Alice Lowe, an actor, writer and now director, talk to Boar Film prior to her directorial debut Prevenge film. . However, not content to be a mere triple threat, she decided to make her debut into motherhood whilst directing her first film. Alice was seven months pregnant for the entire process of making her new film, Prevenge. The Boar got to sit down and have a chat with Alice about the film industry, directing and motherhood, all things we are wildly unqualified to talk about.
I put a lot of my sub-conscious up on screen, my fears and nightmares and dreams and strange things.
The film, in which Alice stars, is about a mother-to-be on a homicidal rampage driven by the supposed commands of her future bundle of joy. As dark as it sounds, this is comfortably within Alice’s wheelhouse. Before this she co-wrote and starred in Ben Wheatley’s black comedy Sightseers and started her tv career performing in Richard Ayaoade and Mathew Holness’ horror parody Garth Marenghei’s Darkplace. “I love horror and dark fairytales; I think when you’re doing comedy, you want to show the flipside of life, which is often quite dark. So, I don’t ever self-censor in term of ideas; I sort of put a lot of my sub-conscious up on screen, my fears and nightmares and dreams and strange things.” Not that her daughter actualised these fears in any way, “she’s the most chilled out, happy, relaxed little baby. So lucky me, but it’s funny I feel quite guilty because I’ve portrayed her on the screen as evil!”
Directing a film is a challenge. Having a baby is a challenge. Doing both at the same time seems more like a form of masochism. Alice, however, took both in her stride “It wasn’t part of a plan really, I pitched it to the company thinking they’d say ‘oh no we can’t get insurance for you as a pregnant woman’ but actually they came back and said ‘we love it’. I kind of felt like, if I could pull this off, there was no one that could tell me that I couldn’t direct a film.” In some way even, the added pressure of a baby was the most liberating part of making the film “It took a lot of the pressure off, it was like ‘it will be what it is’ because we had so many different constraints, but I’ll still be proud of myself because I’ve done this. So the reception’s been like the cherry on top really.”
I think that’s quite a good lesson, that you can get a lot more support just by asking.
What’s interesting is that the actual making of the film, was comparatively easy compared to what comes after. “I think [the press tour] has been far harder than making the film. Making the film, I felt great, I had a really nice time, I had loads of energy; it’s been more like travelling around with a small baby that’s been quite tiring. It’s things like taking a car seat and a pram and a baby and a suitcase and getting on to a train.” Not only the logistics of it, but trying to balance looking after a new-born and looking after a fledgling indie movie, is something of a tightrope “The older the baby gets the more she wants your attention and stimulation and is like ‘what can I do now’ and you know ‘well, not much because we’re on a train!’. But I think because of the nature of the film people know my situation, so I’m able to ask for help. I can say ‘I’m going to need this or I’m going to need that, I’m going to need a room so the baby can sleep’. I think that’s quite a good lesson, that you can get a lot more support just by asking.”
Every job I take I’m weighing up ‘am I being paid less than I will have to pay the babysitter?’
It seems to be a problem far wider than just the press tour, however; it just is not easy being a mother in a creative industry. “I think people who want kids who want to go in to the film industry, I think your eyes need to be opened. I mean in some ways it’s good because I don’t have as many rules. I don’t have an office with a boss saying you can’t bring the baby in, or you’ve got to work these hours. But on the other hand I have very little financial support. So when I’m not able to work, I have got no money. Every job I take I’m weighing up ‘am I being paid less than I will have to pay the babysitter?’ So it’s a separate set of concerns really, like ‘oh my god, I don’t have a proper job and yet, nappies are quite expensive.’”
Alice will be in the Arts Centre on the 26th of January at 6:15 to show Prevenge with a Q and A session afterwards.