Interview #25: Aude des Pallieres

Aude des Pallieres is a London based actor/writer with credits in both film and TV. Aude has appeared in films The Salzburg Story, Our little Haven, and Doll Factory:The Musical.

In 2019 Aude wrote and starred in Him and Her. The film follows a teenage boy who cross dresses and is at a cross-roads with his Gender Identity, calling on the help of his high school sweetheart to support him through it.

In April 2020 Aude will be starring in the second season of Flack alongside Anna Paquin, Rufus Jones and Sophie Okonedo.

Who or what was it that inspired you to become an actor?

Novels were a huge source of escapism for me and that worked my imagination and empathy hugely. I think that was a big part of it because we didn’t have a working TV always. Acting was this semi-conscious desire ticking away in my mind. I loved musicals for example, and films that took me far off places, like Moulin Rouge, Gladiator, Terrence Mallick’s “A New World”; I wanted to transport myself. But I was so shy and awkward I couldn’t fathom it.

At 17, I’d started taking acting classes after school and around Christmas time, I cold emailed a Casting Director and ended up taping for Star Wars during those open calls they did for the Lead (my headshot was a selfie!). Miraculously I got a call-back, and basically blacked out in there from nerves but I left feeling so alive! That’s the inspiration to act, it’s to exist more fully. I mean there’s SO many reasons but if I try to strip it back, I have a theory that it’s an instinct to tap into an essence of THINGS, of life. And that’s what the satisfaction is also from watching art as an audience. You get empathy, catharsis, then something we don’t quite have the words for. I get way too brainy about it but hey, I think about it all the freaking time. Like why I chose to prance around on sets with my time and not go save lives or something.

In a recent interview with OFN, Lucy Russell discussed her philosophy towards acting, she
said ‘No-one will ever do it like me (or like you, or like anyone else), so I just want to allow
myself to express me as fully as possible through my work’
. Do you have a personal philosophy towards your work?

I love Lucy Russell. I trained with her a bunch of times and she’s just a gift, watching her. I root myself in different philosophies based on what I’m currently struggling with. So, I guess RIGHT NOW the big acting philosophy is DARE TO SUCK. If you’re not ready to fail it means you’re not trying things which means you’re blocking creativity.

Are there any actors that influenced your approach or style?

YES! I’m a total thief, because my work is influenced by whoever I’m currently obsessed with. And right now, I’m binging “The Handmaid’s Tale”, so I’ve already noticed that every audition I do is just a little bit… creepier! But also, I grew up on actors like Johnny Depp, Jim Carrey, Kate Winslet, Marion Cottillard, Robin Williams, Eddie Murphy, Sandra Bullock and many more: and all these guys have this one thing in common – they’re not trying to be anybody else. They bring their very unique parts to the roles they play and that’s what’s watchable.

Him and Her
Dir. Abigail Scollay 
Cinematographer Jaryl Lim
Him and Her (2019)
Dir. Abigail Scollay – Cinematographer Jaryl Lim
You’ve worked in both TV and Film, how do you find switching between the two and are
there differences in the working environment?

TV just flashes by. It’s so quick, and incredibly efficient. More routine, you get in and do your bit – then it’s over before you know it! That’s been my experience, but I have yet to do long runs of it.

Then film is where I’ve developed closer relationships, you’re eating meals together for a month with cast and crew, grabbing a beer on your day off. Especially with lower budget films where the team is smaller. It also requires a lot more endurance as I’ll be shooting for weeks rather than days on TV sets. I’m pretty easy switching between the two, either way I get to do what I love, and I meet some amazing people.

You can be seen in the second season of Flack working alongside the likes of Anna Paquin,
Sophie Okonedo and Bradley Whitford. How did you find working alongside such an assorted cast and crew?

They’re all so great at what they do! It’s such a blessing to work alongside. They’ve all been at it for much longer; so, they’re just total professionals. They barely miss a beat and can switch it on in a second. What I loved watching as well is how simple they keep it. They don’t add any glitter, and that’s a great lesson. They just don’t try too hard and trust the process.

In 2019 you wrote and produced your first short film Him & Her. What motivated you turn
to writing and how did you find the experience?

I’d always wanted to write! It’s just so darn difficult haha. I much prefer saying other people’s words. But I constantly get visuals in my head and desperately want to find ways of getting them out. Him and Her actually came about with my partner Jonathan Jude who is also an actor. “She’s Not There” is the book by Jennifer Boylan which sparked the whole thing. We were chatting about it and he turned around and said, “what if we made a short?” – like, based on this idea of a couple and one of them exploring his/her gender identity. And as we were talking about it, we were seeing the same thing, the same colours, the same pace and we got obsessed. We went to a café and scribbled up the first draft-ish and some kind of amateur shot lists.

Him and Her (2019)
Dir. Abigail Scollay – Cinematographer Jaryl Lim

What followed was 3 months of putting the whole thing together and non-stop rewrites. It was TOUGH. Going from not knowing what the hell we were doing to getting it to the finish. We really wanted to show this notion of gender fluidity from an innocent perspective (hence the high schoolers) who aren’t burdened with rigid ideas and judgments. Also, the natural heartbreak of it for the lovers whilst also showing it was okay. And that love surpasses identity. That they support each other through everything. It was our way of leaving a positive note on all these discussions circling Gender Fluidity because a lot of films depicting transgender men or women were told through a tragic lens. And we’re going, well it’s a real bumpy ride but it isn’t tragic, it just is. And it’s beautiful.

How did you find the process of creating a character on both page and screen?

SO BIZARRE. It was actually disturbing acting out the words I’d written only a month or so before. Now the hardest part was snapping out of ‘producer mode’ on the day of shooting and if I hadn’t known the character and the story inside out because I’d written it as well, then I would have been screwed because I just wasn’t in the mindset. Luckily, I basically had to do nothing because the words already carried all the life for me. The story was embedded. That was pretty cool to experience. The writing did all of my character prep.

How do you plan to distribute the film?

Well we did a festival run and that was pretty successful. We’re still submitting it to several competitions and have put it on Vimeo finally for all to see. Hopefully we get some traction. The most important thing now is to make sure it’s being seen. Because it’s got an important message. We’ve been getting amazing and very moving responses already – and that’s the best.

Him and Her (2019)
Dir. Abigail Scollay
Starring Aude des Pallieres and Jonathan Jude
What do you most enjoy and least enjoy about the filmmaking process?

Most enjoy, is the bit where we do all the acting… that little window, and the people! Least enjoy: Wrapping. I’m really bad at saying goodbye to it all. Oh, also seeing the first edit of a film you’ve made. It’s just never what you expect; and nausea is not an uncommon reaction.

What’s next for Aude des Pallieres?

Keep improving, keep auditioning, keep creating content that matters to me and I’m open to anything that happens next. Then there’s the lockdown obviously… I plan on giving a lot of hugs after this has calmed down a bit. We’ll see!

What advice would you give to anyone starting out as an actor?

Just practice. Any way you can. In front of your mirror, in the shower, in a class, do student films, short films, film yourself, read out loud to yourself. Literally do anything.

Flack season 2 premieres April 13th 2020.

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