Alfie Allen: “It’s a form of torture every night”
Mr. Allen, what is it like getting naked for an audience?
(Laughs) Getting naked in theater, I think, is different than doing so on film. I know a lot of people say the other way around — but I’m actually more comfortable undressing in the theater, on the stage.
I don’t know. I guess because — although in a theater like the Trafalgar Studios it would be a bit different because the audience is right there, but on most stages I performed on when I was in Equus, you just couldn’t see anyone in the audience. I think it was totally relevant to the play; it was needed in order to show how vulnerable my character was at that point in the play… So overall, it was actually kind of liberating.
Lily James: “You’re at the mercy of circumstance”
Ms. James, how do you usually feel the night before your first day on set?
It’s weird because I’m not that nervous anymore. I don’t stay up all night getting nervous about work. I do get frightened of not being good enough. I’ll get quite anxious after days where I’ve had a big emotional scene, I worry that I haven’t given enough or I get frightened that I haven’t been true enough. So that’s a kind of fear that lasts pretty much the whole shoot. But it’s doesn’t make me nervous, weirdly — except in auditions.
Do you still audition?
I still audition but it’s done in a different way. It’s like I meet the director now and we talk about the role. There are less of those relentless, open call ranks… What I really love is when you’re in an audition or the first day on a film set where you’re like, “Hi, pleased to meet you and I’m proposing to you today,” and you’ve literally never met them before. (Laughs) I’m quite used to being flung into a false intimacy with someone on set. I like when things are a bit more relaxed because that’s when I’m a bit better I think. Like, if I audition and I don’t know the scenes well, I’m accidentally funny, or I do more of what you can’t do when you’re actually working.