With already appearing in many popular TV shows and films since the start of her career, Eloise Webb has among her roles played young Ella in the live-action Disney release of Cinderella in 2015. Eloise this year could be seen on our screens in the TV mini-series Innocent alongside Lee Ingleby and Adrian Rawlins and also made an appearance in an episode of True Horror. Chatting to the young actress recently, she tells us about the mini-series Innocent, working alongside the cast and crew of Cinderella and recording for video games.
How long were you filming for Innocent and can you tell us about the series and your character Rosie?
I filmed Innocent over one summer and it was truly one of the most amazing summers of my life. I got to live in Ireland for six weeks with such talented co-workers. My character, Rosie, was very different to me; she is shy, quiet and is still trying to work out who she is as her world falls to pieces. I loved that for five hours a day I could be someone so different to myself!
Was there anything in particular that drew you to this role?
Although she wasn’t a particularly charismatic character, I loved Rosie’s silent bravery and commitment to her family, especially her brother, whilst her life was becoming a complex tangle of dangerous people and relationships. I really had to focus on putting myself in her shoes…
How different was this project to your previous jobs?
Innocent took a while to film and we lived in a seaside hotel during that time, which meant you could bump into the other actors and crew after work. I suppose that brought everyone closer making it so much easier to act the scenes together.
What was it like filming for True Horror?
It was bizarre to see how scary the scenes looked after they had been edited together – they had actually been the funniest things to film. Who would have known that being dragged into a wall by an evil spirit could be so much fun?
You played young Ella in the 2015 Disney release of Cinderella, who did you get chance to work with?
I had the amazing opportunity to play alongside the beautiful, talented Lily James and Richard Madden. They made it all such a magical experience and even walked me along the red carpet at the premiere (although, actually, the carpet was blue)! Hayley Atwell and Ben Chaplin, who played my parents, were so funny and kind that they made our make-believe family feel like a real one. Of course, the whole experience of making a film is really shaped by the director and Kenneth Branagh is a legend – he is so focused and patient, it was quite inspiring to watch him work.
Did you have to rehearse with Lily James for your character?
Sadly, we never actually got to film together as I was playing the young Cinderella and she was the older version of the character. We did hang out on set though (we got through way too many Haribos between takes!).
She is such a talented actress and a very kind person in real life. After Cinderella, I saw her perform in Romeo and Juliet at the Garrick Theatre in London. Her performance was so touching and it was fun to go backstage after the show to get her take on what it is like to play such an iconic part and to compare notes on all the things that can go wrong in live theatre.
What was it like having Kenneth Branagh direct the film?
Kenneth Branagh is a total inspiration! His directing is so motivating that you actually look forward to those stressful, emotional scenes! His guidance helped me so much and I still use some of his tips and techniques to this day! We stayed in contact and write letters to each other from time to time! When I had my birthday on set, he very sweetly arranged a mini party for me and even got a cake and balloons.
You filmed for some major movies early in your career, including Bel Ami and Red Lights, how did you find filming for these roles?
In Bel Ami, during my first ever scene rehearsal, I was so into it I forgot that I was still clutching my soft toy and one of the directors had to chase me around the room to take it away from me. We all laughed, I was still wearing my hair net and dressing robe, so I must have looked hilarious.
Can you remember how you felt the first time you filmed for a TV series?
When you shoot a film, a lot of it will be at a studio so you go home at the end of the day. With a series, however, you are often on location for a long time. I love travelling so the opportunity to set up a temporary home somewhere for the duration of the shoot was very exciting.
You’ve recorded for a couple of video games, what do you enjoy most about this type of work?
The most enjoyable thing about it is how surreal the recording sessions are. You have to take a step back and laugh as you see how absurd it is standing in a recording booth, by yourself putting great energy and emotion into lines that aren’t directed at anyone… They also provide really tasty snacks.
How different do you find recording for radio opposed to screen?
Radio is actually very different! The audience can’t see you, you don’t have to learn your lines, you also have to make your voice very emotional and clear. We get to use a variety of really inventive props to make certain sound effects, for example, if you want to make it sound like someone’s drinking an iced beverage, you put little light bulbs into a glass cup and they make the perfect sound!
Was there anything that prompted your interest in acting?
I was only five years old when I got my first part – Laurine in Bel Ami, so I didn’t really understand what a privilege it was to be offered the role. The audition involved jumping on the sofa and playing tag, so, for me, it was just pure fun.
We understand you are a ballet dancer, have you been able to incorporate this for any of your roles?
Sadly not! Dancing is my favourite thing (besides acting, of course) but those paths haven’t crossed yet! I would love to act and dance for a role soon though as that would be the perfect balance of my two hobbies.
Would you like to appear in any ballet-based stage shows?
I have been in a few shows with my Ballet School. There are few things to match it in terms of energy and adrenaline.
Are you currently working on any projects or have any coming up that you can tell us about?
Right now, I’m putting a lot of time into dance and school but, of course, I’m still acting and auditioning! I can’t wait to find out what my next role will be and to embark on a new adventure but, until then… I better get back to my maths homework!!
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