Following her big break as Arya Stark on HBO's GAME OF THRONES, Maisie Williams is quickly earning her place among the most successful young actresses working in showbiz. Williams recently sat down with STARBURST to discuss her new film, HEATSTROKE, a thriller about a hyena specialist who embarks on an expedition with his daughter and his girlfriend that goes terribly wrong. During this short but revealing interview, Williams spoke openly about her role, what it was like working with hyenas on set, and how GAME OF THRONES made her life a bit different…
STARBURST: What challenges did filming Heatstroke present for you that you didn't experience while filming some of your other projects?
Maisie Williams: A lot of things! Being in South Africa, working with the hyenas, working on a movie after working on a series, were all a different experiences.
The hyenas are a big part of the film, what was it like working with these animals?
Yeah, working with hyenas was a completely different experience, and not something you come across every day. Working with the wolves on Game of Thrones was similar, but they were more domestic, tame almost. But you can't really tame a hyena, so yeah, it was something that was really different.
What similarities, if any, have you noticed between Arya in Game of Thrones, and Josie, your character in Heatstroke?
They both make a huge change from the start to the end. They don't realise what they've got until it's gone. There's the whole thing about losing family as well, and not realising how happy they were until they've lost all that and they're completely on their own. That's probably the biggest similarity between the two.
So what would you say sets Heatstroke apart from other films of its kind or its genre?
The good guy doesn't win. The main character is lost within the first 30 minutes or so. And I like that. It's unpredictable.
What do you want viewers to take away from watching this film? Any lessons or themes you want them to catch?
I think if you're ever in a situation where you hate the person you're thrown in with, you learn to put that behind you to save yourself and the other person. Also, how you react to being in a desperate situation and realise how childish you were being.
What would you say was the highlight of filming this movie for you? Any on set happenings that jumped out at you as really fun or memorable?
The hyenas. You don't even see hyenas in a zoo. They're completely foreign to us. The last time I saw a hyena in a movie was in The Lion King and that was animated! They're completely different animals that we don't encounter every day. You don't see that on a film set.
So, let's talk about your character, Josie. She's a rebellious, somewhat detached teenager who is having a tough time with her dad. Do you relate to that rebellious, detached, kind of distant teenage phase?
Not really. I'm the youngest of four, so I kind of got that. But for most of my adolescence I've been in Game of Thrones, so I've experienced a very different world than normal teenagers. It's kind of hard to know how I'd react in normal teenager-y situations. But I can relate to how she was feeling. I could get that, but it doesn't necessarily mean I've been put in those situations.
HEATSTROKE is out now on DVD/Blu-ray in the US, and will be released later this year in the UK.
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