Meet the Cast & Crew – Cally Lawrence: ‘A real community doesn’t have anything to do with its geographical location’

cally lawrence on the set of who is alice

In Who is Alice she plays an actor/writer (coincidentally called Cally) who is playing the part of Sandra. In the meantime she has already built herself an impressive résumé. Basically she’s born for cinema. How she regards acting? As a way to enrapture audiences, and give them a unique experience. Not for money, but from pure passion. Meet Cally Lawrence.

What are you working on at the moment?
“At this moment I am working on the stage play The Rise and Fall of Little Voice, in which I play the role of Sadie. It is a very interesting role, as she hardly speaks. However, there is a lot of nonverbal communication, which is a real challenge.”

What kind of roles do you usually take on?
“The real down to earth type of roles, just very straight. Also, I play a lot of comedy.

Is that similar to the role you play in Who is Alice?
“My role in Who is Alice is some what more complicated. For it is a dual role: I play actress Cally, who in turn plays the character of Sandra in a comedy series. Sandra is a very cynical type of person, who says and does whatever she feels like, while Cally is very careful. She constantly tries to prove herself.”

Which of these characters do you relate the most to?
“Hm, that is hard to tell, as in every role you play, you put something of yourself. Furthermore, I really like to improvise, so when I act, I always find playful ways to make a character my own.”

But is it possible to improvise when there already is a screenplay?
“Let me put it this way: whenever there is a good script, a lot of thought is put into the dialogue and therefore it is possible to make the words your own. In Who is Alice this is clearly the case: it is a good script, and I can put in a lot of myself without losing the essence.”

What do you mean by that?
“During the filming we mostly followed the script of course. However, when someone came up with an idea, we just said: ‘let’s try that!’ That way, a very special symbiosis was created: the cast adapted to the film, and the film adapted to the cast. Very beautiful, really.”

How did the filming for Who is Alice go?
“Well, what can I say? We had so much fun. Also, it was great to work with an entirely Dutch crew, such friendly folks they were!”

And the rest of the cast, what did you think of them?
“Before the auditions I didn’t know anybody, but if you work together for a film, you really get to know each other. It is then that you realize that you’re doing all this together. That sense of community really suits me.”

Can you expand on that?
“Well, being part of a group – a community that is – you can achieve so much more than when you are on your own. A film is a beautiful example of that, but it is like that with everything. By the way, a real community doesn’t have anything to do with its geographical location, therefore I could easily go along with the international orientation of the Alice-project.”

We’re you able to really express your creativity in this film?
“Absolutely. Collaborating on Who is Alice has been extremely satisfying, as I feel that my acting is in good hands. The people who are working on Who is Alice showed an enormous amount of commitment. They have to, as a film simply cannot go without dedication.”

Can you further specify that dedication?
“It is the motivation that you feel for acting; to create something beautiful. Acting is about enrapturing audiences. You don’t act for money, you act because you really enjoy to do so.”

What will you be doing after Who is Alice?
The same as I have been doing here: I want to work with people who bring out the best in me. If I am allowed to speak out my ambition, that would be theatre. Which is a completely different discipline that I am attracted to.”

I have an idea: a Who is Alice sequel. Are you in?
“If that means I can work with the same team again, then yes, without a doubt.”



Cally Lawrence has played quite a few roles in film and television. The Office Christmas Special (2003), Peep Show (2010), Coronation Street (2016) and People Just Do Nothing (2016 & 2017) are just a few examples.

Interview: Jeroen Schalk
English translation by: Judith Boeschoten
Photography: Hans Tibben

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