Recently I spoke with Pollyanna McIntosh about her career and her new show Hap and Leonard. The interview gives us plenty of reasons as to why she is a star on the rise.
How did you get into acting and what was your big break?
I got into acting at a young age in Edinburgh in Scotland. My Mum saw the energy I needed to run off and sent me to after school drama class when I was nine. It became my career when I was about 24 moving from theatre into film and TV. I’ve since worked my way through lots of “breaks” and milestones but I try to make each one count as much as the last. In this immensely unstable business you have to enjoy the work for its own sake. As far as a “big break” is concerned, I think my role in The Woman and the success of that film in moving people meant I had a real calling card.
Can you compare/and contrast your work on stage compared to your film work and which do you prefer and why?
I’d love to go back to the stage some time. It’s all the more immediate than film and the back and forth with the audience is a fantastic energy and teacher. I love directing theatre too. It’s limitless and can challenge creativity in marvelous ways. I’d say film has just taken over in the last few years with my schedule and because I’m a movie lover too but I guess the big difference with the work I’ve done in both settings is that I haven’t been in a play since I’ve felt like a woman. I’m excited to play those great roles in my 40s. That’s a wee while away but something to look forward to. In the mean time I’d kill to play Maggie the Cat.
How do you prepare for playing such different characters?
My process of preparation varies depending on the role or project but I’d say anything goes as far as finding the character is concerned. Anything! I absolutely love diving in.
What were some of your favorite moments during filming?
Shooting Hap and Leonard in Baton Rouge was a joy as, being on location, we were all living in close quarters and so we had great fun together both on and off set. A lot of cookouts. And dancing. Preparing for and doing the big fight scene with James, Michael and the stunt team was wicked. I got popped in the face for the first time ever and it felt quite thrilling! Another favorite day was when we got some decent rehearsal time for the Leonard’s kitchen scene with our Showrunner and director Jim Mickle. It was a great opportunity to play with the rest of the cast and to feel it all coming together.
Can you share how the creative process went in terms of how much input you had into the character?
Angel was beautifully sparse in the script but her intentions were clear and her size and her sharp dressing was a great canvas to begin with. I brought a certain sexuality to the violence in my audition which I think they dug so maybe you could say I brought that to her. I feel like everything I come up with is fed by the script, you can just take different directions as you see them but there has to be character in the writing. Joe R Lansdale and Jim Mickle and Nick Damici bring character in spades with how they’ve written the show.
What were some of your biggest challenges with the part?
She was a breeze! Putting on all the muscle before shooting was hard work but it’s all relative. Slicking up in pink spandex and the blackest pleather to badass James Purefoy, Michael Kenneth Williams, Christina Hendricks and Bill Sage while Jimmi Simpson smacks your ass as you play with guns and fight like a tiger is a “challenge” I can’t believe I was lucky enough to get paid for…whilst staying in a city with all the buttery soups and seafood you can shake a stick at.
What do you like to do in your free time?
I like to cook, watch movies, write movies, make collages and catch up with friends, preferably on a hike or dancing. I also support a great Scottish charity called The Joshua Nolan Foundation which provides free counseling for those at risk of suicide. I hope your readers will add their support on social media.
What do you have upcoming?
I’m in the middle of production on my directorial debut of a film I wrote and play lead in. It’s a dark comedy called Perfect. I’m also in the middle of playing a baddie in a video game and have a crime drama I co-wrote called Reciprocal Beat in pre-production. I’m to play a meth addicted mother in that one so I’m off to score some meth. It’s all in the preparation!