I wanted a young actress who could go on that emotional journey that’s the most important thing. Be vulnerable, be fragile, then be strong – be everything. As a great existential heroine should be. Not just be kick-ass but also be able to show the things that any young 16-, 17-year-old goes through in terms of intense loneliness, despair, betrayal. That coming of age element was so important to all of us because we didn’t want the untouchable ethereal heroine in this one, we wanted someone who was really touchable, you can really feel every moment of what she’s going through. But what I love about what Esme’s done is that it’s so sort of cool at the same time, it’s got this kind of European calmness that I really love. It’s not melodramatic, or even dramatic – it is dramatic, it’s not overtly dramatic – and Esme for such a young actress she has an intelligent ability to just let things happen and to realise that in those moments of quietness you discover who the character really is.
Esme, what was the audition process like for you?
Esme Creed-Miles: The way that I work is I didn’t go to drama school or anything like that so I have no choice but to be instinctual because I don’t have a tool kit in the same way. I thought, that’s a sick film, that’d be awesome. I never thought I’d get it, I was auditioning for loads of stuff I just did a tape and sent it through and I just kept getting call backs, and each call back I’d get a little bit more nervous. And we had the screen test and I was very nervous and just tried my best. And that was how I got it! And don’t really know how I got it…
DF: We had several hundred tapes from all over Europe, we thought we’d probably go for a German or Swedish Hanna because her dad is Swedish, so just practically, the accent, but also quality, there’d be a quality in someone. But Esme’s ear is perfect, her accent’s amazing, we never had to train her in that or anything, she just was it.
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What was the training like for all those action sequences?