As many readers know, I am currently writing a book about the Naomily phenomenon and its significance in popular culture. My research has involved talking with the creative personnel behind Skins, and I recently released an excerpt of my interview with Lily Loveless inan AfterEllen.com exclusive. The reaction by fans was tremendous, as was the demand for a follow up featuring Kathryn Prescott.
Therefore, it is with great pleasure that I present this sneak preview of a conversation that covered a wide range of themes, including acting style, the Naomilystoryline and the many facets of Emily’s character, interaction with fans, career goals and the inside scoop on what was happening behind thescenes during the filming of some of our favourite moments from Generation 2. Special thanks to Kat for being so generous with her time and granting permission to publish this interview!
Ann-Marie Cook: How did you get involved with acting?
Kathryn Prescott: I’vebeen interested in acting literally for as long as I can remember. I always did amateur dramatics. I never got the lead part in anything, even in any of my school plays, but I was always in them. I joined a Saturday group or Sunday group called Grease Paint and did singing, dancing and acting. I was there for a couple of years and then realised that I didn’t want to sing or dance, I just wanted to act. I left there and I went to another drama school, Mountview, and that’s where I met Lily.
That was just a Saturday class as well. But we didn’t speak very much; it was really weird, we didn’t not get on. Then I joined another drama group as well, did a couple of things with them and then me and mysister both decided we should get an agent because we heard that was kind of how you take the next step. My dad knew someone whose daughter was in this agency, so we went for an audition and joined with them. A couple of years with him and didn’t get very much. We joined Spotlight [actors’ directory] and we got a couple of auditions and then we got theaudition for Skins.
AMC: How did your interest in psychology develop?
KP: Iwent to college after I finished school and I was looking at the list of topics that they did. I want to act but I also want to have some qualifications. I did textiles and fashion because I wanted to do something arty, but I was bored with doing just sculpture and painting, so I did textiles because we got to make a lot of stuff and play around.I did philosophy because I always wanted to do philosophy.
We did religion, existentialism—it was my favourite subject apart from psychology. Then I chose psychology as well and I just completely fell in love with it. I kind of realised everything I was learning in psychology was really helping me with acting, you see all these explanations in people that you know. It just helps you match up loads of things within people and that obviously helps you portray someone else; you know what their family is like.
AMC: How did your psychology background influence the way you understood and portrayed Emily?
KP: Youlearn about certain things in psychology. You learn about relationshipswithin families and how they affect you later and how your experiences affect your behaviour. When you’re given a script it’s kind of like in psychology if you’re given a case study. You have to go through it and you’re like, ‘Right, this is what she might have and this is what she might be like.’
That’s what I do with a script. If the writers tell you what their family is like—like Emily was a twin and she was always overshadowed by this bossy, horrible twin and her mum is quite oppressive, so she’s kind of inverted herself. But it doesn’t mean she’sa rubbish person, she’s just completely inverted and so you can just see what kind of issues she might have. The only reason that I’m interesting in acting or psychology is the same thing: I’m fascinated bypeople and what makes them tick and what makes them change and all these other things. So they’re perfect combined.
AMC: So did you psychoanalyse Emily as part of your preparation for the role?
KP: Alittle bit. I’m not a master, but it definitely, definitely helped. Thetwin stuff, obviously, because I know how I would feel if Meg was really like that. Reading the relationship that Emily obviously had withher mum, you can kind of guess how that would make her.