Photo credit. Peter Simpkin.
What would you do if your child was taken from you in a foreign country and no-one believed you? This is something Angela Dixon had to face in her lead role in the action thriller ‘Never Let Go’ by acclaimed director Howard J Ford.
Angela is a talented actress on an upward trajectory.
Known more in independent film circles than in the public domain. ‘Never Let Go’ will change that.
The film follows the harrowing journey of Lisa, a single mother whose daughter is abducted whilst on holiday.
Shot in Morocco, Spain, US and the UK it also stars Bafta award winning actress Lisa Eichhorn and Waterloo Road’s Heather Peace.
I’ve directed Angela in the past and have the pleasure of calling her a friend. It’s an honour to share her inspiring interview for my Wonderful Women series.
Describe a typical day for you?
My days are rarely the same and everything can change with a phone call.
If I am working from home, my day could involve looking for work, networking, PR, marketing, accounting, reading a script, research and character preparation.
If I am not acting I feel restless and frustrated that I’m not achieving what I set out to achieve so I may well work all day into the evening and I don’t recognise weekends. If I can, I go to the gym between 5 to 10 hours a week.
For ‘Never Let Go’ I was training 2 to 3 hours a day. As an actor you are a conduit for your character’s emotions, thoughts and actions. Having a healthy body gives me an instrument fit for purpose through which I can better express my character’s story.
Playing Lisa was intense. Prior to filming I had 5 weeks of preparation.
I worked by myself 7 days a week, 12 hours a day analysing the script, exploring her emotional and psychological world, finding her voice and honing her body.
I took one day off in that time.
Whilst filming I would get up around sunrise and do at least an hour of physical training and yoga. The rest of the day would involve shooting several scenes in different locations, often scheduled last minute and sometimes we filmed into the early hours of the morning.
I did my own stunts so I had to climb walls, jump off and onto buildings, fight several male characters, run barefoot through the streets and over rooftops of suspect construction and varying heights.
What do you feel are your biggest achievements?
Professionally, it’s playing Lisa. It was a roller coaster journey needing resilience, nerves of steel, absolute focus and dedication. Last year only 12% of all clearly identifiable protagonists were female according to the Centre for the Study of Women in Television and Film. I’m proud to buck the trend and hope that continues.
Personally, it is helping to look after my mum. My mum had dementia for 10 years. In the last 6 years of her life she needed 24 hour care. It could take up to 5 hours a day just to feed her. She couldn’t speak, couldn’t walk and didn’t know who we were. She stayed at home, we showered her with love and she felt it.
She taught us to fully understand and experience real unconditional love. To accept your loved one for who they are in the moment and not hanker after the person you believed they were. It was a privilege to share that with her and there’s not a day goes past that I don’t miss her.
What’s in your handbag/satchel etc?
My handbag is enormous! I back-packed for 4 years in the Far East and I have never really acclimatised to the idea that I don’t have to transport my whole life around with me.
I no-longer carry a tent and a roll mat but I do have business cards [I never go anywhere without them], a toothbrush, moisturiser sachets, wipes, lip balm [can’t survive without it], paper diary [just feels better to write then tap], scissors, sewing kit, emery board [because I only ever file my nails in transit], essential make-up and my iphone that my wonderful brother bought me for Christmas.
What are your ambitions in life?
I watched Howard Ford conjure up magic out of thin air. I experienced a profound creative alchemy working with him which was exhilarating. I want to continue to work with talented people. I want to build on that creativity and have the opportunity to really stretch myself and grow as an artist.
I’d love to act opposite Sean Penn, be directed by Clint Eastwood and play the lead role in an American drama series.
Where do you see yourself in five years time?
I will be working creatively with like-minded individuals in great quality projects that have real purpose. I will be involved with an organisation that promotes the resolution of conflict – something I feel passionate about.
I will be living somewhere beautiful surrounded by nature perhaps by the sea, near mountains or both. I will be painting and drawing more. I will have learnt the art of slowing down. Too much to ask?!
What advice would you give a budding actor?
If it’s not essential for you to act, don’t do it, there’s a lot of heartache, sacrifice and rejection.
If you must act then apply to the top 5 drama schools and keep trying until you get in. They open doors. Know your brand. Who are you? How do others perceive you? Once you’ve discovered it, sell it.
Find a way to keep positive through the rejection because if you think you’re not worthy you won’t work.
Be resilient, be pro-active and build networks of people within the industry who you respect and like.
And remember networking is not about what you can get from others it’s about what you can do for others. Be generous.
Finally, happiness is…
Giving and receiving love.
You can also follow her on Twitter
‘Never Let Go’ will have a preview screening at the Cannes Film Festival in May this year. If you happen to be on the French Riviera contact Angela via her facebook page or website and she will see if she can get you a ticket. Both Angela and Howard will be there.
‘Never Let Go’ preview screening, Cannes 2015.
Monday 18th May, 17.30
Venue: Olympia Cinema 9,
5 Rue d’Antibes