Currently, Louis Davison can be seen in BBC’s long-running drama Holby City in the recurring role of Parker Whitfield, having joined the cast at the end of last year. Louis played Victor in the 2016 feature film Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, which saw him work with special effects, and he was directed by Tim Burton. Previously having theatre experience, Louis has performed in Richard the Third in the West End alongside Martin Freeman, and he receives ongoing training from The Orange Tree Youth Theatre in Richmond, and has recently been accepted into the National Youth Theatre. We talked to Louis about filming for Holby City as Parker Whitfield, playing Victor in Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children and how he prepares for auditions.
You play Parker Whitfield in Holby City, what’s it like on set of the show and how did you book the role of Parker?
The BBC asked me in to audition. Being on set is great. Apart from the regular actors, there are also guest actors every week so you get to do scenes with new people all the time. The same with different directors for each episode. I come in and out but it films in London, which is why I have been able to do it whilst I am still at school.
Do you watch Holby City and how is it watching yourself on TV?
Yes, it is strange but I am learning a lot from being in front of a camera, which is why it’s important that I watch it. It’s very quick and different to film.
Last year, you could be seen in Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children as Victor, what was it like to film and how was it working with special effects?
It was amazing going to Shepperton Studios and having a cast made of my face. They then took images of me with many cameras all pointing at my face at different angles for the eye effect. Filming was exciting, the sets were fantastic, and so much time and care went into each shot. The scene with Finlay (MacMillan) taking out my heart, and when the blood spurted out, was meticulously planned. It looked so real.
How long were you working on the film?
Off and on, from when I was cast, wardrobe fittings, special effects preparation, and rehearsals with the choreographer, about two-and-a-half months.
Are you still in contact with any of your fellow co-stars and who were you closest to on set?
No, I went back to school to finish my A-Levels but I hope I will meet some of them in the future. I was closest to Hayden (Keeler-Stone). He was a similar age to me, and also doing his exams and trying to fit it in around filming.
What was it like meeting Tim Burton (director) and Ransom Riggs (writer of the books) for the first time and had you read any of the Miss Peregrine’s novels before filming started?
Exciting. A really good experience. They were very friendly. It was a fantastic opportunity to work with Tim Burton as he’s such an iconic director. I hadn’t read the books before I was cast, but I have enjoyed them since.
What is your favourite Tim Burton film to watch?
We understand you’ve performed in theatre before, would you like to return to the stage and how different do you find it to screen work?
Yes, I would love to do more theatre work. I was in Richard the Third in the West End starring Martin Freeman. I was playing Prince Edward. We did it for four months and it was never the same two nights running. I like the idea that you have so many times to keep trying to get it right!
How did you get into acting and have you ever attended acting school?
No, but I am part of The Orange Tree Youth Theatre in Richmond. That’s how I got the job on Miss Peregrine’s. I have also been part of the National Theatre Connection’s festival, and I have been accepted by the NYT and looking forward to that.
I got into acting through being involved in school plays. My English teacher cast me in a play as part of The School’s Shakespeare Festival and my drama teacher then asked me to join the school drama club.
Were your parents supportive of you becoming an actor?
At first, they were worried, they know how hard it is, but as time has gone on they have been very supportive.
How do you typically prepare for auditions?
Learn my lines, make sure I read the whole play or the script, and the book if it’s a script based on that and get a good night’s sleep.
Is there an actor you would most like to work alongside and are there any TV shows that you would particularly love to get cast in?
James McAvoy. I have seen him in theatre but I also think his film work is brilliant. I would love to be in anything written by Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant. It’s so funny and tragic at the same time. I’m watching The Office again at the moment.
Do you have any projects coming up that you can tell us about and would you prefer to go more into TV or film in the future?
Either, it depends on the part. The National Youth Theatre is this summer. I also have more Holby City to film and my next episode will be shown in July.
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