For her first professional role, Isabella Sermon played Maisie Lockwood in the 2018 release of Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, alongside a cast including her on-screen adoptive parents Chris Pratt (Owen Grady) and Bryce Dallas Howard (Claire Dearing). Reprising her role of Maisie, Isabella reunited with the cast for Jurassic World Dominion, with filming taking place during the pandemic, and the film had a worldwide release last month and marks the third and final instalment of the Jurassic World trilogy. Catching up with Isabella, we talked to her about playing Maisie Lockwood in Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, filming during the pandemic for Jurassic World Dominion and having Maisie as her professional debut.
Do you remember how you felt booking your first professional role of Maisie Lockwood in Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom?
It’s actually a very funny story – the casting agent sent the email to my mum confirming I had got the part of Maisie on Christmas Eve, so she printed it out and put it in an envelope for me to open on Christmas Day! I’m still waiting for her to top that as a present.
What is Maisie like to play and how was it reprising your role in the new release of Jurassic World Dominion?
Returning to a franchise where I already knew a large number of the cast was something I found really beneficial. Given that it had been about four years since we finished filming Fallen Kingdom, I had already grown up so much and I found that I was able to take on much more advice from the rest of the cast and crew, and that I was also able to learn huge amounts about the industry during the time we were filming.
How much did you know about the Jurassic Park franchise before auditioning and was there anything that drew you to the role?
When auditioning to play Maisie, I actually wasn’t aware that I was auditioning for a role in the new Jurassic World film! I think that if I had known, then I would have been much more nervous as I was such a huge fan of the franchise before I became aware that I was going to be a part of it. One of the things I love and have always loved about Maisie is that she is very similar to me – apart from the fact that she is a clone – and I guess that would be something that drew me to the role.
Can you tell us what it was like working with the rest of the cast and how did you find the experience on set of the films?
The environment that was created on the sets of both films was a really safe and nurturing one, and I found that I was able to learn so much about the industry and the acting business itself just by watching people work and feeling comfortable to experiment myself.
How was it returning to filming when productions could reopen after the pandemic had stopped work?
Honestly, I was a little bit nervous, but the whole COVID department handled the situation so well that soon my nerves were gone. It was a bit strange wearing masks and face visors during the production though!
What do you enjoy most about being involved with Jurassic World and what’s it like seeing the fan response to the new films and your character?
Hopefully people are enjoying watching Maisie’s journey into adolescence and self discovery – I certainly enjoyed reading it and acting it myself.
How was it seeing the completed films for the first time and what was it like attending the events/screenings?
I remember watching the film in front of the London cast and crew when I had already seen the film before, and the whole time I was just watching everyone else in the cinema react to the film. I was really pleased to see that everyone else enjoyed it as much as I did!
Is there anything you will miss most about working on Jurassic World and playing Maisie?
I think that whilst making this film, there was such a sense of unity within the cast, and everyone was really trying to help each other. The representation of women consistently in this franchise has always been something that I loved to watch, especially as a young woman growing up. It has always shown that women are capable of taking the lead in difficult and stressful situations, which I think is something that should be represented in lots more films.
Can you say about some of your favourite memories from working on Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom and Jurassic World Dominion and playing Maisie over the years?
I remember filming one scene at the end of the film in which Chris (Pratt), Bryce (Dallas Howard) and I had to make and eat s’mores on camera. As a Brit, I’ve made s’mores before but I wasn’t quite sure on the correct American way to do it, so I had to have Chris and Bryce help me. I was trying so hard to get it right, and when we started rolling the cameras, I bit into the s’more and it burst all over my face!
How did you get into acting and is it something you always wanted to do?
I had acted in productions at my school before, but when I was cast as Maisie and had the opportunity to be on a film set, I realised that this was my passion and what I wanted to do.
Have you been given any advice over your career so far that has stuck with you and what advice would you give a new actor starting out?
I think this is actually a piece of advice that applies to any line of work – always give everything 100%. If you aren’t putting your all into something, then there isn’t really any point in doing it.
Do you have any favourite films and TV shows to watch?
At the moment, I’m about to start the new season of The Umbrella Academy on Netflix, but I think my all-time favourites would have to be The US Office, The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, Rick and Morty and Euphoria.
How do you like to spend your time away from your career?
I love to draw and paint, and as part of that I’m also trying to get into photography skills. I love reading books, but I am constantly listening to music.
What are you hoping the rest of the year brings for you?
I am hoping to be working again later in the year. But I am hoping to spend a relaxing summer with my friends and family as I have just finished a really big set of exams!
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