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LOWE, SOPHIE - BLAME

LOWE WANTS TO GO HIGHER
She was first noticed for her title role in Rachel Ward’s Beautiful Kate and now stars in the thriller Blame, but even at 21 she’s already looking to sit in the director’s chair someday, she tells Andrew L. Urban.


Sophie Lowe believes in fate. “Oh, totally!” she exclaims. “Everything happens for a reason … say if I don’t get a role, it may be that it would have stopped me getting another role.”

"natural and unaffected"

Relaxed in sneakers and casual slacks, without make up and hair pulled back in a pony tail, Lowe is as natural and unaffected as her supporters claim as we chat in her agent’s office in Surry Hills. 

She looks as if she has just come from a rehearsal of her boyfriend’s band, The Go Roll Your Bones – a name they adopted after seeing it scrawled on a toilet seat. Lowe is directing, shooting and starring in a video clip about the band.

“We’re keeping the production as small as possible,” she says referring to her triple roles, “but want to make it as great as possible.” It’s a bit of low-level practice for really directing, something she is keen to do. She also loves dancing, music (is trying to form a band) and is “really into cooking … I just got a ‘whole food’ cookbook.” 

On the set of the upcoming 8-part ABC TV series, The Slap in which she plays 17 year old Connie, Lowe and cinematographer Andrew Commis would jokingly exchange movie making jargon and gestures. “I’d hold up two fingers for eyes and I’d say shall we do a two shot now, or let’s do the reverse …” It’s part and parcel of her curiosity about filmmaking.

“I’m always asking people what’s this, what’s that…”

But for now, Lowe is focused on promoting her latest film, Blame, a thriller written and directed by debuting feature filmmaker from Perth, Michael Henry. Lowe plays Natalie, one of five friends who hold schoolteacher Brendan (Damian de Montamas) responsible for the suicide of their friend, Alice – and after Alice’s funeral, attack him at his remote bush house, intent on faking his suicide. Natalie hides a secret that has a devastating effect on the group.

"I loved the script"

“I loved the script,” she says, “it looked like fun to do and challenging. And it turned out to be even better than I expected in terms of learning from the experience and the cast. The biggest challenge for us all was the heat: we were shooting during an extended heatwave and so we were keen not to do too many takes for the exteriors!”

She says that after making Beautiful Kate in 2009 making Blame she felt “more comfortable and confident about what I wanted to say in script meetings. I learnt how to express myself. It could be scary being around all those actors,” says Lowe, who has had no formal acting training. “But now I finally feel OK about saying I’m an actor.”

Blame screened in the Cinema des Antipodes section of Cannes Cinephiles at last month’s Cannes film festival, and attracted a flurry of buyers from various countries including US, UK, France, Central Europe, Turkey and even China.

Lowe turned 21 on June 5, 2011 and while she’s had a few roles in short films, it was Beautiful Kate that launched her career. “It was all new and I didn’t know how to control it,” she says referring to her craft. It was director Rachel Ward “who taught me to trust my instincts.”

"gamin quality"

Ward says it was Lowe’s “gamin quality” that appealed. “She’s just got this incredibly charming face …very watchable… it’s hard to articulate; she’s young and delightful and that’s innate. You can’t manufacture that. She is totally unpretentious, and her youth belies her intuition.” adds Ward.

It was Lowe’s work in Beautiful Kate which impressed another filmmaker, James Hunter, and prompted him to contact Lowe via Facebook to offer her the lead role of Nurse Rose in his upcoming World War I drama, One of Us. “I was amazed by her raw, natural talent,” he says. 

On a personal level, Ward says Lowe is “really girlie…she loves fashion and boys and you just hope this girl-woman transition phase she is going through will last. She is unusual, an individual.”

"hmmm, maybe I could try this"

Arriving with her family from Halifax, England, when she was 10, Lowe quickly adapted and made friends – although she rapidly lost interest in school. The one benefit she does value is a role in a school musical when she was 16. “Afterwards people kept telling me how good I was and so on and it felt really good on the stage … so I thought, hmmm, maybe I could try this…”

Lowe has been solidly supported by her parents: from the beginning, her mother Anne “was like my manager in a way”. Of her father, Ian, she says “he’s outgoing and enthusiastic, which is perhaps where I get my acting genes.” 

Secure in her career choice, Lowe says “people ask what if it doesn’t work out? But it will. I’ll never give up.”

(Blame: in cinemas from June 16, 2011)

First published in the Sun Herald

Published Sunday, June 19, 2011

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Sophie Lowe

BLAME







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