| netribution > features > interview with hayley carr > page one |
| iWhat seemed like an awfully long time ago I was offered an interview with an especially colourful actress called Hayley Carr. She had just finished shooting an adaptation of a Martin Amis novel called Dead Babies and, as a fan of Amis I was already keen. Nevertheless the publicist decided to sell the opportunity to me with a rather insulting USP - namely, "She's an ex-Babewatch babe." Not wishing to appear prudish I accepted and chose to host it in an ex-favourite restaurant of mine called Quo Vadis. (They have this delightful little leather clad cubby at the back of the room, ideal for intimate rendezvous', interviews and the like.) I was early, hungover and famished so I ordered a large and expensive bourbon and the house speciality, 'Eggs Arnold Bennett', which is essentially a succulent omelette containing shreds of smoked haddock - marvellous. The presumptuous publicist (you know who you are darling) interrupted my brunch with a flowing but disconcertingly ravishing entrance, considering my smoggy disposition at least. She announced that the subject would be late - 45 minutes late to be exact so we chatted and I drank more and more and more. Within 5 minutes of Hayley's arrival I'd forgiven her, partly through alcoholic apathy but mostly for her shining beauty and Californian ebullience. This is my favourite interview to date, certainly not for professionalism, but for wanton gaiety and the fact that I had the company of 2 wonderful ladies for a matter of hours. I admit to all who read this that I'd scaled the lofty peaks of my tipple by the end of the afternoon. It's warm up there but my sense of humour invariably regresses to the level of a precocious (but I pray engaging) 9 year old in the middle of a table of encouraging adults. |
At least they are still talking to me. PS - Dead Babies is an hilarious, quite revolting and often macabre comedy and is on, sadly, a limited release from Friday 26 January.
|| by tom fogg | |
| photos by tom fogg|
| in london |
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What did your parents have in mind for you? No, and I still haven't even seen my sister in the nude.
They wanted me to be happy. My mum threw my sister and myself into the business at, gosh
the age of 4. She was working in a casting agency and was putting my sister in various plays but then an agent came to see her and she kept saying, 'but I have this 4 year old that likes to dance on tables.' They didn't want me but my babysitter didn't show up one day so I had to go along to the agency, I ended up sitting on the casting agent's knee telling my life story - they signed me right there.
How do you feel about your mum's decision to put you into the industry before you could really have a say?
Well she's big on keeping us humble and she'd always maintain that whenever we weren't having fun with it anymore then we should just jump out. There was a point when I had the choice whether to consider this as a career, should I quit my job, so my mum stopped working and I brought in the money. I loved it, the cameras on me, all the attention and I was able to do what I wanted. My sister dropped out and I stayed in, I did my first commercial when I was 4, it was a toilet paper commercial so that's probably how my career is going to end! My mum was my manager until I was 15 at which point we had to look at the boundaries of our relationship.
What is she doing now?
She's researching Shakespeare at the moment, she's into all sorts of shit like crop circles and fractals and all that stuff. My dad's Mr Conservative, he's a gofer trying to get on the senior PGA tour - he's really good. We all grew up with golf but on the side he's a property supervisor so he couldn't be more stable but it's kinda nice to have that contrast between them. I'm in between and I'm in it because I want to be in it, Dead Babies would be my first role as an adult and it took a while to free myself from that whole child star thing.
Did you always want to act on screen?
You know I think that the good TV work is great to start with because it's quick and you can get a reaction from the audience but right now I'm focusing on film because I love it. There are so many things you can do but maybe I'll go back to stage - I saw Fallen Angels last night and they were brilliant but I know how scary it is to get out there and do it.
You went to Central School of Speech and Drama like me didn't you?
Were you there too? I was here last January researching some schools and a good friend of mine recommended it so I went. It was a great experience but I got a little fed up with the whole 'be a washing machine' thing, all that shit is a little boring but it was a good experience. It led me to meet some people who were reading the Dead Babies script and I happened to ask if there were any Americans in it. A friend's friend was reading for the part of Keith, great actor called Jordan Long, I read the part of Roxanne and though, Holy Shit, this is me!
Had you read any Martin Amis?
To be honest, no I hadn't so that same day I went out and bought the book, started reading it and was blown away about what I was getting myself in for. Like you said, it's definitely the most grotesque comedy I've come across.
Quite disgusting - I love it!
Did you come from a family of exhibitionists?
Well that's a big disappointment to me.
Because I am, plainly an exhibitionist.
(laughter) It was definitely a strange thing for me but it was so worth it because I'm an actor and I'm always searching for different sides of me to express, it was fun and a nightmare all in one. I always said I'd do it if the script was good enough and what idiot would turn down this role?
Who did you play in For The Boys?
I played James Caan's daughter for a brief time, Bette Midler's niece.
Probably a pathetic question but what was it like to work with him?
Not pathetic at all. He's very much like who he is in real life, he tried to set me up with his son and always telling me that I'm cute and that his son would be perfect for me. He was brilliant with Bette Midler and she was just brilliant, what a star, she'd come down without makeup in rehearsals and just start singing. She'd then go back for a half hour, come back out as a real star, fully prepared but another great part of that experience was working with Mark Ridell, the director - he's a legend. That was my first experience of a big movie set and I was only 15.
How old are you now?
What are you going to do now?
Oh my God! Wait for 24 to come.
Don't do that, it's a really shit year.
Oh don't say that, please! (laughs) I've already walked down the black tunnel so I guess I'd better get on with things. I'm just going to keep looking for good roles, I don't want to be a flash in the pan - I've been acting since I was 4 and I just want a long career. I think Johnny Depp is brilliant because he's always picked interesting roles and I'm sure he's turned down the Brad Pitt type leading characters. I used to party with all those young Hollywood actors, I don't now, but I feel for people like Leonardo Di Caprio right now. He was doing so well with Gilbert Grape and then Titanic came along, he can act but the key to success is to pick the right roles, be wise and follow your heart. To go for what sells is, I think, a mistake for an actor.
I thought it quite refreshing to see a phallus in a film, at last.
I thought you were referring to me.
Why have you got one?
(laughs) I thought you meant a prick prick - an arsehole. No, it is weird.
It's a refreshing thing.
to see a prick?
As much as a full frontal of a woman.
I know, finally. It's like Basic Instinct where Michael Douglas wouldn't show his but Sharon Stone had to get everything out. That nude scene turned out to be a lot of fun, I was dreading it but that's what I'd learned from when I was little - when the camera roles you've just got to get into another world. If I'd looked like I was scared then it wouldn't have worked, she doesn't care and there's no emotion in the sex.
She's a pretty powerful character.
Did you think so?
Well she scared the shit out of me.
Oh really!? I'm so glad! (laughs) Thanks. My friend had read the book many times and he really wanted to know how I played Roxanne because she's schizophrenic and you can't play her like that - you can't play the obvious. I just tried to play her real, she doesn't think this is such a big deal so I hope she came off as a freak. Not a lot of thought involved to be honest because I'm still developing and trying to find my niche, I'm only 23.
(Pointing to a painting next to us) That's a bit like a fractal.
That's a Damian Hirst.
Oh really?It sucks.
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