April 7, 2020 Interview – Hermione Corfield
In a time when new actors are arriving to the screen faster than even the most devout cinephile can register, much in thanks to the rise of indie films, Actress Hermione Corfield is a shining star. Roles in films such as 2015’s Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation, 2017’s xXx: Return of Xander Cage, as well as 2017’s Star Wars: Episode VIII – The Last Jedi, certainly did not hurt the young actress’ rise. Meanwhile, her starring roles in recent flicks such as 2018’s Slaughterhouse Rulez and 2019’s Rust Creek have only cemented Corfield’s talents, earning her an honorable position among the up-and-comers.
For 2020, Corfield stars in the upcoming Sea Fever, a Sci-Fi Thriller set at sea and due to arrive on U.S. shores on April 10th. Starring in the role of marine biology student Siobhán, Corfield delivers an exemplary performance in a magnificent film with an important and timely message. For this, the actress sat down to talk her eclectic resume, bringing Siobhán to life in Sea Fever, the tragic irony and importance of the film’s message with regards to COVID-19, and more.
Cryptic Rock – In just the past few years, Cryptic Rock magazine has reviewed three of your films: Slaughterhouse Rulez in 2018, Rust Creek in 2019, and now Sea Fever in 2020. All very different films, all very different roles. What is it that inspires you to keep your resume so eclectic?
Hermione Corfield – It’s a combination of things. It’s the roles that come along and you read the script, and it’s something you haven’t done before or a person that you haven’t seen on the screen before, a story you haven’t heard before, or a challenge. That’s how it tends to be, a mix of contrasting characters. I’m always looking for a challenge, as well.
Cryptic Rock – Sea Fever arrives to Digital on Friday, April 10th. This is an intelligently nuanced Sci-Fi/Thriller, and you portray the central character Siobhán, who is a marine biology student. What initially drew you to this character?
Hermione Corfield – Initially, it was a fascination in the way she conducts herself, and her ability to lean into the scientific method so much and how that contrasts with the rest of the people on board. Although she can be timid about it, she’s so set in what she understands is right and she knows she’s right. I think that combined with her constant struggle—she needs that human connection, but struggles to make these connections with other people—that desire to formulate connections, but an inability to be able to follow through with it.
Cryptic Rock – One of the striking things about the character is that so often in films anyone who is an introvert tends to be portrayed as covertly evil, that there’s a flaw in their character if they struggle to connect with others. Clearly, Siobhán is not: she has a wonderful heart and a respect for people as well as nature.
Hermione Corfield – Yes, I think that’s what Neasa [Director Hardiman] really wanted, as well, to skirt this kind of cliche of the scientist with no morals. Siobhán is the opposite of that: she knows what is right, and is so willing to follow through with what’s right to her own detriment. She’s not your typical hero but she is a hero, because she’s so willing to stand up against everyone else to say what she thinks and to say what’s right.
Cryptic Rock – What was your biggest challenge in bringing Siobhán to life?
Hermione Corfield – I think my biggest challenge was not being receptive to other people, because she occasionally is not receptive to the nuances between people. As a result, she doesn’t react so much to those around her, she’s so focused on her own thoughts. She’s constantly problem-solving and looking at things in the scientific sense, because that’s what’s propelling her forward—trying to solve the issue, keep everyone safe, and keep the rest of the world safe. It’s that leaning so much into the scientific mind’s thought, as opposed to the receptive, emotional response that I found tricky.
Cryptic Rock – You did a wonderful job delivering those pivotal nuances of her character. Now, obviously, it’s tragically eerie how perfect the timing of the film’s release is with what is happening in the world with COVID-19. Clearly that is not something that you could have foreseen when the film was being created, but was there always a hope that the underlying moral debate of the story would inspire discussion, and is that discussion even more important now?
Hermione Corfield – Definitely! It’s even more important now, but it was always something that I hoped would be talked about and what people would take away from the film. The responsibility and the moral dilemma of me and everyone else is a huge theme in the film, and that’s what Siobhán asks of everyone. She asks them to not think of the individual: think of everyone else, think of the human species, and think about the creature. What’s our responsibility toward Mother Nature and this rare species, as well?
That’s a huge theme that’s apparent throughout the entire film. I hoped before that people would walk away from the film and think, “What would I do in that situation?” But, as you said, now it’s even more eerie because we are in that situation. In a less heightened sense, because we’re not all trapped on a boat, but we are in that situation now. It’s very eerie! (Laughs)
Cryptic Rock – It definitely is! The timing of the release and COVID-19 drives the message home even more. That said, besides entertainment, what do you hope that viewers will take away from the film?
Hermione Corfield – I hope people come away from it with the idea of the responsibility that we spoke about, you know? What does it mean to be responsible, not just in terms of what’s going on right now and in terms of not spreading this infectious thing, but also what it means to be responsible for the Earth. One of the main themes is about overfishing and not rinsing this Earth that we all rely on. That was one of the major themes, as well.
Everyone on that boat is doing their best. Gerard goes into that zone because he’s trying to provide for the whole ship and make sure that everyone can take money back to their families—and it is always the most vulnerable people that are affected. I also think the other thing is speaking up and knowing when to speak up, even when it’s maybe not such a popular thing. That’s something that Siobhán does that’s incredibly brave, and that’s another thing that, hopefully, people will take away.
Cryptic Rock – That’s a very important message, as well. Now, aside from Sea Fever, what’s next for you?
Hermione Corfield – Well, I don’t know what’s going on in terms of filming, because I don’t know when we’ll be able to mobilize again. (Laughs) I have a TV show coming out in May, which I shot at the end of last year. So, I don’t know what’s happening with filming yet, but that will be my next thing coming up after Sea Fever.
Cryptic Rock – Last question. If you are a fan of Horror and Sci-Fi films, what are some of your favorites?
Hermione Corfield – I am a fan of both. Horror has been something that has always been in my life, and recently, for me, Horror has been a huge part of my cinematic experience because there has been so much great Horror recently. Midsommar (2019) and The Babadook (2014) have both been films that I really enjoyed recently. For Sci-Fi, Alien (1979) is one of my all-time favorites and it’s been compared to this a lot, which has been interesting. (Laughs)