Antonia Campbell-Hughes chats The Canal

Credit: Barry McCall

Recently we caught up with Irish award winning actress Antonia Campbell-Hughes, who was most recently seen in The Canal, directed by Ivan Kavanagh and co-starring Rupert Evans. Antonia was nominated for the 2015 Cine Talent Award for The Canal at the Dublin International Film Festival in March 2015.

Front Row Reviews: What initially interested you in The Canal?

Antonia Campbell-Hughes: 100% Ivan Kavanagh the director.  We had a meeting that was set up for us to discuss the project.  A first approach from a director that I love, as it shows immediately that we are collaborators.

Ivan and I, had an instant meeting of minds… creatively and how we see the world.  A fascination with the human psyche and what happens to it when it is tested and challenged.  He referenced films that struck a chord with me… early Kubrick, the Omen films. Ivan spoke about my character with profound care, fondness and delicacy.

FRR: You have worked in a wide variety of genres, but how did you find working with horror?

ACH: I keep saying, I see The Canal as a psychological thriller rather than horror, what I mean by this is that I see horror as being a specific focus.  The Canal is a fully formed drama with horrific elements, personal struggle, psychological collapse.  I don’t enjoy working on anything that is too one note, so as long as there is a challenge I am very happy and love the work.

FRR: The Canal gradually becomes more surreal as the film goes on; do you think this is all inside David’s head or something more suspect is at work?

ACH: The mind is a very complex arena…  It is very delicate and can easily begin to fail us.  I believe in the subconscious, and the energy we put out impacting others.  I believe we see as David sees but perhaps his environment is shifting due to his behaviours.

FRR: Do you believe in ghosts?

ACH: I believe in the potency of fear, in paranoia, in evil and good and in energy. Not ghosts specifically.

FRR: You have worked with both television and film; do you prefer one to the other and what are the major differences that you have found between them?

ACH: I haven’t done television as an ongoing lead or regular cast member in a long time. I miss this and want to do it again very much. The build of a character and getting to know them and live with them.  To have a relationship with them, getting to spend more time with your fellow castmates and crew like a regular job or life! Artistically TV is so sophisticated and brave, there seems little difference by what we see in film and television now across the board, small independent film approaches have place in TV, as does enormous explosive blockbuster.

FRR: There is some really excellent Irish cinema coming out at the moment and in the past few years, what do you think of the state of Irish cinema and do you see it representing a type of national feeling?

ACH: There are some great Irish funded projects recently. The Lobster is a Greek director but IFB funding. The Survivalist by Stephen Fingleton, with my friend Olwen Fouere received great response and I am dying to see. I have always adored Neil Jordan, I hope he does something again soon.

FRR: What projects do you have coming up that you can tell us about?

ACH: I am currently shooting in Spain.  I have a movie coming out next year called DXM which is quite a big action sci-fi made by RedBull/Terramater. Great ensemble cast including Tom Payne, Dominique Tipper, Oliver Starke, Melia Kreiling, Turlough Convery and Sam Neil. It’s about Quantum Theory, the mind but with enormous fight, parkour, dance and effects. It’s quite an incredible film.

Another film, Andron is like a period approach sci-fi like Dune or THX1138 (the early George Lucas movie), which we shot in Rome, another amazing cast including Alec Baldwin.

A lovely little tiny budget horror/thriller called Singer Songwriter Kidnapper with Matt Berry will be on iTunes VOD in September.

And Les Cowboys was just premiered at Cannes – I have a very small role in this, but greatly honoured to have been involved in Thomas Bidegains work.

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