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Maisie Williams Talks Gold, Accents, and GOT
07 Oct 2014 : Dylan Newe
Maisie Williams, more commonly known as the fearless Arya Stark from the global phenomenon Game of Thrones, is in Dublin to discuss her new role, that of Abbie in the offbeat new Irish film Gold (out October 10th), written & directed by Niall Heery (Small Engine Repair).

The story sees wandering loner Ray (David Wilmot) who returns after 12 years to reconnect with the daughter he left (Williams) and disrupt the lives of her Mom (Kerry Condon) and her partner and Abbieís hillariously single-minded running coach (James Nesbitt). Delivering a snarky, and then yet sweet performance the young star proves her considerable acting chops with the film and offers a very credible Dublin accent. IFTN spoke with Maisie on what attracted her to this Irish film, her millions of social media followers and the turns ahead for young Arya Stark.

If anything we actually tried to pull the accent back, cosí I didnít want to do like a Dick Van Dyke in ĎMary Poppinsí. I didnít want to insult anyone! "
Gold is a long way from The North Kingdom, how did you get involved with the film and what drew you to the script?

Well my agent got sent the script and we read it and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I went to the audition, and I did my take on a Dublin accent and they liked it I guess. Then I met Niall & everyone and we started rehearsing. Theyíd been working on the script for a long time and it was great, they were very open to any suggestions and changes and I liked that about it.

The film has been compared to the work of the likes of Alexander Payne and Wes Anderson, are those the kind of films that interest you as an actress?

The main thing that drew me to the script was how real the portrayal of Abbieís character was, what itís like to grow up in a family with two dads and that sort of base and when thatís being shaken around you; I just liked the way that came across in the script. And also to do an accent appealed to me and was daunting to me as well. But as an actress Iím constantly trying to grow and learn and do different things. There were so many things I had in common with Abbie which was so nice to do. And so nice to be able to relax and wear normal clothes, earrings and little things like that which make your day on set a lot easier, instead of being stitched into an outfit. And riding in cars rather than horses!!

ĎGoldí is also the first film that you've had the opportunity to play lead role in, how was that process of shooting and preparing compared to TV Drama?

It was so great to be there for the full process and to be such a big part of the final product, that was really nice. All four of the lead charactersí scenes coupled together make for a really strong story and itís so nice that you can take each one and follow just them and be really entertained and it was nice how that was incorporated distinctly into one whole.

You successfully manage to pull off a very convincing Dublin accent also, how was that?

Aww thank you, I hope I did okay! I had a coach and we went through the script and my scenes and that was really really helpful, and if anything we actually tried to pull the accent back, cosí I didnít want to do like a Dick Van Dyke in ĎMary Poppinsí. I didnít want to insult anyone!

The film was shot in the middle of a cold Dublin winter I believe, how was that experience? James Nesbitt set the tone by jumping right into a freezing river for his scene on the very first day?

I got really really sick during the shoot actually, it was the illest Iíve ever been! So there was a period during the middle of about two weeks that I was like really suffering and doing all these running shots in tiny shorts and t-shirts and that definitely didnít help! But it was really good fun and something that I now can add to the list of things that Iíve done - Iíve been a professional runner.

But yeah that scene, James...such a trouper man! Just came right in and ducked under!! So heís acting, doing his bit and getting pulled away but it was a really fast-flowing river, that was properly legit!!

The dynamic between Abbie & Ray is tense at first but slowly becomes warmer; was this something you worked a lot with David Wilmot on in rehearsal?

We had a few days of rehearsal before shooting, and it was such a pleasure to work with David and everyday it was so lovely to come on set. Thereís so much time spent waiting around between shots for lighting and all that and it was so much fun to just spend that time just messing around with him. And he doesnít take anything too seriously which is wonderful because I donít either! As the relationship progresses, weíd already gotten to that jokey messing around stage before Ray & Abbie did, which was funny because every scene it felt like I was either frowning at him, telling him how stupid he was or telling him to F-off, so when we finally get around to the scenes where we mess around and be friends it was really really lovely.

Arya Stark in Game of Thrones is one of the many independent, strong-minded female characters that weíve been seeing on screen in recent years between things like Hunger Games, Orphan Black and Divergent, how important is that to you as a young actress?

Iím so glad that Iíve come to this wave of female characters at the beginning of my career, itís been fantastic and I know recently that female characters have been written much better and much more realistically and Iím so glad that Iím a part of that!

Youíve developed a huge online following these days on social media sites such as Twitter, Instragram and of course Vine, do we see the real Maisie Williams there?

Thereís this whole segregation between famous people and normal people and itís just not real, and I guess Iím just trying to get that across to people. Just because thereís a certain few horror stories of people that demand this or demand that it doesnít mean that weíre all like that, and Iím just trying to prove that. But yeah just like any teenager Iím on Twitter and Instagram and itís just that mine is very different to theirs and a lot more people see it but in fact itís just a very normal thing for me to do. And obviously I could have it private but I want to show people what Iím really like cosí anyone can read an interview but to actually see a post straight from someone is quite powerful. My life is sometimes kinda crazy and there are posts from red carpets with big actors but then every now and then I do just come home and sit on the sofa in my pyjamas and pizza and thatís just the way it is, and itís nice to show people that. I know thatís what I love to see, I love to see actresses and actors that I like up to, I love to see them do normal things.

Speaking of Game of Thrones, we last saw Arya on the boat to Braavos, what can you tell us about the dark turns for your character next season?

Thatís it, weíre just gonna see her on the boat for the rest of eternity. No, the new season for Arya is going to be an exciting one, and we all say this every year, [adopts mocking American accent]ďThis year is gonna be so much better!!Ē of course but this year the show as a whole and everyoneís storylines do really pick up. There are scenes that Iíve read in the script that right now like this year I cannot wait until we release, we havenít even shot them and Iím like ďI canít wait to see them!!Ē. Not just for myself but for other storylines, there are really some really great moments! Sheís a very different Arya to the one that Iíve been playing and the one that I auditioned for back when I was little. Thatís exciting and nerve-wracking and itís going further and further out of my comfort zone.

'Gold' (distributor Wildcard) is on release in Ireland from Friday 10th October.

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