British actress Isabella Blake-Thomas, currently living in America, has been busy writing and starring in many films alongside a music career, having recently released her debut single Blame in February this year. The award-winning actress can soon be seen in her upcoming film Maybe I’m Fine where she plays one of the lead characters, Sam Childs. Taking a break from her busy schedule, Isabella answered our questions about her writing career, the upcoming film Maybe I’m Fine and what she’ll be doing for the rest of the year.
What can you tell us about upcoming feature film Maybe I’m Fine?
Maybe I’m Fine is a road trip story about a father-daughter relationship. I starred in the movie with Rob Mayes, Kelly Sullivan, Flex Alexander and Charlie Wright. I had a great time on set with such a fantastic cast. We travelled from LA to San Francisco, but a little secret is that the actors never did the trip, the cars did with the crew, we shot interiors as if driving. I actually forgot this and when I was watching it I suddenly remembered we weren’t actually moving. Rob was also such fun to shoot with. We laughed every day!
How would you describe your character Sam Childs?
She’s a teenage girl who is misunderstood. Her parents are divorced but she doesn’t have a great relationship with her dad. She loves art and music and thoroughly hates her theatre camp that she is sent to. She has to spend a few days with her father and really doesn’t want to. But it’s a better choice than camp. So, after they experience life-changing situations, Sam warms to her dad. It’s a lovely story.
Was it a fun movie to film?
It really was. I loved being on set because we had some great laughs. The crew was wonderful as well as the cast. I really enjoyed being able to see a song that I had written performed in the film. The crew are also like family as I’ve worked with them on six films. So it’s one happy family.
What audience do you think it will appeal to?
Anyone of any age. It’s a family movie for ages twelve upwards. But anyone will enjoy it.
How different is Maybe I’m Fine to your other projects?
It’s different in that I played a loved young girl in this movie. In a lot of the productions I play an unloved, neglected young girl who doesn’t have a family, which is quite the contrast to my actual life. It was also a film for adults as opposed to just children. I enjoyed playing my age and playing a character based on me and my life.
You also co-wrote the film, how long was it from the start of the writing process to the end of filming?
The script was written over a period of five months and then shot in two weeks. Post-production, all the stuff to make the picture look and sound good, took another five months. So it’s a year-long process.
How did Pretty Outrageous come about and what was it like on set?
It was such fun acting with all of my friends. Because I sing and act, we thought it would be great to create a film where I could do both. Once a script was written, we planned everything and started shooting. We actually created the name of the band which is the name of the movie on set!
One of your early roles was playing Violet Elizabeth in the TV series Just William alongside Daniel Roche, what can you remember from this role?
I remember being covered in fake mud made from oats, honey and dye. It attracted the wasps as we were filming in a wood and I got stung! Ouch! I loved the Just William series before I booked the show so being able to play my favourite character was crazy cool! Saying the famous line “I’ll scream and scream and scream until I’m sick” was a great moment as well. When Martin Jarvis sat in the room to narrate, I said to him, “you sound just like you do on the story CDs”. He is wonderful and I see him regularly in LA.
What was your first TV appearance and can you tell us about it?
My first TV appearance was a show called The Green Balloon Club in the UK. I was four years old and had never acted before. I was on the show for three years before it ended. It was a show about the environment and it taught kids to recycle and help the earth. I was the presenter and I was also the youngest. We shot every weekend so the other kids didn’t miss school. We travelled to Belfast Zoo and the Island of Arran in Scotland.
Have you always been interested in writing productions?
I think a part of me has always loved to tell stories and writing just came as the next stage. I was fortunate enough to have written a movie that was shot in 2016. It was called The League of Legend Keepers: Shadows. It’s currently out for distribution.
What film would you say has been the easiest to write?
I don’t think any movie is particularly easy to write but I know that the scripts that come easiest to me are the ones that are based on my real life experiences.
Would you like to write a stage musical?
I would absolutely love to. I’ve loved musicals for as long as I can remember. I’ve seen the musical Wicked four times, I’ve seen The Addams Family, Matilda, Hamilton and many more.
You have so many projects you have worked on recently, and are currently working on, how do you find time to fit it all in?
I guess it helps having a great mum who supports me through everything. She’s the reason I’m as grounded as I am. I also make the most of each day. I go to the gym then work on my projects and auditions, or if I’m on set then that takes priority.
Which of your own projects will we be able to see in the UK?
All of them in the next year. A Halloween film for kids, a girl band movie and a rom-com. It takes time for things to come out.
You have previously won awards, what was this like?
It’s a dream come true. I have collected some awards during my time as an actress and each time they announce my name it’s a shock. A good shock. I never believe it could be me. It allows me to feel some validation for my work. That people have recognised what I’m doing and how I’ve put my life into that character.
Can you tell us about your debut single, Blame?
Since 2014 I’ve written many songs. In 2017, I decided to start recording them for other people to listen to. I never in a million years thought that so many people would listen to my song and buy it in the first twenty-four hours. It’s a song about someone feeling that they need to absorb the feelings of the loved one they sing about. Writing about my feelings allows you to grow and heal.
What is next for your music career?
I’m currently working on my next song for my EP and the music video for Blame. We film the video in a couple of weeks so it should be released in June/July. I’m very excited to share that as I have a wonderful actor playing opposite me.
We understand you are involved in charity work, can you tell us about this?
I run two charities. Somebodies Someone and World Onesie Day. It’s very important to me to give back. Somebodies Someone is about supporting someone in your community. It could be a homeless person or a young child or an old person. I have a neighbour who is 100 years old and I see her every day.
World Onesie Day is when I choose a charity and as many people as possible wear onesies for the day and donate $5 or £5 to that chosen charity.
What are your career plans for the rest of this year?
I currently have two movies lined up for the end of the year and anything else that pops up is welcome to my schedule. I finished writing the first draft of another feature a couple of weeks ago and I will be continuing to work on the story throughout the year. I fly a Cessna 172 so I’m training for my private pilots licence. I will pass my driving test in LA and I will be travelling lots.
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