Interview With Samantha Hunt-Thea Elvsted in "Hedda Gabler" Movie
I recently had the opportunity to interview one of the cast members from an upcoming period drama Hedda Gabler. As an appreciator of period drama films, I was very interested to learn about a period drama that was new to me.
NM throughout this hub refers to me (Nalini Márquez) as interviewer.
All pictures included in this hub are copyrighted by Robert Lipnicki and used with permission from the film's director Matthew John.
NM: Hi Samantha,
It is neat to be able to interview a cast member of period drama! Thank you for taking the time to talk to me about your new film Hedda Gabler.
NM: Hedda Gabler is a name and story that is new to me and likely new to others. Can you tell me about the general premise of the film and your character’s role, conflict, etc.?
Samantha: The film Hedda Gabler covers many aspects of human interaction, communication, nature. The appearance of Victorian values and gentile manners on surface, soon revealing seething anger and rage beneath the facade.
My character's role in the film is unintentionally a catalyst for Hedda's manipulative self-centered duplicitous actions. Thea Elvsted is a polar opposite in nature, action, and deed to Hedda Gabler which results in conflict, sadness, and leads to great darkness.
NM: How did you prepare for the role of Thea Elvsted?
Samantha: I prepared for the role Thea Elvsted by researching Henrick Ibsen's play, Thea's character and role within his play. I also went to see the recent interpretation at the Old Vic in London, as well as watching film versions previously produced.
NM: On the website for this film your quotes highlight your attraction to the gentle, caring, and kind-hearted nature of Thea Elvsted.
Were there character traits and character developments in Thea that you were surprised by?
What strengths and weaknesses in her character are masked by her feminine beauty and good nature?
Samantha: When I first encountered my character Thea, I thought she was kind and was surprised other characters were unkind to her. She develops into a strong woman, especially for the Victorian era; bold in her beliefs, not afraid to voice them.
I was also surprised that some interpret her simply as an unfaithful wife and that after reading and studying the script I didn't want to play the title role of Hedda Gabler offered to me but chose and accepted to play the role of Thea Elvsted because I preferred her as a character and her development.
I think Thea has many strengths that can be overlooked, one of which is that she was also very intelligent--She wrote 'Eilert Lovborg's new book' as well as being kind, caring, and bold, especially for a woman in Victorian era. I think Thea's trusting nature can be seen as a weakness.
NM: The story of Hedda Gabler explores different aspects of the human condition and life: unhappiness, selfishness, manipulation, unrequited love, relationships, jealousy, dissatisfaction, the human ability to change but also to fall into old patterns, etc.
What was the greatest, most significant, most poignant, etc. truth or reflection that you got out of the story?
Samantha: I think the most significant reflection of Ibsen's Hedda Gabler is that the characters are not who they first appear to be; sometimes positively, other times not such a great experience.
That Thea may appear an unfaithful wife at a brief glance and Hedda may appear a respectable strong Victorian woman living by Victorian standards--in actual fact, Hedda is the unfaithful wife, caring only for her reputation and appearance. Thea though she was kind, caring, compassionate was neglected by her husband, who did not love or respect her.
That it was whilst working as a governess Thea grew very close to both the mother and children she worked for. The mother became ill and Thea nursed her and looked after her children. Thea built a great bond with them and after their mother died she wanted to become their legal guardian so she decided to marry their father.
That she is initially anxious due to her caring nature, concerned Eilert might revert to a life dependent on alcohol. Unfortunately Thea's concerns were realized when Hedda malevolently manipulated Eilert maliciously by betraying the confidence of Thea's compassionate concerns due to Hedda's unstable, self-centered nature.
Thea later found common interests with Eilert including the development of the children--he was their tutor. They shared joy in writing, which he encouraged her in, growing them close together.
NM: Hedda Gabler and Thea Elvsted are readily recognized as foils to each other physically and in their character but as much as they contrast against each other, they share some similarities and their stories, conflicts, and journeys both contribute to the overall messages regarding women in Victorian society as well as women today.
What are some of these messages and what are your thoughts regarding these messages?
Samantha: There are many aspects covered in Hedda Gabler the movie. I think a strong message is communicated about inequality between both sexes, action, and behavior expected in Victorian society. I think it is great education for children growing up in society today, in showing how far we have evolved and progressed with equality, freedom of speech, and ability for women to express themselves, freely, and creatively as do men.
NM: What was the greatest challenge in filming this movie and how did you respond to what was challenging?
Samantha: For me, filming Hedda Gabler 24 hours straight, sometimes 26 hours straight was challenging. I remained professional and stayed awake! Keeping hydrated with water and Tropicana pineapple juice stopped me sleeping haha...
NM: So let's get to know you a little bit. What do you enjoy about acting?
Samantha: I enjoy acting because I think it is a great communication tool. I think film is such a powerful medium and gives me the ability to communicate thought-provoking information, characters' lives, situations, thoughts, and emotions. I enjoy acting in all form film, theatre, and television because they all have their own characteristics. Filming Hedda Gabler originally a play has been very exciting as we kept to the original script.
NM: If you could play any character in a film who would it be and why?
Samantha: I would love to play a Bond girl!! Or a role in the Bourne series. Any undercover agent, spy roles, strong female action roles.
I would love to play Emily Pankhurst in a film about the sufragettes!! Thanks to her and the suffragette movement I can now vote and society is becoming more equal.
NM: What are you looking forward to in the future?
Samantha: Filming One my next film in which I play the lead a character called Grace, a film producer. The film is a modern film about love and relationships, following ten different story lines all interacting with Grace.
I am also doing another film Seeing Rachel. It's a psychological drama about human trafficking and organized crime. I play Hanna Andersson, mother of Rachel. It is a very thought-provoking project which I am very happy to be involved with and play a part in.
NM: What films inspire you?
Samantha: There are many films I have greatly enjoyed for many reasons;
An Education great story, communicated very well. The Bourne Series and A Long Kiss Goodnight for gritty on edge spy action and classic James Bond for glamorous fantasy spy action. The Green Mile and Schindler's List for their epic, meaningful story lines. Catch Me If You Can, I'm interested in the fraud investigation bureau and 17 Again for its storyline.
NM: And lastly, words to live by?
Samantha: "The thief comes only in order to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance (to the full till it overflows)."-John 10v10(AMP)
I have life to the full and make the most of every moment.
NM: Thank you for the interview! Best to you on the film! :-)