We chatted with actress Ellie Bamber about her new film "Nocturnal Animals," playing Jake Gyllenhaal's daughter, and the most surprising thing about Isla Fisher
You might not have heard of UK-born actress Ellie Bamber, but we have a feeling that’s about to change. The 19-year-old redhead plays Jake Gyllenhaal’s teenage daughter in the newly-released Nocturnal Animals (which premiered this weekend), and HelloGiggles was lucky enough to get to chat with her about the experience.
In case you haven’t heard, the movie is about a middle-aged art dealer named Susan (Amy Adams), who receives a manuscript written by her ex-husband (Gyllenhaal). The story then jumps between Susan’s real life, and the brutal, mysterious events of the manuscript — which deeply connects to their actual past.
It’s one of those movies that sticks with you long after you’ve left the theater and is a definite must-see if you’re in the mood for something quality that will leave you on the edge of your seat. It also stars Isla Fisher, Michael Shannon, and Aaron Taylor-Johnson.
While speaking with us about the film, Bamber proved herself to be unbelievably friendly, poised, and gracious (those Brits!), and gave us some insider intel about what it was like being the youngest member of the crew on such an intense project.
HelloGiggles: What were your thoughts when you first found out you were going to be in a Tom Ford movie, and you were going to be playing Jake Gyllenhaal and Isla Fisher’s daughter?
Ellie Bamber: I think I was super shocked to begin with and just so, so whacky. I remember the first time my agent rung me up to say Tom Ford liked me. I think I freaked out a bit.
HG: You’re not in many scenes in this film, but the scenes that you are in are arguably the most memorable. They were very brutal, and tough, and tense. How did you, as a relatively young actress, prepare for that kind of intensity?
EB: I spent a lot of time bonding with the cast, which I think was really important — to trust each other. And the same with Tom [the director]. I think there was also a sort of mentality that I went into the process with to begin with. It was all of those conventions together really. Also, we would listen to music [together as a cast], and just the fact that we had all hung out before. We all knew that we had the support of each other.
HG: What was it like when the director would call cut? Given the super intense nature of your scenes with Jake and Isla, it’s kind of hard to imagine like, talking about what you’re having for lunch between takes.
EB: I actually remember doing one take, and I was really, really crying. And I kind of wanted to keep up the crying between the take because I knew we were going again pretty soon…Just because I feel like it’s one of those things that takes more energy to stop and start again than to continue. And I remember Tom coming over to me and being like, “Ellie, are you okay? You can stop crying now.” [Laughing] And I was like, “Tom, let me go.”
There were times when I think we did just have to come out of it though. Isla’s very funny. We would just have a laugh in between. I think it’s very important to break up the intensity.
HG: What was the most surprising thing about working with Isla Fisher and Jake Gyllenhaal?
EB: That’s a really interesting question. I think working with Isla was really great. She is just so funny. There were times where I would just uncontrollably laugh. She cracks these jokes that just really, really make you laugh. I think working with them was just really wonderful because of how nice they are and how supportive they were with me, because I’m a young actress who’s relatively new to the whole industry. To work with them and have their support was just really special to me.
HG: What are you working on now, and is there anything you’d particularly love to do next?
EB: I have a few films. I have a small indie film called Extra Curricular Activities with Timothy Simons and Colin Ford, so that’s really exciting. It’s sort of a very authentic take on a high school film. Then I just finished filming Disney’s The Nutcracker with Lasse Hallstrom and a large array of incredible talent — Kiera Knightly, Morgan Freeman, Hellen Mirren, and I could go on! I have those two that will be out shortly.
And in the future I’d love to keep doing what I’m doing and keep doing things I’m really passionate about.