Darcey Porter-Cassidy

📷 : YellowBelly

In the recently-released Disney+ series Extraordinary, Darcey Porter-Cassidy plays Ange alongside a cast including Máiréad Tyers as lead character Jen. Extraordinary is a comedy show by Sid Gentle, with Darcey being the only child member in the cast, with her character Ange as a 50-year-old divorcee in a child’s body. Amongst Darcey’s other projects, she played the Prime Minister’s niece Clarissa in the Christmas Special episode of Dodger, has voiceover experience such as with ELT, will be seen as Betsy in the upcoming BBC comedy drama Rain Dogs and she currently trains at Sylvia Young Theatre School. Darcey answers our questions about playing Ange in the Disney+ series Extraordinary, working on the Christmas Special episode of Dodger as Clarissa and her experience filming for Rain Dogs.

With the new Disney+ series Extraordinary releasing in January, you play Ange, what is the series like to be part of?

It was incredible to be part of a brand-new comedy show, especially as it was by Sid Gentle, who produced Killing Eve. The cast was so good and such fun as well. Extraordinary is hilarious, it’s British comedy at its best. I was lucky enough to have seen a few episodes at the premiere, and there were so many laugh out loud moments. I am the only child in the cast, so it was very different to my time on Dodger, the cast and crew were amazing with me and made the experience “extraordinary”. Máiréad Tyers plays the lead character Jen, and was especially interactive with me, so I learnt so much and it made the whole time even more fun. When they were filming different angles (which can take some time), Máiréad would play games quietly with me, we were both trying not to laugh.

Is there anything you can tell us about your character and what drew you to the Disney+ series?

When I first got the script and as I read through with my parents, we were all belly laughing at some of the things I had to say. I can’t repeat some of the content from the audition, but we were worried our neighbours may overhear me practicing. I play the role of Ange, a 50-year-old divorcee from Essex, in a child’s body! She has very funny mannerisms and, as you can imagine, it was a challenge to play her but that’s what I loved. Being a full-grown woman drew me the most to the character because you don’t usually get the chance to play that at my age. Everything in this series is hilarious and I’m so excited for people to watch it, I think it’s going to be a big hit.

Why would you recommend watching Extraordinary and how did you find the experience working with the rest of the cast?

It is so funny, it’s very adult humour, but that’s what is great about it. It’s based on everyone in the world having a superpower when they turn 18, except they are not the usual and most obvious superpowers. It’s about a friendship group and their day-to-day lives. You get to love the characters as they develop but it’s not at all normal. Every one of them has a superpower, all of them except for Jen. The sets were awesome, all filmed in London where I live. In one of the scenes, I had to say some pretty funny things and as we were running through the lines practicing, the cast couldn’t stop giggling. Of course, when it came to filming, we were all very professional. The whole cast are incredibly talented, but I spent most of the time with Jen, played by Máiréad Tyers, which was extra special for me.

You played Clarissa in the Christmas Special episode of Dodger, how was your time on set of the series?

All of the cast and crew were so kind and welcoming, and they made me feel at home straight away. Right from the start we all got on so well and every day on set, Rhys (Thomas), the director, had a really high energy, which was great and created the best atmosphere. We began filming in the summer and it was very hot, but the Christmas episode was set in the winter which meant we were wearing Victorian winter clothes. I wore a velvet dress and to make matters worse, underneath I had a quilted petticoat. I was boiling! We all carried electric fans with us to try and keep cool, which was funny. We filmed the scenes in Bristol, it was so beautiful. We went to many different museums and really big old-fashioned houses, which I loved. Every morning, the first thing we all did was go to our trailers, where I would get my hair made up for the day. I wore a wig which needed to be pinned on each day. It was a very long process, but we played music, jammed and had an amazing time together, so the time went by quickly. I still have to pinch myself when I think about the incredible actors I got to work with. I worked with Dodger himself, Billy Jenkins, the whole Dodger gang led by Christopher Eccleston, and alongside Jane Horrocks and Robert Lindsay, who played my mum and uncle.

📷 : YellowBelly

How familiar were you with the series before auditioning and what was it like meeting the rest of the cast for the first time?

As soon as the part came through for my first audition, my mum and I binge-watched the whole of Season 1. We loved it straight away; the stories were funny and the characters were great. I especially loved that it was set in the 1830s as I always thought the idea of playing in a period show would be amazing to do. When I first saw the characters in real life, it was a little strange because I had been watching them on TV. In no time at all, we had become friends and each of the cast and crew made it so welcoming for me. My character spent a lot of time on set with Dodger, played by Billy Jenkins, and I really enjoyed working alongside him, he is a fantastic actor.

Can you tell us about your character Clarissa and what is she like to play?

Clarissa is the Prime Minister’s niece, who is visiting her uncle for Christmas. She really wants to be a police officer and has a deep knowledge of crime. Clarissa is a secret fan of Dodger and knows everything he has been up to. Back then, women couldn’t be policewomen, so I loved how Clarissa badgers and argues with her uncle about wanting to be a police officer, even though he is the PM. She is very determined and knows what she wants, but it is fair to say that she can be a bit obsessive at times, which can make her a little annoying. I really enjoyed the challenge of playing Clarissa as she breaks the stereotype of a typical child of that time, she is extremely knowledgeable and is a little bit of a tomboy. I especially loved the scene when I woke Dodger up. I was told to play it like the scene out of The Misery, which is a scary film, it was really fun. Clarissa had so many different moods and attitudes throughout the show but generally her energy was very high, which is kind of like me, I think.

Was there anything you enjoyed most about filming for Dodger?

I really enjoyed making friends with the cast and crew and they made me feel part of the Dodger family. I think my favourite part of filming though was when we were in the studios for the scene on the roof. Dodger was escaping throughout the window, which they had built but with a green screen all around it. We had to film us all climbing out of the window and then onto the roof, it was quite high but not as high as it looked on TV, of course. It was great seeing the finished scene. One day, the directors allowed me to put the headphones on and listen to the scene they were filming, I called ‘Action!’ and ‘Cut!‘ and they were calling me the new producer/director, it was so much fun.

We understand you will be playing Betsy in the BBC comedy drama Rain Dogs, what are you looking forward to for the release?

This is a smaller part, but I loved it all the same – all I can say is I love Daisy May Cooper and it was a pleasure to work with her. It will be a great project!

Having worked on a number of voiceover projects, can you tell us about some of them?

I go to a performing arts school and therefore the voiceover jobs I get are with my friends from school. I have done a lot of ELT work over the last two years, which is a voiceover for children in other countries that are learning to speak English. We record different scripts and then the children listen to it in their English class, we need to focus on our diction, grammar, and pronunciation. Sometimes I get to use an American accent, which I enjoy where having lived in New York for four years comes in handy. I did some ADR work for the Netflix film The Sea Beast and I got to see the animations before they were finished as a work in progress which I had never seen before.

📷 : YellowBelly

Where does your love of acting come from and is it something you always wanted to do?

From the age of four, I started Stagecoach and loved it so much. Every time we would put on a show, and we performed, I knew that was what I wanted to do. We moved to New York when I was seven and I continued to go to Stagecoach, and it was a great platform for me. When I was 11, I auditioned and was successful in getting into a full-time Professional Performing Arts School (PPAS) located in the heart of the theatre district in Manhattan, near Times Square. It was a great experience, and the school was incredible. No one in my family is an actor but they are all so supportive. However, my great nan wrote plays and performed during the war, my nan was a professional dancer, my grandad a professional footballer and my Great Uncle Rob was offered at place at RADA, so in some ways there is a performing gene in me. My parents have always said that they knew I would be on stage or TV.

Was there anything that encouraged you to train at Sylvia Young Theatre School and do you have a favourite aspect of training there?

When COVID hit New York, we decided to move back to England and one of the first things we did was find an acting school so I could continue doing what I love. We already knew about the Sylvia Young Theatre School because it’s so well-known and has such an incredible reputation. I also knew that many very successful actors came from the school. I auditioned for it online, because we were still in NY and then did the final exam in person back in London. We were given a tour of the school and I was so determined that this was the school I wanted to go to.

Training at Sylvia’s is very special, and I am very fortunate to have this opportunity, the fact that we get to train in all three disciplines of acting, singing and dancing is perfect for me. All the classes are challenging but great, the atmosphere and culture is so positive which really helps build the confidence needed when performing. The facilities are the best and there is even a recording studio in the school. The academic side is also very important which I really appreciate, and all the teachers are amazing. I think my favourite part is the improv classes we do; I love how we have to think on our feet and of course every time is different.

Do you have any favourite TV shows and films to watch?

I love British comedies, I really enjoyed Am I Being Unreasonable? which starred Lenny Rush from Dodger, who is so talented, and the amazing Daisy May Cooper, it was so good. I also love Friends, Killing Eve, Stranger Things and Enola Holmes. I always like watching the classic romcoms with my mum and the Christmas movie Love Actually. I have watched it many times and never get bored. I don’t have a particular type of show or film, I like to watch them all for a variety of different reasons, but I do go for great acting, and I do look out for certain actors, but there is so much talent out there and so many people I can learn from. I would say Jodie Comer is my favourite actor so anything with her in, I will watch.

How do you like to spend your time away from your career?

I love to dance and if I’m not at school I’m at a dance class, I like all forms but especially commercial, Jazz and tap. Being part of a team and working together is so much fun! I really enjoy skiing in the winter and sailing when I’m on holiday in the summer. As a family, we all like going to the theatre, I even get to watch my friends perform. At the weekend I see my friends and just hang out in London with them. I am lucky that I get to travel a lot and I find exploring new places so interesting, my mum would say I spend too much time on social media and Netflix, I could never admit to that, but she may have a point.

What are you hoping 2023 brings for you?

2023 is very exciting with Dodger having just aired over Christmas and Extraordinary just being released, I could not have wished for a better start to the year, that’s for sure. Professionally, I will keep working hard, practicing, doing my best at all auditions and will see what happens. It would be great to have different projects this year that challenge me and my acting skills and allow me to work with more great directors and actors. I would also like to ski again this year so when my mum and dad read this, can I please?

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Categories: Film & TV, home, Interview, Young Performers

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