Interview With ESCAPE’s Sophie Rankin Ahead Of Cannes Screening Of Howard Ford’s DarkGame
International actress and model Sophie Rankin has definitely had a very busy and unique acting career over the years having worked in films and TV shows all over the globe! She’s travelled the world, lived in The Philippines where she spent 5 years, Africa and also China where she worked as a public speaker and now as she’s back in London we thought we tie her down to an interview before she’s tempted to hop on another plane!
With about 15 TV shows and 22 feature films under her belt 7 of which she’s just completed and 2 of which are being released this year, The Fan Carpet were a little excited about this chat with her!
Sensational actress Sophie Rankin reveals insights into her acting career and her upcoming very talked about movie ESCAPE directed by Howard J. Ford in this exclusive interview with The Fan Carpet‘s Marc Jason Ali!
If we go back to the beginning, was there a defining moment for you to get into the Entertainment Industry?
Hey Fan Carpet! I would say that my entrance into the acting industry was fairly gradual but as an entertainer after I’d finished studying and trained as an actress I actually got into modelling and dancing first. I grew up doing gymnastics which was a huge part of my life as a child as I trained three times a week and competed for my county.
So, through having that background I initially got into commercial dance and ended up doing 32 music videos! All aspects of the entertainment industry are quite well connected to other parts I find so through that I started being asked to model for various beauty brands and then got scouted by a modelling agency and went on to do more modelling and TV commercials.
I then moved to London and auditioned for every acting job that I could find and built up a lot of acting experience, got an agent and then the acting jobs I was getting began to increase!
I’m proud to say that I’ve now done about 17 TV shows and 22 feature films all over the world!
What was it about ESCAPE that made you want to be a part of it with such a prolific director in the independent space in Howard Ford, and what can you tell us about the story and your character without giving away spoilers?
Howard is such a brilliant director and we’d known each other for about 8 years before we actually worked together having met initially at Cannes Film Festival. Back then I watched the premiere of his Never Let Go movie and was genuinely blown away by how amazing the film is!
It really moved me because I saw such incredible talent in it, so much depth and just a through and through awesome film right in front of me so I instantly knew that I wanted to work with him. We always planned on making this happen but then I emigrated hahaha and was doing TV shows and films in Asia and he was busy with incredible projects elsewhere so it was only when I moved back to the UK a couple of years ago that we finally had a chance to actually work together!
I did a casting and we had a few meetings about the film back when it was still in the very early stages of development and I really admired his positivity and hardworking determined approach to just go out and create something amazing and enable these visions that he’d had of certain aspects of the film and events in it that would arise come to life!
We worked closely together on some of his ideas and to start with filmed a teaser trailer and initial scenes for the film in the Canary Islands. The footage that we filmed was extremely well received and you will know it back then as The Canyon! From that, Howard came up with more incredible ideas for this larger than life movie that would evolve and this movie gradually became Escape and one that I am so proud to be a part of!
Howard is incredibly talented and his work and abilities are really unique as he can literally do everything behind the camera including all of the technical stuff so he can basically play the part of every crew member when he’s making a film if he chooses to!
I’m also in DarkGame playing a character called Fay that Howard also directs and that’s another fantastic movie starring Ed Westwick and the premiere market screening for that is actually happening at Cannes Film Festival this month so I’m extremely excited about that film too!
In terms of the storyline for Escape without giving too much away it’s a revenge thriller movie based on human trafficking. It’s about 10 girls who are kidnapped by a horribly brutal human trafficking gang run by the wonderfully villainous Sean Cronin! My character Lucy and Karla played by the super talented Sarah Alexander Marks aren’t planning on letting these sickos have their evil way so we hatch an escape plan together! It’s a nonstop action-packed movie full of some pretty intense hypnotic scenes drawing you in at all times!
As for my character Lucy; I had the very best time playing her! She’s one of the lead roles and she’s a very feisty dancer!
To start with, you see her as this fun young confident girl with a real sense of adventure and then more of her depth is revealed as the film progresses. She’s an extremely strong character who’s determined to survive no matter what and against all odds regardless of what’s thrown at her!
There’s a real fire inside of her and she has a massive desire to get revenge that’s fuelled by events in her past which still haunt her. She believes in giving people what they deserve and not letting bad people get away with their wrong doings.
What does it mean for you to be a storyteller and tell stories in this way?
It honestly means so much to me to be able to step into the mind of someone else and to have people watch a character I’m playing come to life! It gives me a real sense of responsibility to play the role with a sense of true authenticity. I like to use elements of emotional memory when bringing a character to life to help internalise the characters essence and what they may have gone through and link it too maybe something that I’ve been through.
So basically if I’m playing a sad or angry role it really helps if someone’s pissed me off just before I go on set hahaha!
But all in all, I feel as everyone can relate to someone, I like to portray that character and what they’ve been through in a genuine way to honour how someone else might be able to relate to them or a situation that they may have also been through that’s affected them.
What is your preferred genre, and do you have any favourite films?
My preferred genre to watch is probably comedy but my preferred genre to act in would be horror, action, thriller and comedy haha! It’s really hard to choose my favourite between those four because I love acting in all genres and the more the merrier! Possibly action wins because then I get to put my martial arts and stage combat skills into practice!
Will it seem very ironic if I tell you that I also like watching Disney films hahaha!?
But in all seriousness, it takes a lot to grab my attention but one of my favourite films is genuinely Howard Ford’s Never Let Go and I swear I’m not just saying that because I’m working with him hahaha!! I hugely admire Angela Dixon’s incredible work in it too. She’s just an amazing actress and I’m truly honoured that she actually plays my Mum in Escape! She’s just fabulous in every single role and a really genuinely lovely beautiful person as well so I am thrilled to be working with her!
Are there any other aspects of the Film Industry that you would like to pursue?
I’ve always enjoyed writing. I write a lot of poems and I actually started writing a script a while ago. I have a pretty vivid imagination so I could see myself possibly doing something with that at some point or even getting into production as that’s something I’m also interested in.
I’ve always had business jobs on the side of acting so transitioning to a more corporate but still creative world comes quite naturally to me. It’s nothing I’m working on right now though as I’m really focused on acting but who knows maybe someday in the future, I might expand my horizons into that as well!
You have an eclectic range of credits from TV to Short Films to Feature Film, are there any genres that you haven’t done yet that you’d like to?
Thank you so much! Yes, actually I’d really like to do a period drama! I can really see myself being very well suited to being in one of them if that opportunity were to arise!
You’ve worked with some great talent both in front and behind the camera, do you have a wish list of who you’d like to work with?
Yes, I’d like to work with Melissa McCarthy, Aston Kutcher, Emily Blunt and Christine Baranski!
Who inspires you within the industry?
I find Jamie Gertz very inspirational because not only is she an amazing actress, she also uses her platform to advocate for extremely worthwhile causes. She also has her own charity the Ressler-Gertz Foundation which provides money to various people who need it and it funds children’s educations.
I always admire people who are doing a little bit extra on the side to help others if they are in a position to do so and I love seeing people use their fame to help spread awareness for good causes out there!
Circling back to ESCAPE, I’m looking forward to seeing it after I saw the amazing film THE LEDGE from Howard, do you have any memorable moments from filming that you’ll take with you for the rest of your career?
Thank you so much, I can’t wait for you to see it to and The Ledge really is a legendary movie!
Yes…actually there are many moments within filming Escape that have been very memorable to me! One of them was during the very first shoot back when we were filming the teaser trailer and some initial scenes for the movie. We’d just finished filming in the desert literally in the middle of nowhere running in between canyons in the Canary Islands and we were driving back to the filming accommodation and suddenly the car we were riding in got stuck and we had to dig it out of the sand dunes to get it going again!
It was pretty hilarious and I learnt a valuable lesson that day that I will take with me forever; how to undig a car hahaha!
Another memorable funny moment to share with you was one night after we’d finished filming some of the UK scenes in an amazing underground fort here, Sean Cronin kindly drove me home as him and his daughter were living close to me. We stopped off at a petrol station to get petrol and walked in forgetting that we were still looking rather gruesome from filming so I’m sure you can imagine the looks of terror on people’s faces! It’s safe to say that we then had to calmly reassure the staff that we weren’t planning on killing anyone! Thankfully they believed us eventually!!
Aside from those memorable moments that make me laugh I learnt an awful lot through working with Howard on Escape and absolutely everything that I’ve learnt I will take with me during my career always!
Fandoms are a big part of the industry, who or what are you a fan of?
I’m a fan of people who go out there and make stuff happen! Anyone that I can see really doing stuff, giving things a go and following their dreams I am a huge fan of!
Is there a book that you are a fan of that hasn’t been adapted to film or TV or Netflix yet that you’d love to be a part of?
Maybe The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho if they can make the main female role in it more meaty!
With the popularity of streaming services like Netflix, Disney+ etc. what do you think the future of Cinema is?
I truly believe the future of cinema will continue going strong! I think no matter how many movies you can stream or watch online nothing beats seeing it on the big screen!
You’re in SKULLHUNTER too with our friend Ayvianna, how has that been to work on?
Yes I am and it’s always fabulous to work with Stephen Murphy who wrote the script for it so I loved working on Skullhunter! I play a character called Megan who’s the young mother of John when flashback scenes of his childhood are shown. It’s a very raw character to play as my role is centred around domestic violence. My character is in an extremely bad abusive relationship with the father of her child played by JP Gates who also plays an awful villain in Escape funnily enough so there are some pretty dark and intense scenes between us in it!
I’m also in Steven Murphy’s The Last Punch that he’s also written and directs. I play the lead female role in that movie who’s a character called Lottie. She’s this really happy fun loving life hippie type character so she’s really fun to play!
We’ve filmed half of that movie already and we will be filming the other half towards the end of this summer so I’m really looking forward to that!
Where can we find you online to keep up with everything you’re doing?
Please do feel free to follow me on my Instagram which is @sophielouiserankin where I post news about my upcoming projects.
You can also keep an eye on my IMDb which I’m Sophie Rankin on.
Thank you so much Sophie, and I can’t wait to see ESCAPE and everything else you’ve got going on!
DARKGAME AND ESCAPE ARE COMING SOON!