Interviews Photoshoots

SCREENDAILY – Berkshire-born Bamber, 18, took to the principal role of Dinah like a duck to water, singing, dancing and having the time of her life.

Her film debut comes next February with the release of Pride And Prejudice And Zombies, in which she plays troublesome Lydia, another peachy part.

After signing with Kevin Volchok at UTA in Los Angeles, her next role is in the Tom Ford-directed Nocturnal Animals playing the daughter of Jake Gyllenhaal (the film, currently shooting, is based on the novel Tony & Susan by Austin Wright).

While still at school, Bamber was spotted in a local play and eventually offered a part in the 2010 production of Aspects Of Love at London’s Menier Chocolate Factory theatre.

“I was 13, coming up to the West End, the only kid without an agent,” she recalls, “but my whole family got behind me.”

She did her GCSEs and AS levels, but decided that “I need to go with the parts”. Bamber is learning on set, she says, from the likes of Lily James on Pride And Prejudice And Zombies and Kate Fleetwood in High Society. “Everyone’s been so generous,” she says. “I just want to keep doing what I’m doing.”


Interviews Photoshoots

What do you do and why do you do it? Acting and singing, because I love it!

Describe yourself in five words. Goofy, energetic, determined, loyal, clumsy.

How did you start your career? Boring my parents with “shows” from the age of four.

What was your big break? My elbow, when I was six. Does that count? Hopefully it’s Pride and Prejudice and Zombies!

What are you working on at the moment? High Society at The Old Vic.

We’re celebrating the 35th Birthday Issue of i-D, when did you last celebrate and what was the occasion?
My 18th birthday!

What excites you most about tomorrow?
Pretty much everything.

What’s your party trick?
“The crane” and rapping the whole of Rapper’s Delight with my dad.

Finish this sentence: 35 is the new…
Age of happy?


Interviews

WHATSONSTAGE – Ellie Bamber is currently playing Dinah Lord in High Society at the Old Vic.

Her previous credits include Aspects of Love (Menier), The Musketeers (BBC) and Pride and Prejudice and Zombies (Darko).

We caught up with Ellie and asked her: “If you were stranded on a desert island, which five showtunes could you not live without?”

“Anything But Lonely” from Aspects of Love
EB: The only version I’ve really heard was Katherine Kingsley’s brilliant rendition when I was in Aspects at the Menier Chocolate Factory. I can’t imagine it being performed in any other way. I remember she gave me goose bumps every time.

“Just One Of Those Things” from High Society
EB: I remember watching Rupert [Young] perform his version of the song in rehearsals for the first time recently, the song sounded familiar but I actually hadn’t ever listened to it properly. I remember falling in love with it there and then! I ended up playing Sinatra’s version on repeat for the next week. My brother told me to turn it off, as he said he’d probably heard it around 60 times – so I played Jamie Cullum’s instead!

“Seasons Of Love” from Rent
Just a knock out sing a long show tune really! Never fails to brighten up my day.

“How Could I Ever Know” from The Secret Garden
I’ve never actually seen a production of The Secret Garden but I’d really love to! I remember having to pick out a song for one of my musical theatre exams a few years ago and I asked my teacher if he had any suggestions. I’m usually pretty instinctive when it comes to picking out a song, I know what I like. He played me a few that I’d never heard before and this one really stuck out. The lyrics are heartbreakingly beautiful and paired with the melancholy melody, every time I sing it, it never fails to make me emotional.

“The Deadwood Stage” from Calamity Jane
remember my Nan and Grandad sitting me down to watch this with them when I was younger, I watched it countless times afterwards. I told them that one day I would be Calamity Jane, I loved singing and I loved horse riding so why wouldn’t I be?! I absolutely love Doris Day in the role, her voice is just sensational and she really makes the ballsy Calamity come to life!


Interviews

LONDON THEATRE – Ellie Bamber is currently starring as Dinah Lord in High Society at the Old Vic Theatre in London.

Cole Porter’s classic feel-good musical, High Society comes to The Old Vic in a glittering new production staged in the round.

Directed by Multi award winning director and musical star Maria Friedman. High Society is based on The Philadelphia Story and the 1956 MGM film musical starring Bing Crosby, Grace Kelly and Frank Sinatra. Featuring hit songs including “True Love”, “You’re Sensational”, “Well Did You Evah?” and the unforgettable “Who Wants To Be A Millonaire?”.

Ellie Bamber recently took time out from her busy schedule to chat about her career and High Society.

Last year you filmed in Lionsgate’s Pride, Prejudice and Zombies, which is likely due to be released in 2016. In the film you play the role of Lydia Bennet. What can you tell us about your time filming?
We filmed in the UK, last Autumn, in lots of different locations. I had a lot of fun with the cast, including Sally Phillips, Sam Riley, Lily James and Matt Smith, we all really enjoyed filming it. We did a stint of Martial Arts training before filming, as due to the Zombie side of the story, the sisters are trained zombie fighters, so that was an entirely new experience for me, we also did some dance training for the ball scenes. I learnt a lot from all the talented cast, crew and especially Burr Steers the director, I’ve kept in touch with most of them!

You played Martine in BBC One’s hit TV series The Musketeers and also appeared in Ed Bazalgette’s A Mother’s Son for ITV. What did you enjoy most about being in those productions?
A Mother’s Son was my first TV role and even though I was the youngest on set, Ed really took time to involve me in the creative aspect of the scenes I was in. The script was really gripping and emotional. One of the best parts was working with my on-screen parents, Martin Clunes and Hermione Norris on the beautiful Southwold coast.The Musketeers was shot in Prague so that was a highlight! I had some time to explore Prague, which is something I’ve always wanted to do. I was told I was good at ‘playing dead’ – is that a compliment?!

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Interviews

INDIELONDON – Ellie Bamber talks about landing the role of Dinah Lord in the Old Vic’s in the round production of High Society and what it feels like to be a part of one of Kevin Spacey’s final productions as artistic director (not to mention getting the chance to meet one of her acting idols).

She also reflects on her career to date, including working with Trevor Nunn early on, and looks ahead to the forthcoming cinema release of the kick-ass Pride and Prejudice and Zombies alongside Lily James and Sam Riley.

Q. How is High Society shaping up so far? It’s currently previewing, isn’t it? It must be quite challenging performing it in the round at the Old Vic?
Ellie Bamber: Yes and it’s been really enjoyable so far. It’s an amazing opportunity and the show is incredible. I’ve loved High Society for so long anyway. And I’m really enjoying performing it ‘in the round’ because obviously you have to think about conveying the story everywhere – not just in front of you. It’s completely different from most theatre in that there are so many different areas to project to.

Q. Is it nerve-wracking at all, stepping out onto that stage every night at such a prestigious London venue, in such a well-known play?
Ellie Bamber: It is. But I think I’ve always turned my nerves into excited energy. I just get really, really excited. I haven’t really got nervous in an apprehensive way to this point.

Q. And what do you like about playing Dinah Lord in High Society?
Ellie Bamber: Well, she’s a 14-year-old girl from a very wealthy family and I just really enjoy playing with that. She’s also a bit of a tomboy, which is fun, and I get the chance to sing on stage, which is great. I’ve always loved being in comedy because I love making people laugh. It’s certainly challenging because I’ve not done stage for a while. So, it’s tough in the way that you’re doing the same thing over and over again. It’s tough creating that same performance every night.

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Interviews

IRISH EXAMINER – Ellie Bamber has said Pride And Prejudice And Zombies will show that women can be just as strong as men.

The Falling star will play Lydia Bennet alongside Lily James and Matt Smith in the film based on Seth Grahame-Smith’s parody novel of Jane Austen’s Pride And Prejudice.

Ellie said: “I think it shows five strong powerful women leaders as the main feature of the film, and I think that’s the best thing about it, these five strong female characters. It shows a young generation that women can be as strong as men.

“It’s just great how it’s taken the Jane Austen text and created a whole new spin on it. It really is going to appeal to a younger audience and I think they’re going to find a new excitement in Jane Austen.”

The 18-year-old actress – who is currently starring in High Society at London’s Old Vic theatre – revealed she and her co-stars trained in martial arts for two months before filming began.

Ellie said: “It’s a very iconic character so I had to do a lot of research into it. But the main thing was that I spent about two months doing martial arts training because all five sisters are trained zombie fighters.

“I worked with some amazing people – Sally Phillips, who was hilarious, Matt Smith, Lily James, Suki Waterhouse.

“It was a really, really great experience. Burr Steers is a really great director and he’s brought me on leaps and bounds.”

Pride And Prejudice And Zombies was shot last year and will hit cinemas in February 2016.


Interviews

MUSICAL THEATRE REVIEW – Ellie Bamber is the rising star who plays the role of 14-year-old Dinah Lord in Maria Friedman’s effervescent revival of Cole Porter’s High Society at The Old Vic (opening tonight, Thursday 14 May). Ellie made her screen debut at the age of 15 alongside Martin Clunes in the ITV drama A Mother’s Son, having earlier appeared on stage in Trevor Nunn’s 2010 parlour production of Aspects of Love at the Menier Chocolate Factory. And, ticking off the holy trinity of stage, TV and movies (other credits include the film The Falling and BBC1’s The Musketeers), she’s soon to be seen in the big-screen adaptation of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, a mash-up based on the best-selling novel by Seth Grahame-Smith (written with a little help from Jane Austen). In it, she plays Lydia Bennet, the teenage sister of the film’s heroine, Elizabeth.

Common to all of Ellie’s roles is the fact that she’s yet to play someone of her own age or older, thanks largely to her gamine figure and baby face. She also has a child-like playfulness that makes her perfectly suited to the part of Dinah, the meddling teenager desperate to right the wrongs of the Lord family.

Musical Theatre Review’s CRAIG GLENDAY caught up with Ellie at the Old Vic in the afternoon following High Society’s first preview.

How are you enjoying the experience of being part of High Society so far?
Ellie: It’s been going really well, thanks. We had our first preview last night, so that was really, really exciting – it was a great night. I’m having an absolute ball on this show.

It’s been a while since you’ve been on stage…
Yes, it was quite a few years ago now, in Aspects of Love – Trevor Nunn’s production at the Menier Chocolate Factory. I really enjoyed it, and was so lucky to be cast.

You’ve now worked on stage, and on film and TV – do you have a preference?
No, I love all of them, and particularly stage and theatre – and TV! [laughs] It’s the diversity that I love. They’re all so different and you use different skills for each of them.

How is it working with Maria Friedman?
Maria is amazing. She’s so great. It helps that she’s an actress and singer as well, so she knows where we’re coming from when we need help. She really does understand what it means to be an actor. And she’s a lot of fun!

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