Excerpts from an Interview with Ella Hunt

Star of “Anna and the Apocalypse”

Dallas, Texas

December 7, 2018

 

Ron Salfen:  Yeah, I work for an obscure rural newspaper.

Ella Hunt:  I come from a very obscure, rural place.

RS:  There you go.

EH:  It's not even a town, just a small farming community in North Devon in the U.K.  It's a tiny village, like in the movie, but it's fields and a few houses.

RS:  So how do you catapult yourself off the farm and into international stardom?

EH:  (laughs) Umm, my family were all artists.  So I grew up traveling a bit.  I was aware of how you become an actress because my Mum had done some acting.  I, from a very young age, was begging for an agent, and she said, “When the time is right, an agent will find you.”  I was thinking I'd be much older if I decided to act, and then when I was eleven I was very randomly doing a school play, of The Mikado, the Gilbert and Sullivan musical, and I was playing Katisha, wearing a fat suit and a kimono, and I had no idea that one of the boys I was playing opposite, his Dad was an agent!  And he saw me in it, and approached my Mum, and said I should act.  And I've been acting ever since.

RS:  What a start!

EH:  Yeah.  And I had to do this really fast tongue-twister of a song, so he knew I could sing, but I think it's really funny that my big breakthrough is a Christmas zombie musical. Fate is kind of like, laughing at me, “I'm going to deal you an awesome hand, but it's going to be weird.”

RS:  Yeah, and it is, but it's remarkable, too. 

EH:  Thanks.

RS:  I had a lot of empathy with you because yesterday, when I saw the movie, I was also asked to sing in a cemetery, at a graveside service, actually.  So I was singing in a cemetery, along with you.

EH:  That singing in the cemetery scene was so much fun to do.  It's this really spectacularly beautiful old cemetery where we were shooting, just half an hour outside Glasgow.  And that day Sarah, our choreographer, who also plays Steph in the movie, is beyond wonderful in real life.  And that day she says to me, “I want you to feel like you're dancing in your own bedroom, with nobody around.  Go crazy.  And Malcolm (who plays John) and I had the best time shooting that scene.  I even got to the high kick!

RS: So the dancing was no big deal?

EH:  It's not that, it's just that all the dancing in the film is an extension of the characters, expressing internal angst, and it wasn't about being formulaic.  It was actually about embracing chaos.  And that worked on a very indie budget, as well.  It wasn't like the dancing was all “easy-peasey,” we just tried to make it as comfortable for Anna as possible.

RS:  I felt for John when you told him you only wanted to be friends.  He looked so crestfallen!

EH:  Well, then he was good at his acting, then, wasn't he?  I really like that the film glorifies friendship, rather than teenage romance.  And I love that she doesn't run off into the sunset with a boy, and her relationship with John is very special.

RS:  What do you think happens after the last scene?

EH;  That last scene was always about Anna accepting the loss she's just experienced, that moment of coming down off this adrenaline high, and going ok, “Where to next?”  And I don't know where she goes next, but we know it'll be about survival, and I hope that she finds like-minded people.

 

Dr. Ronald P. Salfen, DFW Film Critics Association