For her first regular screen role, Liberty Hobbs will be playing Gemma across all six episodes of Series 4 of The Syndicate, which will begin airing tomorrow night (30th March) at 9pm on BBC One, with the show marking her UK screen debut. Previous work for Liberty has included filming an episode of Ryan Hansen Solves Crimes on Television, where she worked alongside Aly Michalka, and she played Candace Warner in Grey’s Anatomy. Chatting with Liberty ahead of the new series, she talks about playing Gemma in The Syndicate, making her UK debut in Series 4 and her previous screen roles.
Can you tell us about your character Gemma in The Syndicate and how did it feel booking your first regular role in a TV series?
Well… I was over the moon when I found out I booked The Syndicate! It was a long process but seemed to happen so quick at the same time. All the emotion came to a head when my agent called me and told me I was officially offered the role and I just burst into happy tears! I play Gemma, who is twenty-two years old, and works at the local dog kennels. She is a very kind, sweet, bubbly young woman who lives with her grandma and has an un-denying love for headbands! She is always putting other’s needs before her own and as the series continues we see that, at her core, she is an extremely hurt soul who has a lot of anger she needs to deal with.
Was there anything that drew you to the series and what was it like meeting the cast for the first time?
When I was first sent the scripts, before I auditioned, I immediately fell in love with how much I had in common with my character Gemma. Little things like the fact that we were from the same place, her love of dogs, her love for her grandma… etc. and it just pulled me in right away. Not to mention Kay (Mellor) writes one hell of a story! Meeting the cast for the first time was really lovely. I had just come out of quarantine and we all had met on a Zoom call (which is so strange because usually we would have met at a table read) and then all met in the lobby of the apartments we were staying in and went to get Thai food, which was like our first little bonding experience.
Why do you think viewers will enjoy Series 4 of The Syndicate?
I think mostly because it’s an escape from ‘the real’ world right now. Kay never wrote COVID into the story, which I am really happy about. I think it’s something we all really need in a time like this, so it’s going to be great for people to just watch a good ol’ dramedy for an hour as an escape from this lockdown we are all experiencing.
What did you enjoy most about working on a Kay Mellor production?
Honestly, I loved every minute of it. The people are what made this production a great one! The cast and crew on this were absolutely amazing to work with and just made every day so memorable. I don’t remember a day where we weren’t all laughing, even when it was torrentially pouring with rain. OH… and of course having an abundance of dogs to play with on set made it even better!
How have you found the experience filming your UK debut?
It was an amazing experience! I truly loved every second of it! It definitely had its stressful moments with COVID being a prime factor but I had the time of my life shooting this show and learned so much from my castmates and Kay.
How different did you find filming as Gemma to your previous roles?
Well, with Gemma I was able to create her from the ground up and take her on an entire journey from start to finish, whereas with my other roles I didn’t get that opportunity. It was a really great experience to be able to find every layer of this character and take her through her whole story. In my previous roles, I was there to support a story, so with this I really had the time to dive in and create every part of her, which was so much fun.
You played Candace Warner in Grey’s Anatomy, do you have any favourite memories from your time filming the series?
Oh there’s a bunch! I think one of my favourites was when we were sitting on set and James Pickens Jr. looked up at me and asked me to come over to his set chair and showed me a portrait sketch he had done of me while I was running lines. I was so taken back. It was such a cool moment. I wish I had asked to keep it because it was really good! Hopefully it’s still in his sketchbook!
What was it like filming your episode of Ryan Hansen Solves Crimes on Television?
I had so much fun shooting that show! I think the best part was meeting Aly Michalka, who is an actress/singer I watched on Disney Channel growing up. That made it such a surreal experience meeting her and working with her.
Can you say about some of the other projects you’ve worked on?
When I first came to LA, one of the first projects I booked was a film that was entered into the SXSW film festival, which for any actor is a really cool experience. What was extra special about this film was that it starred Francesca Eastwood (Clint Eastwood’s daughter) and I just remember thinking to myself “is this real?”. I always look back and think, wow, I worked with Francesca Eastwood and she’s so lovely. The film is called M.F.A and is on Amazon Prime now.
Was there anything that drew you to an acting career and how did you start?
Honestly, I always say I came out of the womb singing and dancing. I don’t know where it came from but I have just always had a passion for performing and it naturally grew into acting. As a kid, I was always in dance classes and singing lessons and doing anything I could that involved performing. As I got older, it progressed into musical theatre and then, at about fourteen years old, I started training in acting for television and it just kept evolving from there.
How do you like to spend your time away from acting and do you have any favourite TV shows or films to watch?
Most of my life involves performing in some way or another, but I also grew up riding horses and so I love doing that when I can. It’s a great escape from the industry sometimes. I have so many favourite TV shows and movies (I am horrible at just picking one) but right now I’m obsessed with Riverdale, Good Trouble, Pitch Perfect, always a die-hard Harry Potter fan, The Greatest Showman… and if I don’t stop now the list will take up this whole magazine!
What are you hoping 2021 brings for your career?
Well, first I’m hoping that people enjoy The Syndicate, which I am really excited for everyone to finally see it. Also, I’m excited for my next projects and just hoping that we can continue to work safely and can’t wait to share what I am working on next!
The Syndicate will air from Tuesday 30th March at 9pm on BBC One.
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