PrintE-mail Written by Martin Unsworth

Over the past few years, POLLYANNA MCINTOSH has proven herself repeatedly as one of cinema's finest modern actors, not afraid to tackle challenging roles, be it feral in THE WOMAN, or chaining captive women for their milk in the short film THE HERD. Her latest film, WHITE SETTLERS, caused quite a stir during the build up to the Scottish referendum and is released on DVD on October 20th. STARBURST caught up with her to find out more...

STARBURST: Sarah in White Settlers is a very strong character; despite her early, completely natural, fears she’s very much the stronger half of the couple. How was that shoot for you?

Pollyanna McIntosh: It was a lot of fun; it was a pleasure to shoot - despite bruises, dirt and cold wet night shoots. I think it was more stunts than I’ve ever done before, and that really got me going ‘I wanna do more of this, more action-packed stuff’. Sarah’s a funny one, because she’s actually quite manipulative and needy. At the beginning, you see the power play between the couple and I thought that was really interesting. I played with that quite a bit, and like you say, she ends up being the provider, the fighter out of the two. Luckily, I had a great partner in Lee Williams playing my husband; he was willing to go the other way to show his vulnerability, so we had a good balance there. And yet he still holds up his end, especially at the beginning with the little fights we have and stuff.

As a ‘yes’ voter, what was your take on the furore that came afterwards?

It was hilarious! I thought it was kind of silly, to be honest. But I also respect publicity stunts that work and that really did. The only angry tweet I’ve ever had from anyone was from a yes voter saying, ‘How dare you use the referendum for your own self-publicising ways!’ I quite enjoyed it, I got into it. I know you’re not supposed to, but I’d say, ‘Excuse me! I’m sorry I didn’t know I wasn’t allowed to reference the referendum for my own country in any way I please.’ So yeah, I thought it was a bit odd really, but I understand why it was done and it worked. They got it in The Guardian, in The Scotsman; it got people aware that it was around. For me it was more about the haves and the have-nots than it was about the English and the scots. The bad guys in that movie to me are the banks; you just don’t have bankers running around in pig masks!

Being Scottish was there anything that you wanted to say, ‘Wait… hold on…’?

No, actually. Ian Fenton, the writer, is Scottish and he’d written a really tight script. I liked the questioning, ambiguous, elements to the script and I think a lot of people enjoyed that in the ending, for instance. There were moments when I seem to remember myself saying, ‘Oh you can’t do that because that will make them seem like good guys too much’ I didn’t want it to look like it was the bad guys we were supposed to root for, because despite them being the victims of the system, they can’t be made into heroes, considering what they do to the couple. But it was finely balanced in the end, I thought. As a Scot, the only thing that was particularly weird was once again playing an English person.

How’s Perfect, the screenplay you’ve been working on, coming along?

I’ve got a deadline for the end of October for the last draft of it. It looks like we’ve got a Scottish producer on board, as well as 2 Irish producers, so it’ll be another Scottish/Irish co-production. It’s a dark comedy about a comedienne. Despite suicide, premature birth and depression in it, it IS a comedy! It’s total Scottish gallows humour, and I’m really, really looking forward to directing because it’s a really personal story and I can see every frame so I can’t wait.

What’s next for you?
I’m doing Its Walls Were Blood with Steve Oram from Sightseers and Paul Davis, who I made Him Indoors with, is directing and writing my segment, because it’s a portmanteau Amicus-style horror. I get to play a vampire, and get to work with Steve who’s a fantastic actor, so I’m looking forward to that.

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WHITE SETTLERS is out on DVD on October 20th, and on VOD now. POLLYANNA also appears in the short film THE HERD and the feature LET US PREY, both of which are currently doing the festival circuit before general release. The full interview with POLLYANNA will appear in STARBURST MAGAZINE in the future.

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