Geek Vibes Interview with ‘MAGICAL JOURNEY’ Actress Harriet Slater

Harriet Slater, known for her role as Sandra Onslow in “Pennyworth”, stars in Emily and the Magical Journey, a new fantasy film currently available on DVD and Digital from Uncork’d Entertainment. We had the chance to talk to the lovely, versatile thesp about the film, her role in “Pennyworth” and suffering through lockdown in North London.


Where are you these days, Harriet?

Right now I’m at home in North London, waiting for the results of the US presidential election and wrapping my head around lockdown 2.0 in the UK!

Have you been lucky enough to not have to relocate for any jobs yet?

I haven’t had to relocate for an extended period for any Film or TV jobs yet. In 2016/17 I worked in regional theatres around the UK, so I lived away from home for a few months at a time, but I loved it. I really enjoy getting to travel to new places for work. The last couple of years I’ve lived and worked mainly in London.


So, “Pennyworth” and “Emily and the Magical Journey” were shot in your own neck of the woods?

“Pennyworth” is shot at Leavesden Studios, which is only a short journey for me – which is a blessing when I’m needed in Hair and Makeup at 6am! For “Emily and the Magical Journey” I spent a few days in Sweden for the first time. Malmö has amazing falafel, which as a vegetarian I massively appreciated.


Did the role in the film come about as a result of the TV series?

The film was shot in the Summer of 2018 and I auditioned for “Pennyworth” shortly after in November. “Emily and the Magical Journey” was my first professional screen role. I was really grateful to the team behind it for giving me that opportunity.


For those that haven’t seen the wonderful trailer, let alone the fantastical film, how would you describe it?

It’s a beautiful film with a really hopeful message about facing your fears and believing in yourself and your dreams. I think it’ll appeal to the whole family because of the parent-child relationship at its heart. For me, it’s about holding onto a sense of wonder and adventure and allowing yourself to play. It’s told through the eyes of a child and visually it really captures the vivid imagination that kids are capable of. It’s perfect escapism from everything going on right now and a wonderful reminder of what’s important in life.


If you had to compare it to another film, which one would it be?

I guess it explores similar themes to “The Neverending Story”. I have clear memories of watching that film as a kid because it was so fantastical and there seemed to be no limits to what was possible in that world. “Emily and the Magical Journey” is unlike anything I’ve seen in a really long time, which is partly what drew me to it in the first place.


We can’t let you go without asking about “Pennyworth”. How is it going?

It’s going well, thanks! We’re only a couple of weeks away from wrap now. We were about a month into shooting when everything got shut down because of the pandemic, but the producers were wonderful and stayed in touch with us over lockdown, so the thought of getting back to it really kept me going. It’s been a very different experience shooting in a post-Covid world with all the new regulations, but I feel safer at the studio than anywhere else right now. I can’t wait for Season 2 to be released. It’s been a lot of fun.


Were you a comic book fan, or even a Batman film, before getting the series?

I can’t say I was a comic book fan, but I had a huge appreciation for the success of the franchise. I’ve always mostly enjoyed films which focus on relationships between people, but as soon as I got this job I watched “The Dark Knight” trilogy and have since become a much bigger action fan! That’s partly why I love “Pennyworth” so much, because it really embraces both.

What do you attribute to the show’s success?

I think there’s something in it for everyone, whether you’re a DC fan or not. It really doesn’t shy away from complex characters and relationships, as well as being dynamic and action-packed. The fact that it’s a prequel to Batman leaves it open to so many possibilities for these characters who we don’t actually know a whole lot about. I love the fact that it’s set in 1960s London because it was an era of big social and political changes and a really exciting time for pop culture. I’m obsessed with the fashions! And from an acting perspective, the writing is a treat.


Has it opened a lot of doors for you?

I’ve learnt a huge amount. I had very little experience of screen acting before, so the majority of what I now know about that has come from learning on the job and from watching the rest of the cast, who are a dream to work with. I have a couple of projects potentially in the pipeline but it’s hard to say because the world is so unpredictable right now… Fingers crossed!

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