An archive of interviews, reviews, features, news stories, etc. for the Nottingham 'Evening' Post dating back to 1993
Search This Blog
Major box office hits starring the likes of Benedict Cumberbatch, Keira Knightley, Reese Whitherspoon and Ben Affleck are in the running for the National Film Awards 2015... and then there’s Echo, a short film made in Nottingham.
“The director came to the Television Workshop to cast the film and liked the intimacy of the city, so decided to do it here,” says Lauren Carse, who stars as 17-year-old schoolgirl Caroline in the 15 minute film.
The 23-year-old from Wollaton, who has been training at Nottingham’s renowned acting school since she was 11, is seen taking a call on her mobile, becoming distressed at some apparent bad news about her dad being in a motorbike accident.
“It’s based on a true story,” says Lauren.
“The writer James Walker actually saw it happen.”
Echo director Lewis Arnold, who came to the city to cast the film, takes up the story:
“She was so upset by the news suddenly people were drawn to help her, giving her money and getting her en route to the hospital. About a month or so later James saw the same girl doing the exact same call again. It was a scam.”
On casting Lauren he says: “We knew how much the film relied on finding a girl who could naturally deliver the emotional stakes of the piece. Those nerves disappeared as soon as we saw Lauren Carse.”
Lauren drew on a personal experience to get into character.
“I had a similar phone call when I was younger,” says Lauren, who has also appeared in Casualty, Doctors and the Nottingham-set BBC drama Truckers.
“I was at my friend’s house and I was on the phone to my mum asking to sleep over. She was trying to tell me to come home because a member of my family wasn’t well. It took a while for me to realise it was a lot more serious than I initially thought. That was really scary and I drew on that experience.”
It’s the kind of method or truthful acting that she learned at the Television Workshop.
So convincing was her apparent distress, many people interrupted filming to check if she was OK.
“It was when the camera was on a wide shot and it wasn’t obvious we were being filmed, people came up to me and wanted to take me to the hospital or were minding my possessions that I’d thrown on the floor. That was really reassuring. Good on you Nottingham”.
Other locations include King Street, Wheeler Gate and the Old Market Square, where Lauren, is seen with her on-screen brother, played by Newark teenager Oliver Woollford, who last year had a role in ITV drama DCI Banks.
Echo was shot almost three years ago and has since been screened at festivals across the world.
Says Lauren: “It’s already won an award but that was around a year ago; we’re still getting recognition for it.”
Director Lewis Arnold went on to work on TV dramas Misfits, Humans and Russell T Davies’ Banana, which starts on E4 in January and features Lauren.
“I play an antagonist for the main character; it’s only a small role but I’m excited to be part of something that I think will be brilliant,” says the former Fernwood Comprehensive pupil.
Her mum and dad met at Boots in Nottingham. Dad, from Belfast, is retired and mum, from Bulwell, is a dental receptionist. Brother Jonathan, 25, works for Nestle.
“I always wanted to do acting,” she says.
“The first I had with the Workshop when I was 11 was a violin playing prostitute,” she laughs.
“It was in Measure For Measure at the Galleries of Justice. (Workshop director) Ian Smith phoned me up and asked ‘Do you know what a prostitute is?’ I didn’t!”
The violin playing came from joining Nottingham Music School.
“I was also doing netball, karate, athletics, guides... my mum and dad spent all their time ferrying me around,” says Lauren, who last year moved to London and is now represented by United Agents.
The National Film Awards ceremony takes place in London on March 31. And she can expect to see fellow Workshop graduate Jack O'Connell there. The star of Angelina Jolie’s hit movie Unbroken has been nominated for his role in ‘71.
“I was in a play with Jack at the National Theatre when I was 14, one of two plays I did there with the Workshop,” she says.
Dame Judi Dench will be at the awards to pick up a Lifetime Achievement Award. Nominees include Ben Affleck, Keira Knightley, Benedict Cumberbatch, Imelda Staunton,
Michael Fassbender, Reese Witherspoon and Jamie Foxx.
Winners are decided by public vote. To vote for Echo visit nationalfilmawards.co.uk/vote-now.