Kayleigh-Paige Rees has recently been announced by Deadline to play Lola Roberts in the new production of feature film Faulty Roots written by Ella Greenwood, based on her original short film of the same name. Last year, Kayleigh-Paige starred as Julia Beaufort in ITV show Sanditon across the series, and amongst her other screen credits, she has worked on Ann Rolls Green for her first leading role in a feature film. Alongside acting, Kayleigh-Paige is also a producer, with one of the productions – Skinny World – being made to raise money for charity and, during lockdown, she began her podcast Real Talk With Kayleigh. Answering our questions, Kayleigh-Paige chats about being announced to play Lola Roberts in Faulty Roots, her time working on Sanditon as Julia Beaufort and starting her podcast.
You’ve been announced to play Lola Roberts in Faulty Roots, what can you tell us about the production?
Faulty Roots is a feature film that looks into teen mental health and the changing relationships with family and friends at that age. I am incredibly excited to play the role of Lola and I am very passionate about this film.
Can you say about your character and what did you know about her before being cast?
Lola is a very complicated young woman as I believe we all are at that age, I read the script before being cast and knew instantly I wanted to be a part of the film and help get the film made.
How was it having Deadline announce your role and what are you looking forward to for working on the feature and having it released?
It was amazing, Deadline is the epitome of film and TV series so it was wonderful having my name up there. I am looking forward to having a feature that truly explored teenage mental health released and I hope it resonates with a lot of people.
What drew you to the script and have you seen the short film that this is based on?
I have been looking for years to find a script and project that I truly felt was true to teenagers and their personal journeys. This script was amazing and I knew instantly I wanted to be a part of it. The project had a traditional route with short onto feature and I loved the short.
How are you preparing for playing Lola?
Currently, I am watching any documentary and pieces on teenage mental health and I will continue to prepare as much as I can for the role.
You played Julia Beaufort in Sanditon, what was the character like to portray?
Julia Beaufort was an absolute joy to play. It was a very fun character and I loved playing a very close sisterly relationship because I am an only child and the whole cast were just lovely and it was an amazing project to be a part of.
How was the experience working on a Jane Austen adaptation and historical drama?
I felt a great responsibility being a part of a Jane Austen adaptation. I have always been a massive Jane Austen fan, Pride and Prejudice is my favourite book, so when I was told about this opportunity I was so excited and it’s still a pinch me moment, to think that my character was written over 200 years ago by such an iconic writer is amazing.
How long were you filming for the role and what was it like getting into costume?
We were filming for six months and it was a bit of a nightmare. On a twelve-hour shoot day wearing a corset and trying to eat three meals never went very well.
How was it playing Ann in Ann Rolls Green?
Ann was my first lead in a feature film. It was a small independent film and it came at the perfect time. It was filming local to me and it was very dialogue heavy which I loved. I still love that film and it was wonderful having a film released on Amazon Prime.
How did your career come about and had you always wanted to be an actor?
I realised I wanted to be an actress rather late, I was eighteen. I had danced and performed since the age of four and always wanted to dance. When I trained from sixteen to eighteen I adored performing and dancing, and at one point, my teacher asked me to perform a monologue and it was then that I realised what exhilarated me so much about performing was carving a character and really embracing the emotion. This led me into acting and I have just grown and loved it more and more by the day.
Which are some of your favourite TV shows you enjoy watching?
Recently, I adored Normal People. I binge-watched Friday Night Dinner which was great and I’m really enjoying Cursed at the moment.
What are the plans for the short films you’ve produced and appeared in – Skinny World, Samantha and Cafe Tropicana?
Skinny World was a charity film made to raise money for BEAT and I loved producing that short. Samantha is currently doing the circuit at festivals and doing very well. Cafe Tropicana is a book written by Belinda Jones which we are in pre-production for making into a feature.
You have your own podcast – Real Talk With Kayleigh – how did this come about and can you tell us about it?
I started my podcast during lockdown. I don’t live in the city, I live in the countryside and when we went into lockdown, creatively, it felt quite isolating. A lot of my friends and family who I live by aren’t creative and the podcast allowed me to speak to new people who I deeply admired and it helped me realise that we are all feeling the same. It’s been a pleasure doing the podcast and I’ve made some great friends from it.
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