Alice Eva Lowe is an English actress and writer, mainly in comedy. She is known for her roles in the Garth Marenghi series and as the lead and co-writer of the 2012 film Sightseers.
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Trailer available here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UjL_KKxX_yE
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Follow Alice Lowe on twitter at @alicelowe
Hi Alice, loved Prevenge! My question is: who should the new Doctor Who be and why is it definitely you?
It should be me, but the universe is an unfair place, and sometimes it takes people a while to realise the future.
Would you say it was difficult to try and combine two genres that can sometimes be at odds with each other? (horror and comedy) did you face a dilemma as such in terms of 'should it be more comedy or should it be more of horror' how did you deal with that?
Yes, I would say it's quite tricky! I think some of the clarity comes from truth in your story. Don't be afraid of letting the story dictate the tone. I was a bit apprehensive about adding a strong drama element to Prevenge. But actually, if you believe in and respect the story and the characters, then you should just go with what your instinct tells you is right. Don't be too dictated to by genre. It just needs to be good and entertaining! A great editor helps!
You were brilliant in Darkplace and I always wondered why your 'actor' didn't take part in the behind-the-scenes segments? Would have loved to see this.
Also: any fun stories or trivia from shooting Darkplace you can share?
Thanks so much! I did the behind the scenes stuff in the pilot, but they decided it would be funnier to kill me off for the series! Maybe Liz should have her own biopic in the vein of 'Missing Richard Simmons'?
How often do you play with kid's toys?
Frequently. My favourite is my 'magic piano'. I just press one key and a whole tune comes out. I sit and pretend to play it, with friends or alone.
What advice would you give to a young adult who is trying to transition from a standard bank job into a comedy writing career while maintaining paying rent?
Thank you :)
I would make sure your overheads are as low as possible! Live like a pauper during the day, go out and make people laugh at night, like a caped crusader. Do as much stand up/theatre/improv as you can at nights and at weekends. Take a show up to Edinburgh and do the free fringe. Have a youtube channel and twitter account. Make contacts with other comedians, but also producers, camera people, etc Network, and make sketches and films and shows and podcasts all the time. Keep improving. Stick around. You will gradually become more visible if you pursue 'the scene'. It's a small world! You'll get there with enough persistence!
What are your favourite horror movies?
I'm a sucker for 70s horror. The Shining, Don't Look Now, Rosemary's Baby, Carrie etc
I watched Sightseers years back and loved it, so am looking forward to watching Prevenge very much so. Just two questions, what's your favourite book, and do you have any advice for someone considering going into screenwriting/comedy writing in general?
My favourite book! Tricky! I loved Tim Robbins Jitterbug Perfume recently. Madame Bovary. Neil Gaiman's Ocean At The End Of The Lane. Under The Skin, Michael Faber is great. I could just go on and on....
I would say comedy screenwriting is a rare beast in the UK. And rightly or wrongly, seen as quite a separate category to screenwriting. So you might feel like you have to choose one! (Though I suppose I didn't!)
From my perspective I would say it's never a bad idea to put the script on its feet. So don't just sit on a pile of scripts that never see the light of day. Do a reading, make a short, put on a play. For me this is what brings something to life. Also you will learn so much about the pragmatics of actually making something work. You can't improve or learn until someone sees your work! So get it out there!
And this might all sound difficult. I would say Shooting People is a great networking website for anyone starting out. Meet people! Get contacts. It will start seeming more attainable/realistic.
Hi Alice, saw Prevenge at the London Film Festival last year and loved it! Just wondering if you have any other upcoming projects I should keep an eye out for?
I am writing a new film! But it's still under wraps, but watch this space! It's going to be bonkers.
I know what you mean! Have two kids myself, those keyboards are very satisfying, even if it is cheating! :-P Good luck with the film!
Thanks. It makes me feel powerful. xx
What do you think you'd be doing if you weren't doing comedy/writing/acting etc?
Depressed in a library.
I often think the characters I write are parallel universe versions of me. So i'd still be living at home in the Midlands etc. Quite a bit fatter. Hopefully I wouldn't be killing people.
Hi Alice! I've been a big fan since I saw a talk you gave at the Aesthetica Film Festival a few years ago, I finally got to see Prevenge last week and thought it was fantastic. How do you write and play such sympathetic murderers (if you can call them that)?
Aw thanks! Ha! I guess I'm interested in psychology and people who are messed up! I'm sort of fascinated by people who break society's rules and why they do it. It doesn't always make sense to me in a film when the hero is just really moral and stoic and always does the right thing. Where's the conflict or the challenge? It doesn't raise any new questions for me. I think cinema is a powerful tool whereby you can put yourself in someone else's shoes and extend your sympathies. Or empathy maybe. I think we could all do with having our empathy muscle tightened up a bit right now!
Hey Alice - thanks for answering questions! What would be your dream double feature to play with Prevenge?
Aha great question! Maybe Don't Look Now? Or Dead Man's Shoes? Taxi Driver and Eyes Wide Shut were influences so those too!
Hey Alice, any plans to work with ben wheatley again?
I'd love to! But Wheatley is his own man, and you have to wait to be summoned. It's a bit like King Arthur and his round table. I'd be a lesser known knight, like Sir Bobrick, and sat at a smaller table on the side like a coffee table or something.
Do you believe in ghosts?
There is a scene of you in the bath in Prevenge as writer and director why did you put that in?
I believe this is a two parter...
The first thing. I think I did once see a ghost in a pub called The Prospect of Whitby. It looked like Michael Jackson's leg going up the stairs. But I doubt it was Michael Jackson. I think it was a female pickpocket called 'Cutpurse Moll'. Technically I don't believe in ghosts, but I think there might be a physics explanation, like quantum dregs, or a simulated universe.
Secondly, one of the major 'free effects' we had in our very low budget movie was my genuine pregnant stomach. I took a lot of baths when I was pregnant, and I just felt it was this really intimate vulnerable private moment of communion between Ruth and her 'inner world'. It was quite unnerving unrobing in front of the crew, especially as it was the first thing we shot of the whole film! But then, pregnancy is a lot about loss of dignity and privacy and a lot of vulnerability. t first you're embarrassed a doctor is poking up your nunni, but by the end of it you're like IDGAF! I thought this kind of abandonment was probably important for the film. Let it all hang out!
Would 100% watch this! Also now I've googled 'Missing Richard Simmons' I'll be listening to that as well, it sounds mental.
Prevenge is at the top of my 'to watch' list, followed by The Void and Kuso. Are there any recent films you have enjoyed or are looking forward to?
Aha. Well I don't get to the cinema much with a 15 month old. But my crepey tired eyes have seen a couple of great things. The Love Witch was like nothing you've seen before, just great. Train To Busan did not disappoint. Looking forward to The Levelling too.
Call me cliched but I love the look of Ghost In The Shell! Just so nice to see some technicolour!
Hello! If Prevenge does well will you be having another baby to film the sequel?
I will have another baby each time I produce a project. I will be like the Osmonds meets Scorsese.
What was the funniest thing to happen on set?
Ever? Or just on Prevenge?
On Prevenge we laughed hard when we were trying to make fake blood come out of Dan Renton Skinner's neck, and it all went into his pants.
Ooh, so there will be a musical at some point, cool.
What was your fave location on the Prevenge Theatrical tour?
Haha! Why do I feel this is a loaded question?!
Bath was super fun. But Scotland was awesome. Glasgow just brilliant. But then, everywhere we went was just amazing.
How do you think Prevenge Baby will react reading @PrevengeBaby tweets in the future?
For a start, Prevenge Baby wrote those tweets...
If you mean how will my daughter feel reading them? She won't be allowed to have an iPhone until she's 26, so she will have a lot to catch up on.
Not to tarnish the mystique of your very excellent movie, but who voiced the PREVENGE baby?
Hee hee , it was ME! We experimented with lots of different things including a real child (which was just horrible. No offence to the child actor, it was just repugnantly cute). In the end, it was just easier me doing it because we were editing the voiceover all the time. The brilliant sound designer Martin Pavey played me a test reel of my voice treated, and I was then convinced it could work.
And actually it has a nice circularity with me doing it.
Alice, did you test any other actor's for the voice of the baby?
See above! We did actually think about Judi Dench. And Helena Bonham Carter amongst others! I had this idea that the baby is actually an ancient elemental form of rage, so it would be fun if the actress was older. But then we realised we'd have to get them in to re-record every time we changed something. Which wasn't realistic on our budget.
Hi Alice! Haven't had a chance to see Prevenge yet, but absolutely adored Sightseers (my number one favourite film ever!) what was the difference in writing and directing Prevenge to writing Sightseers and handing over your film baby to someone else to direct? P.S.... mint me
Haha, well, I guess the thing about Sightseers was that there was a sense that me and Steve could just play. Like a couple of kids. Being a director is a bit like being a parent, you've got responsibilities. But I guess that fitted into the themes of Prevenge! I sometimes say Tina is a child, whereas Ruth is much more jaded, a grown up. She's seen some bad stuff, and the veil has fallen from her eyes.
It's two different things really: when you collaborate, you enjoy seeing what someone else brings and it surprises you, in a good way. When you direct yourself, you are in control of everything, so there's no reinterpretation. Sometimes that's really satisfying. Because you feel like, 'yes, this is what I REALLY mean.' Especially if you're trying to convey something new or a bit out there. There's no room for misunderstanding. And no one to force an idea to conform to anything that's gone before. Sometimes I think this is a really important factor with female directors and their voices coming through. Because sometimes you can feel like the nuance gets lost.
But I also love Sightseers, so no complaints here!
Hi Alice, I wondered if the film "Magic" with Anthony Hopkins was an influence when making Prevenge?
Yes! Especially when thinking about the baby's voice. There are a few purely voiceover characters in film, and I had a little research of them to work out what worked. Hal in Space Odyssey, Frank in Donnie Darko, the mum in Psycho, etc. I wanted it to feel like it was a demon, coming from deep inside the audience, or from just behind your ear. It's an interesting subject - someone should write a dissertation about it!
I've got to know: what happened to Madeleine Wool??
I think she's dead. Sorry. There's no body though so you never know. She might pop up, with a lot of plastic surgery.
Hi Alice. I saw you at BBC Shepherds Bush a couple of weeks ago but was too scared to approach you and tell you I think you're awesome.
Do you get noticed in the street much and do you mind when you are?
Oh! Yeah you should have said hi!
I never get recognised, which I'm very glad about. As it would freak me out as I'm going about my business shuffling around Morrisons.
I tell a lie, I do SOMETIMES rarely get recognised. But it's only by the best people, who are into weird obscure comedy. Which is always nice. Because it's generally someone saying, 'I like what you do'. Rather than just, 'aren't you her off the telly? yeah, don't find you funny.'
Loved The Love Witch and Busan.
Watched Busan on a double bill with The Wailing and thought both were excellent.
Ghost in The Shell looks visually stunning, like a tech noir dream.
Will add The Levelling to my list, thanks again!
I am going to watch The Void and Kuso! Thanks for the recommends!
which productions had the best/worst food?
what's the weirdest eating habit you have seen of a co-star?
Oh my GOD you expect me to remember that?!
Actually, I do.
At the beginning of Sightseers, we had a caterer who upon request of 'healthy snacks', gave us some mouldy carrots and some tomato sauce in a ripped off polystyrene cup as a 'dip'.
We got a new caterer.
Garth Marenghi's Darkplace was in a studio with such nice desserts that they pretty much had to take out all of our costumes by an inch at the end of filming.
David Mitchell has a way with yoghurt.
Hello Alice, I loved Prevenge! How was getting through the doggie door with your pregnant belly?
That was a stunt double! Our Exec. Producer Franki Goodwin donned a wig and prosthetic belly and dived through!
Second question (might as well make the most of your AMA)! When are you and Julia Davis going to make a film/tv show together? My ultimate dream team- I'll commission it if BBC/Channel 4 are too scared
We are actually the same person, but split into two upon the shattering of a giant magic crystal. We continue to be lethal enemies until the great conjunction when two pixies lose their virginity.
Well i will take this opportunity to say I like what you do and think Prevenge looks great. Would also love to know where I could watch Solitudo? Thought it looked great but never found it online!
It's not online yet, but it will be soon I think! :)
Hi, I loved Prevenge. Have wondered if during the sirens scene did u use stunt nippels or was it natural? My wife leaked everywhere constantly! Also can u divulge any info on your next film?
It was a bit of editing trickery - the wardrobe mistress had to spritz my boobs with a squirty bottle!
I didn't have any leakage until the baby was born actually. But I empathise with your wife! It's disconcerting to be dripping on your own shoe. :(
The next film has a conceptual almost sic-fi twist to it. Can't wait to get started! Will have lots of funny people in it too.
Thanks for not accusing me of being some weirdo! Which I worried about, wife had to leave cinema during Fellowship of the rings because of it. Sci-fi film sounds great! Any people u can name yet? Can I be in it (I'm available but talentless)
Oh dear, what a shame! Must have been why there was no women in the Fellowship - leaky boobs.
No one I can name - still writing!