Q&A with Donna Coulling

Helena recently sat down for a question and answer session with her PA, Donna Coulling. They chatted about Helena’s upcoming film The Young and Prodigious T.S. Spivet, read the interview below!

How and why did you become involved in this project?
Because I loved it and Jean-Pierre has always been my dream director. And frankly if he’d asked me to do a commercial for furniture polish I’d have done it. Plus he emailed and asked me, and I love him.

How much input do you prefer to have over the portrayal of a character? Is this harder to do with a character already established in a book?
No because if there is already a book there is a lot of information to draw on. If the character inspires you and the more coloured and nuanced they are the more details and ideas it gives you.

What preparation did you do for the role?
I learnt about beetles. (Given I don’t like insects this was a big thing – particularly handling maggots…). Read the books, got into science – looked at the world through an empirical lense. But she was also absent-minded and a dreamer. I didn’t have to research that…

Did you keep any of the props?
The insect belt – it’s a collectors belt for samples. I really wanted the diary, in fact Jean-Pierre and I had a fight over the diary – he got the original and I ended up with a photocopy.

What do you feel about the use of 3D brings to the film?
I’ve never seen 3D used in this way before it’s used not as an add on but is integral to the subject matter. It explores inside the boys head. Almost what it must be like to be literally inside someone’s head. It’s also like going to Canada on holiday, giving you a sense of space and being taken away without having moved from your chair.

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