In the 2020 feature film release of Come Away, Keira Chansa plays Alice Littleton alongside a cast including Jordan Nash and Angelina Jolie. This year, Keira could be seen playing Lucy in The Irregulars on Netflix and she plays Young Siuan Sanche in the Amazon Original Series The Wheel of Time. Keira stars as the junior lead of Faith in the feature film of the same name, and she made her professional stage debut as Little Hortense in the National Theatre production of Small Island in 2019, which was screened to cinemas and was shown online during the pandemic. Chatting to Keira, she tells us about playing Alice Littleton in Come Away, being on set of The Wheel of Time and her professional stage debut in Small Island.
Can you tell us about your time playing Alice Littleton in Come Away and what was it like meeting the rest of the cast for the first time?
My time playing Alice was one of the best experiences in my life. I got to grow so much as an individual and I became so much stronger as an actress. Meeting the cast for the first time was genuinely so much fun. I was able to develop my skills so much as I was surrounded by such talented people.
What was it like on set of the film and getting into character?
On set was so much fun, I made so many amazing memories both on and off camera, I was able to get to know all of the characters so well. Getting into the character of Alice was like meeting a friend, I was able to step into her shoes and understand what it was like to be her.
Was there anything that drew you to the role and what do you feel you learnt from the experience of playing Alice?
Something that drew me to the role of Alice was her curiosity. Her mind is so bright and she is such a kind, loving person. I instantly fell in love with Alice as she taught me so much about how my maturity could develop but by heart I could be a little girl forever.
How was it seeing the completed film and why would you recommend watching it?
Seeing the film complete was so surreal to me and altogether just great. I can’t put into words how well the film was produced and how magical it felt. I would recommend this film to people as it was just simply amazing. I really don’t think I could put into words how well it was executed and I don’t think I could ever be thankful enough for being a part of it.
Do you have any stand-out moments from being involved with Come Away?
I honestly don’t think anything stood out over everything to me. I had the most fun ever and I was so in love with the set, everything was a work of art. For me, being able to play the role of Alice Littleton was just everything I could ask for and more.
You’re in the cast of new Amazon series The Wheel of Time as Young Siuan Sanche, how did it feel booking the role and how was your time on set?
On The Wheel of Time, something that amazed me so much was how beautifully the set was made, everything felt so real and it just felt so perfect. I had the best of fun being able to play Siuan and it was an experience that I will never forget. The costumes were beautiful and the work put into transforming me into Young Siuan Sanche was so exciting and so different to what I’d experienced before.
You play Lucy in the Netflix series The Irregulars, can you say about the character and what it was like to film?
Lucy, for me, felt as if she had more of a delicate personality. I felt she had more of an introverted personality. Playing Lucy was so exciting as she was such a different person to me as I’m quite outgoing and loud whereas the character Lucy is more of a shy individual. I had never filmed anything like The Irregulars before, I was nervous at first about how they would show my teeth falling out. Haha. It’s amazing all the hard work that goes on behind the scenes to make it look so real.
What can you tell us about feature film Faith where you play the junior lead of Faith?
Playing Faith was such a great experience, at the time I had never played a role quite like Faiths. Baring in mind she was going through so much, she was such a brave girl. I enjoyed every single part of getting to know Faith and she will always be there as a part of me as an actress.
Having worked on other screen roles including a cameo in Detective Pikachu and on commercials, can you tell us about some?
Every piece of acting I have done has been such an adventure. I don’t even know if I can put into words how happy it makes me feel. I can remember my first ever commercial, I was so excited but so nervous I had no clue what to expect. Now going on set, I have that same excitement but I don’t worry as much, I just enjoy it.
What was it like playing Little Hortense in Small Island and making your professional stage debut?
Playing Little Hortense was such a great experience. One of the best parts of it was that it was my first time performing in theatre. I also got to learn new skills, the most significant was learning a Jamaican accent. It was definitely not the easiest skill to learn but it was such fun.
What did you enjoy most about being part of the 2019 run and performing at the National Theatre?
I think that the thing I loved most about Small Island was the fact that everything was live. There were no do-overs, I loved the fact that I could experience the audience’s reaction while I was acting. I think I liked it so much because it was so nice to be able to see the audience enjoying the show while I was acting.
How was the experience having the show live screened to cinemas and shown online during the pandemic?
NT Live was so exciting for me as I knew that all of my friends and family would be able to enjoy the show. I was just so intrigued to know how they felt and how I felt being able to rewatch myself.
Where does your love of acting come from and what do you like most about having an acting career?
I think my love for acting comes from me wanting to be the centre of attention when I was little! Whether I was making a show and performing it to my parents or doing a school play. Let’s just say I was a little diva. All jokes aside, this is and will always be my passion and I enjoy it so much.
What are some of your favourite TV shows and films to watch?
My favourite films and TV shows are ANYTHING DISNEY. I am the biggest Disney fan. I think if I could only watch Disney films and TV shows for the rest of my life, I would be absolutely fine, that’s how much I love it. My favourite Disney movie is probably Tangled, just because I could watch it on repeat and not get bored.
What are you hoping the upcoming year brings for your career?
I am hoping that next year I will have the best time filming. I hope to be able to look back on the year and say “that’s a good year” and be really happy about it. It would be the best to just be so excited about what I have done, like I have felt the past few years. I enjoy it so much so to have another great year would be AMAZING!!!!
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