Elizabeth Healey chats with us about Across the River and more

We caught up with talented English actress, Elizabeth Healey (Doctor Strange), who stars in the honest and charming two-handed drama “Across the River”, which receives its London premiere on June 18th at the East End Film Festival, and co-stars Keir Charles (Man Up) and had a chat about the drama, Benedict Cumberbatch and more.

Directed by Warren B. Malone, Across the River is an “ex-love story” about recapturing lost love, following your dreams, responsibility and modern life. Emma has it all as a successful lawyer: Barrister husband, lovely children, and great house in Chelsea. Ryan is trying to build an elephant out of sand on the Southbank. He was her first love; it ended badly many years ago and they haven’t crossed paths since. It’s awkward at first but they then find they have one thing in common: a strike has paralysed public transport and they need to get to their homes on opposite sides of the river. On their way, they reminisce, argue, cry and laugh. They can never recapture what they had, but the memory of it tempts them. So what now?

Elizabeth stars as Emma, and her impressive acting credits cover both stage and screen, including Marvel’s Doctor Strange alongside Benedict Cumberbatch and Rachel McAdams, One of Us with Adrian Edmondson and Juliet Stevenson, the critically acclaimed Mum’s List with Rafe Spall and Emilia Fox, BBC’s Waking the Dead, Casualty and Silent Hours alongside Hugh Bonneville. Her film, Half Term, had an incredibly successful festival run, with numerous wins and an acting nomination for Elizabeth at the Sacramento International Film Festival. With a majority of the acting and dialogue in Across the River improvised, the lead stars were provided with a unique opportunity to showcase their talents, with the film recently creating a buzz at the Manchester Film Festival.

Elizabeth Healey chats to Blazing Minds

Was there a moment when you recognised that being an actress was going to be a big part of your life?

Yes, there was, when I was about nine or so. It was the turn of my class at school to hold the assembly one morning and we were acting out a little story. In this story I was playing the sort of ‘lady of the manor’ character lounging on a school bench, doubling up as a chaise longue. I remember feeling very excited and buzzy about being in front of the whole school audience but strangely calm. I loved that feeling and I think that was when the acting seed was first sown.

What directors/producers/actors have been inspiring and influential to you and why?

That is a hard question but I guess going by what kind of films I love to watch then Mike Leigh, Lars von Trier, David Lean, Andrea Arnold and Danny Boyle come immediately to mind. I guess what I love about all of their work is how brave it is. In terms of actors, Juliette Binoche is just incredible. Everything she does rings true and her emotional honesty on screen is second to none.

Have you had the chance to meet any of them that have been influential to you?

Mike Leigh yes and Danny Boyle is a patron of East End Film Festival so it would be wonderful if I bumped into him there…who knows.

What did you enjoy the most about filming in Across The River?

What is unique about ACROSS THE RIVER is that the film script was completely improvised.  So, although there was some rehearsal before the shoot itself, once we were rolling it was totally up to Keir Charles who played Ryan, and I how the scene played out, so we effectively created the script in the moment, which is why it feels so real and fresh I think. I loved working this way – it was a totally collaborative process from beginning to end and was a brilliantly creative film to be involved in.

Without giving anything away, what’s your favourite line of dialogue from the film?

I think it has to be the line that Ryan says to Emma ‘You’re my ET’. I won’t tell you where it comes in the film…..you’ll have to look out for it!

Besides this movie, what has been your most favourite role that you’ve played?

I think Goodness that is a hard one. Every character has its merits and its challenges. One has to be Emilia in Othello, just because she is so feisty and passionate. But to be honest, it has to be the character of Emma in this movie – she goes through quite a transformational journey during the course of the film and for a while has the chance to shrug off all the responsibilities of everyday life and rediscover what it feels like to be a child again. That was heaven to play – I loved shooting this film.

What has been your most challenging role that you have played?

That is easy – anything written by the playwright Howard Barker – his work is incredibly challenging but so rewarding to play. You always feel like you are slightly on the edge of the precipice, which is a great place to be for an actor because you have to dig deep and in doing so discover things you never knew.

One for our readers that are Marvel Fans, what was it like working with Benedict Cumberbatch on Doctor Strange?

It was really great working on Doctor Strange. Everything is so carefully considered, beautifully crafted and meticulously executed – the production values are second to none and Benedict was lovely, incredibly talented and a consummate professional.

Many thanks to Elizabeth for chatting to us, don’t forget to look out for Across The River.

Karen Woodham
Karen Woodham is the founder and owner of the Blazing Minds. She is also a Cinema reviewer, based at the Scala in Prestatyn and at the many Cineworld screens, where she reviews the latest movies, she has also had several articles published in various publications. In 2015 she became an Award Winning Blogger and also has her website listed as one of the UK's Top 10 Film Blogs.
Karen Woodham
Karen Woodham