Moving away from the color brown in its character, it is with blonde hair, an elegant gown and a big smile that Lucy Boynton welcomed us. A ray of sunshine in the middle of the greyness of Deauville, on this day. In SING STREET, the new film from John Carney (Once, New York Melody), she played the leading female role, Raphina, a mysterious teenage girl whom is in love with a young boy, Conor, ready to mount a music group to impress. It is up to the actress that had the daunting task of coming to introduce the film, in competition at the festival of Deauville. A good way for her to keep still something of this character-rich, yet very different from the actress.
In SING STREET your character Raphina becomes an inspiration for Conor and his songs. That is what it is like to be the muse of a young boy ?
(she laughs) It was very funny ! There was something exciting in the idea that she is an inspiration to him and that he wants to impress. But soon enough it reveals an intimate relationship between Conor and his music, in large part because of his relationship with his family. So, for Conor, the music becomes a refuge. And it is here that its relation to Raphina changes since it becomes a refuge for her.
And the fact of having been chosen by John Carney ?
It was a huge honor and a relief, even, because by reading a script like this you quickly realise that this is not the kind of role that happens every day. Especially because John has a way of him to create his character. Therefore, it was a hearing very intense for me and I was thrilled to be chosen and trying to do honor to Raphina.
How you see yourself in relation to Raphina ?
I am completely different. It does not look like a lot in fact. Raphina is much cooler than me and has much more strength.
Can you tell us more about you ?
I started playing when I was 12 years old. One day a casting director came to the school to see a play that we played and I was offered to participate in a hearing. I had a lot of chance to be considered for the role. I could play in the movie Miss Potter (Chris Noonan, 2006). This was an experience that was truly magical for me. Unfortunately, I had to pursue my studies and to leave it all aside for a few years. But as soon as I could free myself from the school I am fully disappeared inside.
The cinema of John Carney has this peculiarity that it seems to put a lot of himself, of his past. It must, therefore, have a sharp vision of what he wants. Is it that he allows for so much freedom ?
John is really brilliant I think because it gives a lot of confidence in all those that surround it, the actors as well as the rest of the team. For example, he had so well developed the character of Raphina that I was ready to follow him and reproduce what he had described. But very quickly he asked me my opinion, what I thought of her, of her actions. Ca has allowed us to create the history of Raphina together. So even if his story is largely autobiographical, it falls off a lot in the end. He can decide on a whim to change an entire scene. Ca has something a little disturbing but it enables him above all to create an environment in which everyone participates and gets a creative freedom.
The movie is set in the 1980s in Ireland, and the music of the time plays a very important role. Did you already have knowledge in the matter ?
No, it was a real discovery for me this music. I was born in the 1990s so even if I know a little about this time I donít really listen this kind of songs. This was a kind of learning for me, both for the music for the mode. We listened to a lot of music and watched videos. I also filled in on the fashion of the times, to reflect the attitude that must have had Raphina, the manner in which she had to wear different costumes. Because the “costumes” that I wear to play Raphina are also costumes for it. It is a facade and she is hiding behind.
Moreover, there are many change of costumes in the film. Is it that these changes serve to show his personal evolution ?
Yes we can say that. In fact, on the shooting we thought the costumes depending on their mood at the time, that it had to reflect it. For example, the moments where Raphina feels well with the world that surrounds it, it can feel more comfortable in her clothes and with herself. And when she is more dressed up, with full of colors and cuts hair very sought after, it is that it tries to get away from his life and the world. I find it interesting to have chosen this way to reflect his mood. And then I like the idea of the film that there is not to represent a single version of itself, but you can experiment.
Yet at the end of the time where she really shows who she is, it is when she no longer has a costume, it is the most natural and not recognize almost. This time, by shame, it tries to pretend to be her twin sister to Conor.
Yes, I think that this passage shows that behind that facade she is still a child and very vulnerable. A teenager’s fragile 17-year-old. And this, even if it no longer desires to be a child and would already be larger and more sophisticated. But in its reaction, leaving Conor to finally see who she is, I think that it is a way for her to open up to the world.
Also we may ask the question of the maturity associated with their age difference. Despite being older than him, the more the film advance and Conor seems to be the more mature.
Yes exactly. Because with the time it ceases to idolize and finally seen as it is.
In addition to Conor there is the group that accompanies it. So you found a little alone in the midst of these young boys.
Yes it was very funny. These boys are so crazy and unpredictable. Suddenly every day was different and unexpected.
What was your stage is the most difficult to play ?
Physically it was no doubt the scene where I have to jump in the water. It was November in Ireland so obviously icy. And he had to redo it for two entire days. It was really intense, but the hot chocolate helped to keep (she laughs)
Your next film is called Rebel in the Rye, can you tell us about that ?
Yes, it is a film about the life of J. D Salinger, and directed by Danny Strong. The scenario is really great, I am very excited. It follows the life of Salinger, played by Nicholas Hoult, when he begins to write his new. And I play Claire, his second wife.
Suddenly there has already been changes for you since Sing Street (released several months ago in Britain).
Yes, obviously this is the kind of film that leads to new things and opens doors. From a personal point of view it has changed the way I read a script and thought about the characters, because Raphina was quite unique. It is also here that we see the quality of the writing of John, who manages to create characters that we rarely see. It is for this reason that it is quite difficult to put Raphina side now. You could say that I miss it. But by presenting the film in different festivals, it allows me to stay a little in contact with it.
You’re coming only to present the film at Deauville. This does not put you too much pressure ?
If, totally ! It is terrifying even ! I’ll just try not to trip going up on stage and do the best to represent the film.
In the end, it was not tripped and the film has been very well received by the public, certainly one of the favourites for the Prize of the Audience (our review here).