC: Definitely. I think the balance of the film with the otherworldly element that is happening anyway, I think people will take more notice of the science and the real threat of what it is to save the species.
AMFM: Then there’s the moral element of what’s worth doing during those times.
HC: Definitely. I think responsibility is a huge theme throughout it. Taking responsibility for ourselves, taking responsibility for others and for the rest of the world and that’s something that Neasa punts and tries to drive home to people. It’s not about you and this vote and this individual; it’s about what we could do to the rest of the world and what we could do to the creature. It’s not just about the human race, it’s about this rare species that hasn’t been discovered but it’s also about survival and discovery. That’s a huge theme.
AMFM: What was the set like? It seemed like it might be kind of claustrophobic? Or was it just fun?
HC: Yeah, I mean, it was small, the interior of the boat. It was measured and created to be the same to match the external shots so it was claustrophobic and it was small but it felt kind of like a play. You had to learn to use the space like you would in a play, which meant we all had to be very aware of each other and there had to be a great chemistry because of the space when shooting. So it created a nice family dynamic because we had to work in such close proximity.
AMFM: Was there a certain day, scene, or time you think you’ll always remember?
HC: Yeah, definitely. When we were all on the ship and had the big scenes together and the crew was so fun. There was a day where Dougray [Scott, co-star] incorporated the chocolate digestive into the scene and we’re all just eating chocolate digestive the rest of the day and it became a running joke to see who could eat the most digestives. Immediately you felt there was chemistry in the larger scenes and you knew this was going to work and it was going to be something good.
AMFM: And those special effects seemed really wild.
HC: Yeah, they were really fun. The tentacles and the suction-y things on the tentacles were all puppets and were things that were controlled by someone. If you put your finger towards it, it could actually grab your finger. Also, you have that goo coming out of the center and then the eye effect. Was quite gruesome and quite fun to play with as well.
AMFM: What was the first film that you saw that made you want to do this?
HC: That’s interesting. The first film I could ever think of watching was High Society with Grace Kelly. I can’t really pinpoint a moment where I saw a film and thought that’s what I wanted to do but films like Lost In Translation – Sofia Coppola is someone I really admired. But I think it started in theater and then I discovered a love for film. It’s a strange way to go around but I think that’s how it went.
AMFM: You’ve had an interesting career. What advice would you give to someone looking to get in the business?
HC: Trust your instinct on things, meet people that you really want to work with on things, keep in contact with them, and ask their advice, and definitely don’t be afraid to do that. Now I’ve asked about Neasa about directing because I’m interested in learning about everything and she’s so intro doing talking about it and that’s very important.
AMFM: What’s your Hail Mary Moment, the moment in your life or career where you just had to go for it and it worked out for you?
HC: That’s interesting. For a while I was juggling university and was studying English literature at UCL and balancing that with work and I had to make a decision to put that on hold for a bit because I was literally writing essays in my trailer and I had to tell myself, “Either I dive right in and commit to this or do one of the two if I want to do one of them well.” At that point, I knew that was the moment I had to ensure I was committing to what I really want to do right now.
AMFM: And now for a question I have to ask because it will never happen to me: what’s it like to have your own action figure and your own LEGO character?
HC: [Laughs] It’s really exciting. I’ve got a friend who collects them so I didn’t realize it was a thing until he sent me a picture of it, like “Look at this!” so that was really cool. I went to the Star Wars Celebration in Chicago and someone brought me one there and an A-Wing so now I’ve got those in my bedroom.
AMFM: What was it like to be on a set like that? Slightly different than this one I’d imagine.
HC: It was huge! It was a massive, massive set. It was cool. I got to watch some of the filming of the other stuff. Rian [Johnson, director] got me to watch a little bit before filming so I got to do that and it was just amazing. It was vast and surreal seeing the ships and the sets you grew up seeing.
AMFM: Now that we’re seeing you headline, we’re excited to see what’s next. What will we see you in soon?
HC: After Sea Fever, I have a TV show coming out in May. I don’t know what’s going on in terms of the world but that should be coming out soon, which is a crime thriller about a policeman and a policewoman going up to this pair and I’m one of the pair and it’s a girl who’s described as a free spirit but I think she’s a bit more than that. She doesn’t play by the rules and she basically befriends an ex-child soldier seeking asylum in the UK and basically convinces him to carry out a number of things, including crimes.
Sea Fever is available on VOD now.