Young actress Izzy Meikle-Small
PUBLISHED: 14:18 20 January 2011 | UPDATED: 20:30 20 February 2013
Brighton College pupil Izzy Meikle-Small plays a vital part in the film adaptation of Kazuo Ishiguro's novel Never Let Me Go, released this month. Here she tells us about herself.
Where in Sussex are you from and how old are you now?
Im from Hove. I was just 13 when I filmed Never Let Me Go, Im 14 now but will be 15 in March.
When did you first become interested in acting?
I think my interest first started when I saw my Mum perform in various local amateur productions like Me and My Girl. I was very young at the time and was completely mesmerized by the whole experience. Apparently she was pregnant with me whilst doing Oklahoma! and then took me along to rehearsals with her when I was just a few weeks old because she was doing another production.
I guess you could say that its in my blood! So I joined a drama group when I was about 4, loved it and then just carried on!
What was your first role in public?
Apart from various school plays, it was the little orphan Molly in a local production of Annie when I was 8. I then decided that I wanted to try and do it properly so I asked my parents if I could join an agency or something they found a childrens agency who took me on. The first job I got was an advert that we filmed in Austria in the mountains just like in The Sound of Music! Id say my first proper role though was in a BBC production about Tchaikovsky (played by Ed Stoppard). I was cast as his little sister, Sasha, and we filmed in November in Lithuania it was absolutely freezing and I wasnt exactly dressed in modern day warm clothes! I think most of my scenes ended up being edited out though because they werent crucial to the story that was a very hard but important lesson for me to learn. Now I expect to be cut from scenes and any that do make it in, I treat as a bonus!
What was it like to be in the same cast as Carey Mulligan and Keira Knightley?
Well I first saw them at my final audition they had arrived to start rehearsing and I think my chin hit the floor as I hadnt expected them to appear! I hadnt actually got the part at that point but it made me want it even more! I found out three days later and screamed!
It was slightly daunting to be playing a younger Carey though because there was so much awards buzz about her performance in An Education (which she was later Oscar nominated for as Best Actress, won a Bafta plus countless other awards!). I knew everyone would be looking closely at her next project and I didnt want to let her down!
When I actually got to meet them, having been cast, they were both absolutely lovely! So was Andrew Garfield who plays Tommy in the film, and hes going to be the next Spiderman how cool is that?! I got to know Carey and Andrew better because they were often on set during our section of filming. Carey and I could talk over particular scenes etc and make joint decisions which was a fantastic opportunity for me to have.
They were all so lovely too at The London Film Festival in October. That was quite a surreal experience but Carey really tried to look after me, especially during the press conference because it was rather daunting to say the least!
Have you got any new projects on the go?
Well I made a short film in the summer called Disco which was written and directed by Luke Snellin he was Bafta nominated for his last short and so we have our fingers crossed that Disco will be as successful for him. Ive been auditioning for things on and off but so often it comes down to looking just right and I seem to be too young looking often to actually play near my age. Its frustrating but my Mum says Ill appreciate it one day! I did get to the last few girls for Martin Scorseses most recent film The Invention of Hugo Cabret but was beaten to the part by an American girl who has made loads of films! I guess I just have to keep my hopes up for the right part to come up in the future.
How do you manage to combine your acting with your schoolwork?
It's a constant struggle! My school is very supportive though, especially when I was filming Never Let Me Go as I was supposed to be taking my entrance exams during filming and had to take them late when all my friends had finished that was tough!
When youre filming there are strict laws about school work though and you're not allowed to film for more than a few hours a day and must do a minimum amount of school work.
Its pretty bizarre sometimes though as you could be studying in the most strange places on location and then be whipped away to start filming a really tough scene. Patience and tenacity are most definitely good virtues to have as an actor! At the end of the day its just all about juggling and trying to get the balance right.
Do you plan to continue with acting when you leave school?
Hopefully! It depends on how things are going by then. Id love to because I had such an amazing experience with Never Let Me Go. Acting feels very natural to me but Ill never forget this incredible experience even if it goes no further. Im also quite interested in studying either English Literature or possibly Law at University if the acting doesn't work out. Well see!
Do you have any favourite actors?
Although I havent seen all of her films, I love Meryl Streep, I think shes absolutely wonderful. My favourite performance of hers was in The Devil Wears Prada she was one cool lady!
Shes also had such a long career which I am very in awe of. I also adore Carey Mulligan I know its probably biased of me to say that but I dont care! She is an incredible young actress and such a wonderful role model for me to aspire to AND shes British!!
Do you have a favourite film, play or book?
I think that I am possibly the biggest Harry Potter fan, ever! I always wanted to be in the films but never got the chance and its a little late now, sadly. Ive read all of the books several times and when a new film is about to be released I always refresh my memory by re-reading that particular story again so that I can really get into the spirit of the film more!
There is also a new trilogy of books called The Hunger Games which I have been completely besotted by.!
Is there any role you would really like to do one day?
I would kill to be in The Hunger Games! (OK, not literally!) The main character is a girl called Katniss, but she's supposed to be 16 so Im too young... again! She has a younger sister though called Prim which I think I could really portray well.
It would be amazing if I was even considered or got a chance to audition as its yet another American project. Heres hoping!
Do you have any favourite places to go or things you like to do in Sussex when you have some spare time?
I love going for walks on the Downs with my family its beautiful.
We normally go every New Years Day especially.
Theres a pet shop in Hassocks which I love going to just to play with the kittens they just roam around the shop looking for cuddles!
Im also a bit of a shopaholic and love all the Lanes in Brighton the new and the old.
I love The Angel Bakery for the best cupcakes in Brighton and the Roly Poly fudge shop. I have rather a sweet tooth! If all else fails I may well have my own cupcake bakery in the future