Hollywood Insider Interview with the Award-Winning Actress Francesca Louise White

Francesca Louise White is a “small but feisty” internationally award winning screen actress from Oxfordshire. Educated to a Bachelor Degree level in Drama at Exeter University, she then traveled across the pond to various acting schools including the American Academy of Dramatic Arts, and The Groundlings in Los Angeles.

Since then she has had a steadily growing resume of credits in feature and short length films and TV including thriller “King of Crime” (formerly known as ‘Milk and Hon£y’) starring Claire King, Mark Wingett and featuring Buffy the Vampire Slayer’s Nicholas Brendon.

Hollywood Insider Interview with Francesca Louise White

Hollywood World: What do you love about the role that you are currently playing? What is the storyline about? Can you tell us who else is involved in this production, director, producer, actors?

Francesca Louise White: I’m currently lucky enough to working on a few different roles actually:

Firstly, I’m playing the mysterious caretaker Rose in a tense thriller feature called ‘Are You Watching Closely’ by multi-talented Liam Thomas Burke for Recognition Films. It’s particularly twisty turny plot-wise so I won’t risk giving away too much as I want people to watch it and be as shocked as I was reading the script for the first time! I can say the versatile Pablo Raybould is playing lead Frank and the compelling Ben Manning is playing Dave; they have their own production company actually called Shooting Lodge Productions.

Secondly, I’m playing the pragmatic but nostalgic Eleanor in sci-fi short ‘Companions’ by Will Dennies. I do have a particular soft spot for a good sci-fi I must admit. It’s sometimes so easy to see humanity and/or our technology following those ‘fictional’ paths in the future, scary though that often is. The film is set in the not too distant future, 2068, and the latest tech trend is called the ‘Whitt Companion’ which is essentially a bespoke and unique AI suited to, created for and controlled by its owner. The main companion in the story is Julian played by the dashing Chris Clynes. The overall objective I keep in mind when becoming and playing Eleanor is routed in searching for a real connection; intimacy, support, companionship… even though to an extent she has that with her best friend Margot played by vivacious Becki Loyd. Without giving away too much, Margot convinces Eleanor to buy one, but all is not as it seems. What I love about Eleanor is her rebellion against the ‘norm’ and her resistance to follow the technological trends just because everyone else is doing it. Her lack of a need to be one of the many, she doesn’t feel pressured to fit in and yet her open mindedness when it comes down to it; she has qualms and concerns but she’ll at least try. This film explores a lot of big existential/value of life & ‘ownership’ themes and questions. I hope viewers will find it as thought-provoking as I do!

Thirdly, I’m playing the determined survivor Isabel in post-apocalyptic industrial western called ‘The Flock’ by the extremely talented Andrew Griffin for Steamwork Films. I’ve been fortunate to read several of his scripts and they’re all fantastic so I’m very happy to finally be working with him. This film is set in post-viral Britain and focuses on Isabel and her adoptive almost feral daughter Vera, played by the lovely young actress Tiana Rogers. They’re searching for the third member of their post-nuclear family called Abel, also played by the brilliant Ben Manning. Abel is one of the 10% immune to the virus and he’s pursuing rumours of settlement when he meets sinister Priest Malcolm; I know Andrew is currently in talks with a very exciting actor for this challenging role. Unfortunately for all the survivors it turns out the virus was only round one of the fight and the beginning of the apocalypse; there’s a lot more in store for them.

I can’t wait to work on each of these films, thank you for casting me filmmakers!

Hollywood World: What makes a good scene partner?

Francesca Louise White: Simply someone who is prepared, whom you can trust to react and play off your character choices, who feels ‘present’ with you… if that makes sense without being too “pretentious actor”..! Someone with whom you feel fully immersed in the scene/story while you’re acting it.

Hollywood World: What are your favorite projects you have been part of?  

 Francesca Louise White: I wholeheartedly relished the chance to play Gemma Carter in upcoming thriller feature ‘King of Crime’ directed by Matt Gambell and written by Linda Dunscombe for her and her husband Peter Dunscombe’s production company Buster Boo Films & also Springbean. It stars the extremely talented Claire King and Mark Wingett, and also features Nicholas Brendon who played Xander in Buffy The Vampire Slayer (a series which played a large part in my desire to pursue acting). I’m not allowed to say too much but it’s about the biggest player in British Cyber-crime. Lets just say if he’s going to go out he’s going to do it on his terms, and he decides to play the biggest scam of his life and get out with a bang. It was an honour to share scene time with the incredible Claire and Chris Ellison, and to be a part of this film. It will be released in cinemas this coming September.  It was previously called ‘Milk and Hon£y’ and you’re getting an exclusive here as they haven’t released the name change yet. I hope you get a chance to watch it!

My favourite role to date though is probably Kimberley Hadden in ‘Fractured Minds’ by Alan Mallyon for 2025 Films, also written by Linda Dunscombe (we’re seeing a theme here, huh?! She just writes such enjoyable scripts!). Kimberley will do anything and everything to succeed and help her family achieve their dreams… to the detriment of all others, so that was a lot of fun to play; she can be downright vicious and does things I would NEVER do in real life.

Francesca Louise White by Scott Chalmers Photography, MUA Anna Hillary
Francesca Louise White by Scott Chalmers Photography, MUA Anna Hillary

Hollywood World: Are there any other projects you would like to highlight?

Francesca Louise White: Earlier in the year I was fortunate to play enigmatic shape shifter known as The Lady in ‘The Seeing’ directed by the fabulous Aoife O’Kelly, written by Peter Slucock and produced by Peter and Maxine de Vere. I have high hopes for this pilot and sincerely believe it deserves to be picked up by a network, Amazon, Google or Netflix. I am absolutely certain viewers would enjoy it and we don’t have a series like it in the UK. Even the character history I received was so creative and well thought through (Peter wrote it like a published article with citations and references through history), and everyone on board were professional, talented and simply lovely to work with. The character was so different to anything I’d played before too, she was a joy and I really got to let my imagination and physicality loose. Fingers are well and truly crossed.

I will be playing the loyal-to-a-fault Anna in ‘EMPunity’ by Rodeo Whiter and Dan Lee for Rodeax later in the year and I can’t wait to get started on that. It explores how humanity copes without organized society and technology. I originally auditioned for Rodeo back when she was a student and I’ve followed her work ever since; I just instinctively knew she had a big career ahead of her and that she would be consistently doing work in which I wanted to play a part. Keep your eyes peeled!

Hollywood World: What do you enjoy the most about your job as an actor?

Francesca Louise White: So many things! That feeling of total absorption when I’m on set acting and living a scene. All the preparation, all the hard work leading up to it, anything outside of the scene – it all fades away and you just enjoy the experience. It feels ‘right’. And I really love it when a Director’s  or Scriptwriter’s dreams for the scene are realized and you get an unfiltered reaction after acting it/when they’ve called cut; like you’ve just brought their imagination fully to life. Fantastic and satisfying feeling.  Reactions from viewers after a screening are very enjoyable too; having an impact on someone, allowing them to escape their lives for a moment or better understand something going on in their lives all through your work.

Hollywood World: What have you learned from the directors that you have worked with throughout your career?

Francesca Louise White: Teamwork is key and that it’s important to have clear ideas which you communicate well to your team. Directors who trust and appreciate their team members from: Assistant Directors, to Gaffer, to Soundperson to Editor etc. etc. are the happiest on set and with the finished film/product. I better understand why so many Directors keep turning to the same team of people as Cast and Crew as that trust and appreciation is vital. I particularly enjoyed and would employ the ‘silly take’ that Director Danny Cotton often includes if I ever Directed too; after capturing the shot/scene/day as it ends the day on a high note and re-awakens creativity when you can get somewhat locked into acting/shooting choices after repeating them a lot. 

Hollywood World: What do you consider your biggest achievement in the field of acting?

Francesca Louise White: I recently completely unexpectedly won both ‘Best Performance’ award at STARBURST Magazine Media City film festival, UK and ‘Best Actress In a Short’ award at Artemis ‘Women In Action’ film festival in Beverly Hills, USA for my work on ‘Dead Meet’ by Daniel J. Brant for Enborne River productions. Receiving both of those awards was surreal! I was only expected to give a speech at STARBUST but it was many a stuttering ‘thank you’ as I was floored. I was sitting next to Director James Atkins and co-star Marcus Massey with whom I worked on comedy short ‘Bragging Rights’ and I had to ask them twice after it was announced as I just didn’t believe it!! Artemis was chock full of incredibly inspiring stuntwomen and kickass actresses and filmmakers, all in honour of ‘Women In Action’ and that I got to share the stage with them is an experience I doubt I’ll ever get over! Grateful doesn’t even begin cover it.

Francesca Louise White 'Best Actress In A Short' award win at Artemis 'Women In Action' Film Festival, CA 2018
Francesca Louise White ‘Best Actress In A Short’ award win at Artemis ‘Women In Action’ Film Festival, CA 2018

Hollywood World: What types of movies are you interested in filming? 

Francesca Louise White: I work very hard not to be pigeon holed and try to take on diverse genres, films and roles within those films. I’m interested in filming good stories; stories which resonate with people, stories which make people reconsider aspects or other people in their own lives and like I said before, stories which have an impact. I’m interested in playing multi-faceted characters as I think they should never be wholly good, bad or any one thing as real people aren’t therefore if a film has that then I’ll want to work on it. I do think escapism is important and there is a place for filming movies just for the fun of it, and for viewers’ fun too.

Hollywood World: How do you see your role as an actor?

Francesca Louise White: I see myself as a story-teller. I think stories connect us as human beings in a way no other known species has, so I’m very happy to just be that. I get to dress up and play for a living. Madness.

Hollywood World: What was your most memorable role? Why?

Francesca Louise White: I guess that depends if you mean memorable for me to play as an experience, or if you mean memorable as in I’m known for… I think ‘Dead Meet’ has had a much larger reach than we ever dared hope for or expect so probably Cleo the lonely assassin if you mean the latter. For the former, probably my first ever lead role in a feature film as Sarah in ‘What Goes Up’ by Matt Gambell for GSProductions; it was the first time I really felt like I was achieving my long held dreams.

Hollywood World: Besides acting, what other things do you enjoy?

Francesca Louise White: I have a ridiculous amount of hobbies! I’ve danced since I started walking, mainly ballet though I am right now particularly enjoying Zumba. I take Pilates and Yoga classes. I train in Martial Art Jeet Kune Do with Kali/Escrima weaponry work and have done so on a weekly basis for a few years now and that’s great fun…Hard work but great fun. I have a compound bow I like to use to practice archery when I get time. I horse ride. I play piano and I enjoy learning languages; I speak French and Spanish to an Advanced Intermediate standard – I recently refreshed my French with a part time course at my local college. Reading is my go-to chill out method, particularly fantasy genre, and I listen to a lot of music whether that’s film soundtracks/scores to classic rock to pop and dubstep. I have very diverse music tastes! I am obsessed with Westworld’s soundtrack right now and their adaptations of pieces like ‘Heart-Shaped Box’ by Nirvana. I like to paint when I get time too. Bit of everything. I try to challenge myself to learn something new each year which is actually often helped/inspired by roles I take on! One of the best parts of the job is training in, researching and learning something new. 

Hollywood World: Do you have any mentor who has supported you throughout your career?

Francesca Louise White: In the industry I’d probably say Linda Dunscombe as I auditioned for one of her projects early on in my career and she’s been a consistent support and inspiration ever since! Out of the industry I’d say my mum. She’s always supported my career and my pursuing my dreams and I wouldn’t have been able to do it without her. I can always come to her for a completely blunt and honest opinion, sometimes brutally so, but I appreciate and need that in my life. 

Hollywood World: What valuable lessons have you learned that helped you become the person you are today?  

Francesca Louise White: Determination can get you anywhere and help you achieve any goal. I was told I wouldn’t even get into University to study drama by teacher at school, then again that I wouldn’t be able to pursue it as a career but I’ve proven them wrong. If you’re determined enough you will get there. Keep pushing forward no matter what anyone else says.

Hollywood World: What’s next?  

Francesca Louise White: Who knows! I’ve found planning ahead too far only leads to disappointment in an industry which is so changeable and fluid. I have signed on as co-producer for ‘The Flock’ so it will be interesting to develop those skills alongside my acting. I’d really like to emulate Reese Witherspoon in the future and launch my own production company to adapt novels, so it’s a step in that direction. As long as people keep casting me in complex roles I’ll be happy though, so hopefully more of that!

 

*Cover Photo Credit: Francesca Louise White, Photo by John Clark Photography

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