With TV credits including appearances in Revenge, Secrets & Lies and Finding Carter and soon to be seen on the big screen in Baby Driver alongside Angel Elgort and Jon Hamm, Allison King has always had a passion for performing. With several upcoming projects and a long-standing desire to work with Madeline Kahn, the next few months are going to be very busy indeed for this hugely talented actress and she kindly chatted to Thisisthelatest about favourite childhood films, Amy Schumer and her advice for aspiring stars.
TITL: At what age did you decide you wanted to be an actress? Was there a film or a star you admired at the time that inspired you?
Allison King: Very young. My earliest memories are of performing for my somewhat unwilling family. I wanted to either be an explorer like Lewis & Clark or an actor, and honestly, I see them as very similar. I was the kid who ran off in the park to find the deep recesses of the tree groves, or the secret path that lead to a homeless encampment. Acting is the same – it’s an active and passionate exploration of the human experience. I’m drawn to the dark shadowy corners and hidden away nooks of our lives.
TITL: Which films did you grow up watching up and how, if at all, have your tastes in film changed over the years?
AK: Clue, Goonies and Romancing the Stone were on constant replay in my life and I still love a good adventure story or mystery. Although, certainly my tastes have matured. Right now, I’m drawn to the emotionally connected and cinematic story telling being done by Jill Soloway and Jim Frohna or Barry Jenkins. I also love the gritty poetic style of Terrence Malick and Andrea Arnold.
TITL: Tell me a bit about your role in Baby Driver and what drew you to the film.
AK: Edgar Wright was directing! When I got the opportunity to audition, I honestly had to stop myself from wanting the role so I just do my best work without the nervous attachment to getting the job. I had already been a massive fan of his singular approach to storytelling and the idea of working with him was almost too much to consider. My role is someone who forces Baby to look at how his bad behavior has consequences in the larger world. And I think that’s one of the wonderful themes of the movie and speaks to Edgar’s brilliance: our behavior and choices have profound effects on all the people in the world around us. But Edgar cloaks it in this fun, glossy, fast paced movie that’s full of music and joy. Such a talent!
TITL: What can you tell me about your upcoming film Thank You For Your Service, and did you get to work with Amy Schumer?
AK: I didn’t get to work with Amy, which is probably for the best because I might have humped her leg. Don’t tell her that. TYFYS is a film about the ways in which war has changed. Wounds aren’t always on the surface these days. We’re still learning about how to treat PTSD and Traumatic Brain Injury and sadly these guys who have risked everything, are suffering as a result. I think it’s the kind of war movie that has a real bone crunching heart that will affect a lot of people. I worked mostly with Beulah Koale, a wonderful New Zealand actor who will probably be a huge star after this movie comes out. He is incredible in this.
TITL: Do you favour TV over film or are you just happy to be able to balance both?
AK: Balance is a struggle for me. Honestly, for an actor it’s all about working – the format matters very little to the creative work that goes into it. I’d love to get back to the theater and am looking at a few opportunities to do that. But of course, I’d love the opportunity to explore a character over a longer period, like in a serialized TV drama. If the BBC called I’d hop on a plane in a heartbeat. Someone bring back The Hour!
TITL: Are there any other projects in the pipeline you can tell me about?
AK: Horse Soldiers is another project that’s coming out in 2018. I got the opportunity to work with Nicolai Fuglsig who is such an amazing, kinetic director. And I got to work with Michael Shannon who I’ve been a fan of since my acting conservatory days in New York. It was an all-around amazing experience. It’s also a war movie set just after September 11th.
TITL: If you could star in any film with any actor or actress, living or dead, which and who would it be and why?
AK: Oh my god… can it be an ensemble piece because I am such a fangirl?! By far my favorite would have to be Madeline Kahn. Her comedic ability just reaches through the screen into your guts. Then we could get Andrea Arnold to direct… and it would be this super weird artsy screwball comedy with a huge heart.
TITL: What advice would you give to aspiring actors/actresses looking to make their way in the industry? Is there anything you wish you’d ever been told before you started on this journey?
AK: Great question! Firstly, fall in love with the joyful and painful process of creation. Get in class with the best teachers in your area, work hard to find your inner voice and point of view as an actor, and trust the journey. After you train, if you’re not slightly nauseous, you’re playing it too safe. And when you start working, learn how to take excellent care of yourself. Your body and heart are your instrument and working is all about taking excellent care of them so they’re fully available at show time. Also, therapy helps!
TITL: To what extent, if at all, has social media impacted your career, and what part would you say it plays in the promotion and advertising of those in the industry and their projects?
AK: I’m not sure yet, I’m still exploring it and trying to do it in a healthy way. But I think we’re at a moment in time where women are finding they have a voice and it needs to be heard. I was so moved by the women’s marches around the world. And for that reason, I think it’s important for women – whether in the industry or not – to speak out about their world and their experience in it. We’re aching for half of the world’s population to speak up!
TITL: What’s your ultimate ambition as an actress and, whose career would you most like to emulate? Why?
AK: I try not to think in these terms because it can be harmful to compare your journey to anyone else’s in this industry. I think as an actor – someone who speaks someone else’s words for a living – it’s essential to find your own voice and your own path. So, my ultimate goal is to continue to find my voice in the characters I play. I’m also working on several writing projects and I really want to lift other women who have done great work in the shadows. I think it’s time for women to tell their stories.
For more information on and to keep up to date with Allison King, follow her on Twitter. Header photo credit: Dana Patrick.