With popular children’s web series Kiddyzuzaa uploading regularly to their YouTube channel, Ellila-Jean Wood has joined the cast to play many of the lead princesses, and last year, she starred in two short films – My Hero and Merry Christmas. Ellila appeared in the Mallory Knox music video for their single White Lies, and has worked on two commercials which are due out later this year. Talking with Ellila, she tells us about filming for web series Kiddyzuzaa, working on the Mallory Knox music video and playing lead roles in short films.
For those that aren’t familiar with Kiddyzuzaa, can you say what it’s about?
Kiddyzuzaa is a web series shown on YouTube and aimed at younger children. It’s about princesses in real life, and follows their friendships, adventures and challenges.
Can you tell us about your role in the series?
I get to play all of the characters, which is so much fun as they all have completely different personalities. I would say my favourites to play are Esme and Lilliana – although I do love playing them all.
What’s a typical day of filming for the show?
The day starts very early as it takes around two and a half hours for me to get to the studio. When I get there, we have time to say hello, have a drink and then find out what character or characters we will be playing. It’s then time for hair and makeup. When we are ready, we have a read-through of the script and a practice. Then it’s time to start filming! We have plenty of breaks and always have a yummy lunch provided too! We normally get a whole episode filmed in a day and then wrap up at 5pm.
What’s it like getting into costume?
It’s great fun! We do our own hair and makeup which I really enjoy, and we always help each other if needed.
How was it finding out you’d booked the role and meeting the other cast members for the first time?
I was on holiday when my mum had the call to say I got the part! I was so excited, and had a happy dance in the middle of the town where we were.
I was quite nervous on my first day, but luckily I wasn’t the only new princess. Everyone was really lovely and welcoming, so my nerves didn’t last long. I have made some great friends through Kiddyzuzaa, and we stay in touch outside of filming too.
How was it playing a bully in the short film My Hero?
My Hero was my first short film and I really learnt so much from the whole experience.
The character I played, Hannah, was so different to me, and so she was really interesting to portray. It was great to highlight the problem of bullying in schools too, as it’s sadly many children’s reality – so raising awareness and the message behind the film was really important.
You played lead character Aimee in Merry Christmas, how was this?
I loved playing Aimee, she was a very cute and innocent character and I loved her role in the film.
We filmed in the summer and the movie was set at Christmas, so I was wrapped up in a thick coat – I was rather hot, but it was so much fun. We shot on a rooftop at dusk, near the sea and there were loads of noisy seagulls flying around – I think they wanted to be in the film too.
Can you say about the commercials you’ve been involved with?
I have loved both commercials I have filmed, and especially loved filming as part of an on-screen family in both. Neither have been released yet, but are due out this year – I’m so excited to see them both. One of the commercials was for a theme park and I got to work with green screen, which was really exciting and required a lot of imagination.
You were in the Mallory Knox music video for White Lies, what was this like to do?
It was such an exciting experience, and the band were so friendly. The music video concept was great, and I got to run around and shoot a water pistol at my on-screen brother and the lead singer which was a lot of fun!
We understand you enjoy singing, what are some of your favourite songs to perform?
I love singing songs that I can put my heart into, especially if I can relate to some of the lyrics. I really enjoy singing songs by Birdy – Wings and People Help the People are two of my favourites. I also love the song Let Her Go by Passenger.
How did your career come about?
I began being home educated when I was nine, my mum and dad wanted to ensure I still had lots of socialisation with children of my own age, and so enrolled me into a theatre school. I suffered from quite bad anxiety and they hoped doing something I loved would give me something to focus my mind on. It definitely helped! In my first year there, I auditioned for a role in the yearly stage production and was surprised to get the lead part. I loved the whole experience of performing, and so Mum applied to a couple of talent agencies and I was so happy to get offers of representation. I joined an agency, which then opened the door to lots of new and exciting experiences.
We understand you attend drama school, can you tell us more about it?
I really enjoyed the theatre school I attended, however I really wanted to do more TV and film work, and so I joined my local Pauline Quirke Academy which is a drama school. I love it! We study TV and film, as well as comedy and drama. We not only get to write and star in our own short films, but we also get to experience what it’s like on the other side of the camera too. I have made lots of new friends, and we even had a premiere screening of our short film at a local cinema.
How do you relax after a day of filming?
I love listening to music, so I often just put my earphones in and go into my own little world. I have grown up listening to a variety of music from Queen, Elvis, Oasis and also modern music – so my playlist is very varied. I also love to read, which is a great way to relax – especially before bed.
What are your upcoming plans?
I am so excited to have secured a lead part in Repeat, which is a Sci-Fi feature film. I am currently learning my lines, and I truly love my character and the storyline. I really can’t wait to work with all the cast and crew.
I have also been working on a project with some of my Twitter friends, which has given us all something to focus on and been so much fun to do.
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