SKSM: Could you start with telling me a little bit about yourself? Who are you and what do you do?
Leona Clarke: Hello! I’m Leona. I’m half dutch, middle child in a big crazy family (crazy in a good way of course) and I not only love acting for the joy it brings me, I want to also use it to one day pursue my plans of making this world a better place.
SKSM: When did you know you wanted to become an actress?
Leona Clarke: When I was about three years old. I used to put on shows for my family; I’d make special invites on pieces of paper with a date and a time for when they had to attend. The shows would be in our living room, where I’d set out my little china tea cups for “my guests”, pour cold tea out of my little china teapot (I was three – I didn’t know how to make tea) and I’d dance / sing / act out scenes that I’d been practicing for weeks right on our living room table.
SKSM: How did you become involved in All That You Love Will Be Carried Away Dollar Baby film?
Leona Clarke: I saw a post about auditions on Facebook and I got in touch with Hendrik directly through his production company expressing my interest. I booked an audition which led to a second audition and I was then offered the role of Mary.
SKSM: What do you think it is about the story that attracts people so much?
Leona Clarke: I think the fact that it’s based upon a short story by Stephen King is a major draw in for a lot of people. It’s also based on fairly relatable subjects; touching on depression, suicidal thoughts and real life struggles.
SKSM: Did you have to audition for the part or was it written directly for you?
Leona Clarke: It was definitely written directly for me. Hendrik just didn’t know that yet 😉 Only joking, I had to audition twice.
SKSM: You worked with Hendrik Harms on this film, how was that?
Leona Clarke: It was brilliant. The great thing about working with Hendrik is that he values everyone else’s opinion as much as his own. There is such a sense of it being a team achievement that makes you even more proud of the outcome. Hendrik is a fantastic director as well as being an incredibly talented writer and he is definitely someone I hope to work with on many more productions.
SKSM: Was there any funny or special moment when they made the movie that you would like to tell me about?
Leona Clarke: There was loads! It was honestly one of the best weeks of my life. The memories we made outside of set as well as on set are second to none.
SKSM: Do you still have any contact with the crew/cast from that time? If so with who?
Leona Clarke: With pretty much all of them. They’re such a brilliant bunch and it seems we’ve all made friends for life. We’ve all got a group chat too in which we like to send frequent loving abuse as well as funny memes.
SKSM: What are you working on nowadays?
Leona Clarke: I start working on two big feature films next year which I’m very excited for – I’ll be playing a heavily pregnant girl going through the wars in a horrific car accident in a film called “Faith”, as well as playing a homeless girl who turns into a world champion boxer in “The Knockout”. Both very demanding roles to say the least – my favourite kind!
SKSM: Are you a fan of Stephen King’s work?
Leona Clarke: Yes. I absolutely love his work. Shawshank Redemption is one of my favourite films and it was amazing to find out that was also an adaptation through Stephen’s Dollar Baby scheme. It’s so nice to see someone of such stature putting a helping hand out to others. Although I have a little confession… I am terrified of clowns, so I haven’t been able to bring myself to watch “IT” yet…
SKSM: What is one thing people would be surprised to know about you?
Leona Clarke: I’m a massive softie. I got all emotional at the Nationwide bank advert where the guy loses his scarf that his dad gave him and then it gets found and returned to him… I think that says it all!
SKSM: Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions. Is there anything you want to say to the fans that read this interview?
Leona Clarke: Thanks for having me. I just hope that they love it as much as we loved creating it – it’s such a good story with a brilliant twist at the end that’ll really get ya. Keep an eye on the scribblings…
SKSM: Do you like to add anything else?
Leona Clarke: Keep being awesome. And remember – everything happens for a reason. Trust in that, smile and always focus on the reasons to be happy! Life is too short to be anything else.