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EXCLUSIVE Interview: Innocence Star Sophia Curtis

September 03, 2014

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By: Lynn Barker

“Innocence” is something you want to avoid at Hamilton Prep School. Turns out that the staff, all lovely, sexy ladies, are supernatural creatures using the blood of virgins to keep them gorgeous and hot…forever. The novel, by Jane Mendelsohn, has been adapted to film by an all female production team. 18-year-old actress Sophia Curtis (call her Sophie) was tapped to play heroine Beckett Warner, next in line to contribute her life to the ultimate beauty treatment.  

Beckett (Sophia Curtis) meets Pamela (Kelly Reilly)Beckett (Sophia Curtis) meets Pamela (Kelly Reilly)Courtesy of Scion Pictures

Kidzworld talked by phone to Sophie, who is in college at UC Berkeley majoring in Film. How was shooting in her native New York City? Did she and very cute love interest Graham Phillips who plays Tobey, really get along? Did she get to keep a gorgeous blue gown she wears in the film? Turns out her mom, famous fashion designer Jill Stuart designed it!

Kidzworld: Had you read the book before or after getting cast?

  • Sophie: I wasn’t familiar with the book when I was cast. Hilary Brougher, the director, she didn’t want me to read the full book. She wanted me to get my own perspective on the Beckett character. It’s really different from the movie. The storyline’s a little different. It’s all written from Beckett’s perspective, like a journal. Jane Mendelsohn, the writer of the book is one of the producers so she helped me a lot with Beckett’s character.

Tobey (Graham Philips) and Beckett (Sophia Curtis) fall in loveTobey (Graham Philips) and Beckett (Sophia Curtis) fall in loveCourtesy of Scion Pictures

Kidzworld: It’s cool that the filmmakers from producers to director are all women. Was that kind of a different dynamic for you? How would you rate the experience of working with all of them?

  • Sophie: It was amazing. I had only worked with male directors before (in Arbitrage, At Any Price and The English Teacher) and I thought it was really important for Innocence to have a really feminine feel to it. Hilary was amazing. She is very motherly and helped me a lot to get into my character.

Kidzworld: How was working with cute Graham Phillips as Tobey? Did you get to meet to get to know each other before shooting or did they just throw you together on the first day?

  • Sophie: Graham I met once before shooting but we became really, really close on set. All the kids did. We were always hanging out on set and after set. The montage scene (partying at school) was just us hanging out not realizing we were on film. It was really fun. It was really important to Hilary that we were the ages we were actually playing.

Beckett (Sophia Curtis) and Tobey (Graham Phillips) take a romantic breakBeckett (Sophia Curtis) and Tobey (Graham Phillips) take a romantic breakCourtesy of Scion Pictures

Kidzworld: Did you and the younger cast members get to do anything together in New York while shooting?

  • Sophie: I grew up there so it was really fun to shoot in New York City because I got to see it in a whole new way. None of the other kids in the film were from there. Some were from L.A. so I got to show them around.

Kidzworld: Who was the jokester or prankster on set? Or who just kept cracking everyone up? What did they do?

  • Sophie: I think the boy who played Hirsch, Daniel Zovatto. He and Sarah (Sutherland who plays Beckett’s BFF Jen) were a little older than Graham and I. We were 16 and 17 when we were making the film and they were like 21 and 22 so they were just making jokes. His character is more of a prankster anyway.

Beckett (Sophia Curtis) with pals Jen, Hirsch and love TobeyBeckett (Sophia Curtis) with pals Jen, Hirsch and love TobeyCourtesy of Scion Pictures

Kidzworld: Who are you into musically right now? Which artist?

  • Sophie: I’m really into Flume that band and a more common one I really love is Lana del Rey.

Kidzworld: What is your pet peeve on a date? What must a guy never do or you never want to go out with him again?

  • Sophie: I hate it when they don’t remember your name after you tell them. They are so busy introducing themselves that they don’t remember what your name was. I get a lot of that. Everybody is introducing themselves and they can never remember my name after I’ve said it many times.

Beckett (Sophia Curtis) meets the evil book club ladiesBeckett (Sophia Curtis) meets the evil book club ladiesCourtesy of Scion Pictures

Kidzworld: Heavy question: Have you ever lost anyone dear to you and if so, did you use that for your acting when Beckett’s mom died?

  • Sophie: When I was younger, my Godmother had to get a heart transplant. She’s fine but when she went into surgery that was very scary because just the thought of losing someone is hard. You don’t have to go through the same thing that you’re filming about but, if you understand a little section of it, you just draw off of that. I think that was what I used when Beckett loses her mom because my God-mom is like a mom to me.

Kidzworld: That’s a beautiful blue dress Beckett wears. Did you get to keep it? Did you keep anything from set as a souvenir?

  • Sophie: Yeah, there were like thirty. We had so much blood and changes needed but actually my mom is a fashion designer and she got to design that dress. Her name is Jill Stuart.

Beckett, an intended victim, with PamelaBeckett, an intended victim, with PamelaCourtesy of Scion Pictures

Kidzworld: Wow! She’s famous. Well the dress is gorgeous. It looks like a blue Grecian gown.

  • Sophie: Thank you. We had a lot of fun. She got to come on set and we got to do that together with a costume designer so that was really cool to have her collaborate on the whole process. She also designed Kelly Reilly’s dress (Pamela.. the evil supernatural “nurse” at the school). I also got to keep Beckett’s necklace; a little pendant with a small silver coin type thing.

Kidzworld: How did you and Kelly who plays Pamela get along? Is she totally different than the character she plays?

  • Sophie: She’s super, super sweet. She and Linus (Roche) who plays my dad are both British so they kind of bonded over that. When I first met Kelly, we were with the action coach to practice our fight scene so that was a fun way to meet. It was my first leading role and that was a lot of pressure for me so she helped me a lot through it and reminded me that it was my story and wanted to help me tell it the way I wanted it to be told. Throughout the scene she was really helpful and supportive. Very different from her character.

Pamela (Kelly Reilly) and dad Miles (Linus Roache) grow closerPamela (Kelly Reilly) and dad Miles (Linus Roache) grow closerCourtesy of Scion Pictures

Kidzworld: What is your favorite fantasy or horror film and why?

  • Sophie: I think my favorite horror movie, I really like going back to the source of it. (I just like) the idea of creating these stories to scare people with underlying messages. That’s really interesting to me to I look back to Bram Stoker’s Dracula, this supernatural love story with this normal girl trapped in this hyper-reality. I like the simplicity in Dracula. Many horror movies today have been pulled from that baseline story.

Kidzworld: What was the most challenging scene in Innocence for you and why?

  • Sophie: I think the beginning of the movie where I lose my mom. It was the first scene we filmed; a really big day for me. We actually filmed that in March so the water was like zero degrees. It was so cold and emotional and intense, overall but all those things added to help me get into character.

Beckett (Sophia Curtis) mourns her mother's deathBeckett (Sophia Curtis) mourns her mother's deathCourtesy of Scion Pictures

Kidzworld: Do you know how to surf and also skateboard and were you faking that?

  • Sophie: I had taken surf lessons before so, for what I had to do in this film, I was fine with that. I wasn’t as good a surfer as Beckett probably is and, for skateboarding, I’d been on a skateboard but I hadn’t ever really practiced skateboarding so, out of this movie, I actually got to learn to how to fully skateboard and surf which was awesome. I got to spend the whole summer in the park with a skateboarding instructor. That was really fun. As I was learning in real life, I was learning in the film. Graham was definitely better than me but I think he also took a few lessons.

Kidzworld: Do you believe there are supernatural creatures at work in the world?  Which ones most fascinate you (werewolves, witches, vampires, zombies, whatever)?

  • Sophie: Yeah. I’m a big believer. I’m one of those people who kind of believes in everything. It’s fun. Why take away that aspect of being a kid. I do believe in supernatural things. I think the ones that I always most liked were magic. I used to love watching “Sabrina the Teenage Witch” when I was younger. I loved Roald Dahl’s book “Witches”. I just like the whole idea of casting spells, the idea of being secretly mystical and magical.

Pamela (center, Kelly Reilly) and her book clubPamela (center, Kelly Reilly) and her book clubCourtesy of Scion Pictures

Kidzworld: How and when did you know you wanted to be an actor and were your parents always supportive?

  • Sophie: I’m the baby in my family of three sisters so I think that comes with putting on a little bit of a show to get attention when you are a little kid so I was always doing little things. I was always involved in putting on shows at my school. I don’t know if there was one moment when I knew. I was approached by my manager now. I did this interview thing with her and met with an acting coach and he completely changed my view of acting by telling me that acting is all about not acting. Working with him, I realized that it was what made me really happy.
  • When I did my first film I just felt it was right for me and couldn’t imagine doing anything else. I like the idea of playing different character, learning from each of them, then going home and still be Sophie. I think I learned strength from playing Beckett’s character.

Kidzworld: Tell me why you think teens will really get into this film? 

  • Sophie: It’s still cool to think (the supernatural) is cool at that age. They are going to have fun with it. They won’t care as much as older people what everybody thinks. They will think it’s fun and exciting. They have crazy imaginations that, when you are older, are kind of taken away from you.

Innocence Movie PosterInnocence Movie PosterCourtesy of Scion Pictures

Innocence is in theaters September 5th!