You’ve Gotta Love Sophie Simnett
Written by Vaughn Eric Stewart
As a human-being Sophie Simnett has to be one of the coolest actresses on the planet. She’s down to earth, believes in hard work to obtain success, is not into hierarchies, and believes that kindness is the best trait that anyone can have. Is it any wonder why she’s an actress in demand?
You started acting so young. How did you know so early that you wanted to be an actress?
Honestly, it was just something that always felt right to me. When I was a child and saw kids on stage, I knew I wanted to be doing that. I don’t know if it was because it looked fun at the time or whether it was a passion that was ignited, but I decided I wanted to do it and thing haven’t changed so far!
“The cinema is my safe haven.”
Were your parents behind your choice to be an actress?
I’m very fortunate to have very supportive parents. Their rule was I could do it as long as I finished school and did well and had the option for University. However, my opinions did change slightly when I was filming The Lodge in my last year of school. I missed 8 months of lessons and I still wanted to pass the exam. Thanks to the amazing crew in Belfast, who used to give me quick fire questions on geographical land formations on set, I did okay!
What was your first professional role?
My first profession IMDB credit role was a tiny role in Dickensian, a period project on BBC1. It was so exciting and everything I had ever dreamed of.
Was there anything you had to get used to when you first walked on the set?
Yes! Lots of things actually — it’s a weird world being on a set. The family-esque atmosphere is always palpable — if not with everyone, with the majority of the crew. However, I couldn’t and still can’t get my head around having things done for you all the time. Especially when people treat the actors differently to the rest of the crew, that seems ludicrous to me.
“I don’t necessarily think I have a ‘process’ when it comes to creating a character.”
You’re doing both TV and film, is there much of a difference between the two mediums?
Schedule wise, absolutely! You can do a film, wrap, and watch it a year or so later. With TV you’re usually signing a 7-season deal, which is just a much larger agreement/risk. Creatively, I haven’t found that it changes my approach to my work though. From my experience, I have found that there seems to be more time to film with film — with TV you are always chasing a deadline.
You also sing. Have you ever consider doing a solo album?
Haha! I do sing a bit, but I wouldn’t consider myself a singer. Performing songs on the Lodge was an incredible experience, and the live performances allowed me to face some major fears. Funny enough, some offers did end up coming in for albums. I remember one came through for a Christmas album, which was particularly tempting, but I’m not sure anyone would enjoy it much – maybe my mum! Very flattering though! But never say never…maybe one day I’ll wake up singing like Beyoncé.
What are you currently working on?
I’ve just finished an absolutely bonkers press tour for Daybreak — a new Netflix series that came out on October 24th. It’s a post apocalypse, comedy drama, samurai saga, coming-of-age, action romance show. No lie. It’s the only way to describe it. Imagine if Mad Max, Ferris Bueller, Stranger Things and Zombieland had a baby you would get Daybreak. The show is beyond insane and I absolutely love it. I’m so excited for the world to see it – so many people worked so hard on it and it’s something really new and original. I feel like a proud mum when I talk about
Tell us a bit about the show and your character?
I play Samaria Dean in Daybreak, who is fondly called the ‘queen of Glendale.’ She is smart, quick witted and much loved at school, but defies expectations of the cliché ‘popular girl’ character. She cares about everyone and wants to help and acts as a sort of warm light that the kids in school are drawn to for stability and comfort in the madness of high school. She helps the slightly incapable principle, Matthew Broderick run the school and her and Josh have a gorgeous romance. However, in the apocalypse she is lost and it’s Josh’s main goal to find her amongst the madness, with only a post-it-note and a sword on his quest!
What’s your process of becoming the character you’re playing?
I don’t necessarily think I have a ‘process’ when it comes to creating a character — and if I do it certainly changes all the time. Some characters just fit very naturally and as you read more of a script, they form into this person you didn’t know when you started. It’s kind of magical. I guess the main thing I do when preparing for a role is to try and understand every aspect of the character — writing lists of likes and dislikes, working out what matters to them, what they care about, what they think is overrated, what their goals are, etc. I really enjoy that part of the job. Having a friend ask personal questions and seeing what my gut instinct as the character is always very revealing in creating a character.
“Wes Anderson. He is a filmmaking magician.”
If you had to make a choice would it be TV, film or singing?
If I had to choose, I would pick film. It’s where my creative interests and love has always been. The cinema is my safe haven. It also would mean I could work on lots of different projects and tell multiple stories. If you’re working on a TV show your character may develop and change, but it’s still the same world you are in. It’s amazing watching the shift of film to TV in the industry right now. The demand and quality are so high, there really is a fine line between film and TV, content wise — which is a wonderful thing!
What’s the best advice that you can give an aspiring actor?
Work hard and be nice. Honestly, it’s what got me into the places where the opportunities were. Also allow yourself to be continually inspired and truly immerse yourself into every aspect of the industry. It’s easy to get a little lazy with it when the auditions are coming through, or to get a little afraid when they’re not, and I am absolutely guilty of this, but part of being an actor is creating your own schedule when you are out of work and part of that includes staying at the top of your game and being creative. Whether that’s watching films, taking a class, going to an art gallery or just reading plays with friends. I think it’s all vital to being an engaging and authentic actor!
One actor you want to work with?
Olivia Colman. Easy.
Wes Anderson. He is a filmmaking magician. I would just be so intrigued to watch him work, let alone be directed by him.
The person you most want to meet alive or dead?
Probably Phoebe Waller-Bridge. I would just like to have a cup of tea and a good natter with her. She’s doing incredible things that I would love to do in the future, so I would love to pick her brains on that. AND she’s a female filmmaker from the same part of London that I grew up in. We are destined to be pals, I think. Or John Berger; I’m currently reading ‘And Our Faces, My Heart, Brief as Photos.’ He sees the world in such a beautiful, whole-hearted way. He could make a leaf sound like the most extraordinarily, alive, gorgeous, spectacle.
We’re Cool America Magazine, what’s Cool about your country?
I love England; but perhaps the coolest thing about London would be even though it’s a huge bustling city, you can find greenery and peace anywhere, and in the summer, you can bathe in ponds. It’s just wild. Oh, also you can get so many good Sunday Roasts – and go to the seaside within an hour, and the tube is amazing, and everyone offers each other cups of tea. It’s a happy place. Well, my happy place at least.
What’s cool about you?
I think it’s cool that I love learning. It makes living that much more interesting. I’m lucky that it comes into acting too. There are infinite amounts to learn and discover and that excites me. I am also very good at catching popcorn in my mouth, that’s pretty cool.