This week GetWestLondon did a feature on The Prey for the Hounslow Chronicle and, apart from the rather sensationalist headline, it’s a pretty good article and includes an interview with our leading lady Rebecca Van Cleave. You can view the feature online or read the full article and interview with Rebecca below.
Actress Rebecca Van Cleave who shot to fame as a naked body double in the Game of Thrones series five finale stars in a new short film shot in Isleworth. The actress stood in for pregnant actress Lena Headey in a harrowing scene from the hit show’s closing episode, aired on Sky Atlantic, in which her character Cersei is forced to walk nude through jeering crowds as a punishment. The 27-year-old, onto whose body Ms Headey’s head was superimposed, was instantly catapulted into the top 500 actors on the internet movie database IMDB as a result.In an exclusive Q&A with getwestlondon below, she describes the experience and the ensuing publicity as a “beautiful, crazy whirlwind”.
She plays the lead role in The Prey, a short horror film shot on the streets of Isleworth. The film, written and directed by James Webber, also features James Alexandrou, best known as Martin Fowler from EastEnders, and rising star Sam Gittins, who has appeared in Call the Midwife and Mr Selfridge. Mr Webber’s previous work with The Springhead Film Company includes the BAFTA longlisted Driftwood, which was also awarded the Coup de Coeur accolade at Cannes, and Soror, which was also shot around Isleworth and is currently on the festival circuit.
In The Prey, Ms Van Cleave plays Mel, who storms out of the car after a row with her boyfriend on the way home from a Halloween party and attracts some unwanted attention as she walks through the mean streets of Isleworth at night. The backdrop for this “urban horror with added bite” will be familiar to anyone who uses Isleworth station, with the action taking place on nearby streets including London Road and St John’s Road.
James Alexandrou and Rebecca Van Cleave in The Prey.
Mr Webber described the film, made in association with Mini Productions and the digital distribution platform Findie, as a departure from his usual style. “I usually make dramas but I wanted to do something completely different. The Prey plays around with horror conventions,” he told getwestlondon. “It was great to work with Rebecca. She contacted me after watching Driftwood, which she really enjoyed, and we’ve stayed in touch since then so it was good to finally team up.”
The 35-year-old, who is married to one of The Prey’s co-producers Poppaea Bicknell, moved to west London from Bournemouth a decade ago and lives in Oak Lane, Isleworth. Shooting on his doorstep has aroused the curiosity of his neighbours in the past, particularly when recording a heated row outside his own home for Soror, which was also filmed at the Royal Oak pub. “We filmed a big argument scene which was partly improvised and there was a bit more swearing than we’d expected but luckily we’d warned the neighbours about what was happening,” he said.
The Prey was shot over three cold, damp nights in Isleworth and, while the streets were fairly quiet, one concerned pubgoer did call the police, who the director said found the affair quite amusing. Mr Webber hopes to secure a number of festival screenings for The Prey, before it becomes available on the yet to launch website Findie. He is now working on his first feature film, a post-apocalyptic drama set in the Scottish wilderness. Having finished the script, he hopes to begin shooting next year.
Rebecca Van Cleave on The Prey and Game of Thrones
What made you want to appear in The Prey?
“I guess the simple answer is James Webber. I saw his film Driftwood at a festival and remember thinking: “Wow, this guy is seriously talented. I have to work with him.” A year or so later we reconnected by chance and he showed me the script for The Prey. I thought it was incredibly clever. Not your typical horror film. And I loved Mel as a character. I don’t want to say too much, as I don’t want to give anything away but she’s a complex gal. Lots of layers. James has a brilliant way of giving his characters this subtle, natural humour that I love. It was great creating Mel with him.”
What was filming like?
“As for the actual shoot, it was bloody cold (pun intended). Night shoots are always a different kind of beast, but we were very fortunate to have an amazing team that made the experience really enjoyable and relatively painless. The finished product really shows the calibre of people we had on board. I’m really looking forward to its release.”
What do you make of the reaction to the Game of Thrones season finale? Are you enjoying the publicity or is it a bit overwhelming?
“A mix of both I think. I wasn’t really expecting the news to get out and it all happened so quickly. It’s been very surreal. I’m definitely grateful for the positive response. I’ve received a lot of really lovely, supportive messages from people around the world. That’s been the best part probably. It’s lovely to see people lifting each other up instead of tearing each other apart. The rest of it has been pretty overwhelming. At the end of the day, I love what I do. I love acting and I want to do it every day for the rest of my life. That’s what’s important to me. If all this publicity gives my career some traction and helps me noticed and get more roles, if it helps the projects I’ve worked on (like The Prey) get seen by more people, then I’ll be really happy. I’m just a girl following her dreams. The rest is all just a beautiful, crazy whirlwind.”
Robert Cumber, The Hounslow Chronicle