[Editor’s Note: This article is presented in partnership with Shinola in support of Brit Takes, our monthly dispatch on the UK film scene. As makers of modern watches, bicycles, leather goods, and journals, Shinola stands for skill at scale, the preservation of craft and the beauty of industry. Learn more about Shinola handcrafted goods.]
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Rosie Day is only 20 years old, but she’s already clicking with Hollywood. Since starting off her career at age four in BBC’s “Hope and Glory,” Day has astonishing worked on another 19 television series in the UK. Her most famous role remains Tess Elliot in ITV’s medical drama “Harley Street”. On top of starring in BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5 productions, Day also found success in theater with several roles at the Royal Court Theater, Royal National Theater and Palace Theater. In 2012, Day made her film debut in the horror film “The Seasoning House”. Following the premiere, she returned to British television. But now she’s back in the movies.
“All Roads Lead To Rome” finds Day in a cast opposite Sarah Jessica Parker. With the film out in U.S. theaters this month, Day has already lined up her next project, and it’s back in the television role: She’ll play Mary Hawkins in Season 2 of “Outlander.”
Brit Takes spoke with Day about her ever-evolving career and where she hopes it will take her next.
Can you tell us about your experience working in the industry as a child actor?
It was such a different childhood to my friends. It was based around auditions and filming and rehearsals and endless train rides, instead of sleepovers and after school clubs, but I loved every single second of it. I started when I was five, as my sister already did it, and a casting director spotted me at an audition for her, but I told her that I thought acting was silly and I didn’t want to do it. But I ended up doing it anyway! It takes a lot of dedication to be a successful child actor, a lot of compromises, but if you really love it then you’ll do anything for it. I loved my experience and everyone was always so great with me.
How would you say your work on stage and “Harley Street” prepped you for working on “The Seasoning House”?
My whole time as a child actor was spent watching and learning from really amazing adult actors. I’d sit at the monitor or in rehearsals and watch them intently; I’d learn and copy what they did — which doesn’t always work when you’re 11 and copying a 40-year-old, but most of the time it did. So many people took me under their wing and taught me so much. I’m the actor I am today because of all the brilliant people I got to work with as a child. I’ve always wanted to be the most versatile actor I could be, so when “The Seasoning House” came along, it was such a different role for a teenage girl. I threw myself into creating a character just how the adults around me did.
How would differentiate your experiences in film and TV?
My number one passion is probably film, as I think you get more creative control and much more time to play around and create, whereas TV you’re usually on a tight schedule and work a lot faster. But the brilliant thing about TV is that the story you’ve created gets shared with millions of people sat In their homes, which I’ve always thought is very cool.
“All Roads Lead to Rome” is a romantic comedy, which is a departure for you. What was it like to try your hand at humor?
I’ve always loved comedy. I was apparently quite a funny little girl growing up, and my dad has a brilliant sense of humor, so comedy always came very naturally to me. Plus, we watched a lot of great comedies, like “Airplane!” So to get to do it on film was the most wonderful opportunity. Luckily, it just came really naturally to me.
Were you influenced or mentored at all on set?
I was 100% mentored by Sarah Jessica [Parker]. We immediately hit it off, and I just lived in her pocket for the whole of filming. She’s one of the best humans. From a work perspective, she was a child actor as well, so we both work in a very similar instinctive way and bounced off each other really well. It was so easy and natural. She also always made sure my American accent was on point, which was very handy. My favorite memories are cycling round Rome every weekend with her and seeing the sites, immersing ourselves in the way of life there.
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You’re starring in the highly anticipated next season of “Outlander.” How do you handle nerves?
I never really get nervous on set, as it’s where I’m most comfortable. I can’t ever remember not being on a set. But I do get nervous before a big [audition] if it’s for a role I really want, but I always make sure I’m super prepared. If I’ve created something to present to the director that I’m happy with and then just do my best, as my mum taught me, that’s all you can really do. You’re either going to be what the director wants or your not, but as long as you come away happy with what you did, that’s all you can do.
What was your favorite part about the “Outlander” filming experience?
The whole thing was just a dream, really. Everyone was so lovely. It was the nicest crew and cast with the most beautiful costumes, and such great actors to work with. I spent a lot of time with Caitriona Balfe, who plays Claire. I loved it as I learned a lot from her.
What’s next for you?
I just wrapped “Outlander” last week, so I’m heading to the states to see what it’s like out there. But hopefully I’ll find both work and happiness.
This article is presented in partnership with Shinola in support of Brit Takes, our monthly dispatch on the UK film scene. Detroit based design brand Shinola was conceived with the belief that products should be made by hand and built to last. As makers of modern watches, bicycles, leather goods, and journals, Shinola stands for skill at scale, the preservation of craft and the beauty of industry. Learn more about Shinola handcrafted goods.