“Game of Thrones has totally changed things for me,” said Ellie Kendrick who plays Meera Reed in the smash-hit series.
“It’s a privilege to be involved in something that is seen across the world and it has definitely opened doors.
“Also I have learnt crazy things like skinning rabbits and shooting a bow and arrow – classic life skills.”
The Greenwich-born actress joined the award-winning television show in 2012 and is on our screens in the current sixth season. But she had a break from the show in 2014 and turned her talents to the big screen, shooting two very different films, both of which will be screened at the East End Film Festival with runs from Thursday, June 23-July 3.
In Native she and Rupert Graves play aliens who travel across the universe to the source of a distant transmission, which turns out to have come from Earth.
Love Is Thicker Than Water is a modern-day Romeo and Juliet story in which Ellie plays the sister of well-to-do Vida who falls for bike messenger Arthur.
“It was really lovely working with Rupert,” said Ellie from her home in Deptford. “He’s so cheeky and we got on very well.
“The film is quite dark a lot of times so we were lucky to have him at the centre of it as he is very mischievous as well as being a very dedicate actor who makes lots of interesting choices. He was fantastic at boosting everyone’s moral and keeping us going.”
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Native was shot in just two weeks in a disused sports centre in Dagenham, a “weird post-apocalyptic ghost town” said Ellie who’s character Eva, a telepathic alien, is literally worlds away from her.
“She is very physically strong and mentally determined and has been raised in this cultish population, whose power structure is based on bees so is all about co-operation and having a hive mind and sacrificing yourself.
“The result is Eva is very hard and concentrated and isn’t allowed to feel emotion or feel like an individual and that problem becomes questioned.”
Ellie’s first acting experience was as Artful Dodger in a school production of Oliver and she had small roles in Doctors and Waking The Dead before her big break aged 17 playing the lead role in a five-part BBC adaptation of The Diary Of Anne Frank.
Ellie said she was lucky to have played really interesting characters such as a farmer’s daughter in upcoming film The Levelling and a pregnant former heroine addict who had just come out of prison in Pests.
She enjoys playing Meera in GoT as her femininity is never an issue.
“So many female characters that is always referenced but with Meera is pretty much always just doing her stuff and being bad ass.”
But playing Eva was a huge step away from her own personality.
“I never workout, she is obsessed with her fitness regime. I’m very disorganised and scatty and she is very meticulous and scientific. I speak very fast and my conversation is all over the place. With her every word is very balanced and measured.
“I loved playing her because she was a complete escape.”
She is excited about seeing the results of her hard work at EEFF for the first time when Native is screened at Genesis on Friday, July 1.
“As an actor you are involved in a project very intensely for a brief period of time and it is your life but you have no idea when you leave it when it will come out. So when it does it is a joyful thing because you can come back to it anew and its like getting a lovely present through the post.”
Her other film Love Is Thicker Than Water will be screened at Rich Mix on Saturday, June 25. It was also shot in two weeks in and around London but was a totally different experience involving “collaboration, improvisation and madness”.
“It will be really interesting to see them both at the festival because they are two really different low budget films and the opposite to the epic sprawling production of Game Of Thrones. It was nice to have a change.”
As Meera she caused controversy recently when she appeared to sacrifice popular character Hodor (Kristian Nairn) to save Bran Stark.
“Kristian was such a part of our gang for so long and I totally didn’t see it coming that he would be gone, “ said Ellie.
“I’m saddest out of all the characters to see him go but, hey, Game Of Thrones holds no prisoners.”
Before the seventh series starting shooting later this year, she is working on the script for a short film, Silly Girl, directed by Hope Dickson Leach, and a new play on a writing group for The Royal Court Theatre.
So will Meera even be in the seventh series?
“I don’t even know and I’m not sure if I’m allowed to say what inkling I have,” said Ellie. “People always expect me to know a lot about where my character is going but I have no idea. I find out at a certain time every year, normally the end of summer, that I might be in it and then you don’t even get the script a couple of weeks before shooting. So who knows what is going to happen?
“I normally get the script in a block and that is always a really exciting, terrifying and nail-biting moment. You are leafing through all the pages going ‘Do I die? Do I die?’"
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