Actress Daphne Alexander chatted with HNA’s Markos Papadatos about her film “Beckett” and her Cypriot heritage.
On being a part of “Beckett,” she said, “It was a delight from beginning to end. First of all, it’s a great story and it was a joy to tell a small part of it along with the rest of the brilliant cast and crew, who were all marvelous, kind, and talented. It was a particular joy to work with two special individuals, John David Washington and Vicky Krieps, and with a genuine and thoughtful director, Ferdinando Cito Filomarino.”
“It was also incredibly chaotic, in the best possible sense! The production booked the entire Syntagma square for a whole day of filming (unthinkable, if you know Athens at all) in order to stage a riot. What’s more, my character, a serious British-Greek journalist called Thalia Symons, ends up accidentally getting tear-gassed in her attempts to find out what is going on,” she exclaimed.
“It was so much fun and also very exciting to see Athens transformed into a film set like that,” she added.
Regarding her daily inspirations as an actress, she said, “I am inspired by the work ethic, talent, and endless hard work of my colleagues and fellow actors who have braved through this wretched pandemic and remain optimistic through thick and thin.”
On being an actress in the digital age, she said, “It’s a very interesting time. A whole load of new opportunities have arisen during the pandemic (as other work, such as live theatre, were sadly temporarily eradicated).”
“Personally, I enjoyed taking part in a lot of online ventures, such an all-day reading of a new translation of The Odyssey for Jermyn Street Theatre in London and several monologues and poetry readings. We even shot a short film with my husband on our balcony, during the first lockdown, called ‘Lullaby.’ It was a surprisingly creative time,” she exclaimed.
On her future plans, she said, “I feel very lucky because I am living through a very filmic summer here in Athens. I have just finished working on a fantasy feature film called “Minore”, created by Konstantinos Koutsoliotas and Elizabeth Schuch. It involves mysterious otherworldly creatures and a misfit band of quirky characters trying to stay alive amidst the chaos.. it was enormous fun to shoot.”
She continued, “And now I am preparing to take part in a film about the Asia Minor Catastrophe, ‘Smyrna My Beloved,’ written by Mimi Denissi (who also plays the lead role) and directed by Grigoris Karantinakis. It is a subject that is close to every Greek person’s heart and it is a huge privilege to be a part of what promises to be a Greek period film that faithfully recreates that very important and painful time in our history.
Alexander opened up about her Cypriot heritage. “Funnily enough, my great great grandfather did hail from Asia Minor, but I am, other than that, proud to be from Cyprus. Born and bred there. All my family is Cypriot and they all still live there. I went to the UK for my studies and ended up staying there for 15 years, more or less! But I do visit home as often as I can and I am very attached to my roots,” she said.
She listed Dame Judi Dench and Hugh Grant as her dream acting partners in life. “Dame Judi Dench is definitely one of them. She is a magical person and every time I have seen her on stage or screen I have been utterly entranced. I would also like to work with Hugh Grant because I have adored him since I was a teenager and I think he is just brilliant,” she said.
On her definition of success, she elaborated, “One of my favourite poems is Wild Geese by Mary Oliver Wild and it starts: ‘You do not have to be good. You do not have to walk on your knees, for a hundred miles through the desert repenting. You only have to let the soft animal of your body, love what it loves.’ I think that might be it.”
She concluded about “Beckett,” “It is a drama thriller, set entirely in Greece: the action starts in Trikala and Ioannina and ends up in Athens. It follows an American couple vacationing in Greece who become the target of a manhunt after a devastating accident. It is intriguing and tense, with some wonderful performances. Plus you get to see a lot of Greece, and who doesn’t like that? It is scheduled to have its world premiere at the 74th Locarno Film Festival on August 4, 2021 and will be released on Netflix soon after that, on 13th August. I am certain it will be a smash hit.”