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Interview with Freya Tingley star of The Sonata
By James Whittington, Saturday 24th August 2019

Gothic horror is making a bit of a comeback and one of the best around at the moment is The Sonata. We chatted to lead actress Freya Tingley about this effective chiller.

HC: In such a short time you've cultivated an incredibly impressive CV, do you suffer from nerves when you walk onto asset for the first time?

FT: Fortunately, I've never been nervous on a set. From the very beginning you feel the sense of comradely and everyone is there to work towards the same goal.

HC: Are you a horror movie fan?

FT: I'm a HUGE horror movie fan! I suppose it's a rather strange thing, but I LOVE the feeling of fear, anxiety, anticipation and suspense that a horror movie can make you feel! For that reason, it's probably my favourite genre! I don't love horror for horrors' sake though and my favourite horror movies have a great story at the core when you take the horror elements away! Some of my favourites are Rosemary's Baby, Alien and The Others and more recently Ari Aster's Hereditary and Midsommar, and Robert Egers' The Witch. I'm excitedly anticipating his movie The Lighthouse!! I would love to Direct movies in the future and would love to dive into directing a horror movie!

HC: How did you come to be cast as Rose in The Sonata?

FT: My agent sent me the script and I loved it. It's really hard to find characters that are fully realized and not just words on a page, let alone in an interesting story. Rose immediately felt dynamic to me and the story clearly had a lot of thought put into it and intrigued me. I told my agent I loved the script and she set up a Skype meeting with Andrew. From there we spoke, and I said I'd love to do the movie. A few weeks later we Skyped again, and Andrew told me he'd love me for the part of Rose.

HC: What did you think of the script when you first read it and how did you prepare for such a complex role?

FT: My preparation involves taking what's on the page and having that inspire my own ideas about who the character is beyond that. I sit and think and create character notes on a notepad. I create any backstory that informs my character at that point in their journey. I improvise alone in my apartment as the character and play out different situations, whether it's simply being my character while making breakfast for herself or having a conversation with someone in her life even if that character doesn't exist in the script. I find simply 'being' my character outside of the script creates an ease when it comes to living in the world of the script. With regards to the violin playing I had a fantastic violin husband and wife team (Yuki and Min Mori) who coached me prior to going on set. I only had three months to prepare which was a challenge - particularly with the violin - but it's a fun part of any acting job to be learning something new and outside of your comfort zone.

HC: What are your memories working with the legendary Rutger Hauer?

FT: I don't actually have any scenes with Rutger, however, we did grab lunch together one day out in the countryside in Latvia. I learned he was a huge advocate of championing up and coming filmmakers which was in part why he came on board The Sonata. It was really nice to see someone of his pedigree doing his part to give strength to those that have the potential to elevate the art form.

HC: The film is gothic, dark and subtle but what was the atmosphere like on set?

FT: We shot in October in a small town called Madona which is outside the Capital city Riga. Madona, which has a population of less than 10,000 people, is where the Mansion was that we shot in, so we definitely felt that sense of isolation which mixed with the gloomy weather and filming day in, day out in an old mansion all added to those dark feelings. Not to mention Latvia was under Soviet Rule up until 30 years ago and so there's still the remnant feelings of oppression lingering in the air.

HC: Do you believe in ghosts and the paranormal?

FT: I'm definitely a spiritual person. Perhaps a ghost is just a spirit without a body?

HC: So, what are you up to at the moment?

FT: I'm currently doing the voice over for a show, but I can't mention any details as of yet.

HC: Freya Tingley, thank you very much.

FT: Thanks for asking me to interview!! I appreciate it!


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