London actress Alice Sanders got inspired to start her career when she was part of local youth drama groups during her time at school. When she was eighteen, she got signed by her first agent. This enabled her to star in several television, theatre, music video, as well as short film projects. Most notably, she appears in the feature films Trendy, The Musketeers and How To Talk To Girls At Parties. The latter was directed by John Cameron Mitchell, starring Elle Fanning, Alex Sharp, as well as Nicole Kidman.
‘How To Talk To Girls At Parties’ was a big deal for me, getting to work with all of these people I admire so much. Everyone on that project was a real pleasure to work with, and you can see from watching it how much creativity went into everything. It was just a really warm, welcoming environment. Stepping onto that set was just extraordinary, too – the worlds that had been created in these sets took you right out of 2015 London and straight into the punk underground of the 1970s, or an alien holiday home. It sure made my job a lot easier – I was transported!’
Alice also has a passion for writing – this is also what initially made her get into acting. She draws a parallel between both activities and until today gets inspired in her main job that is acting from plays she used to read.
‘Growing up, I loved reading and writing stories, and I think acting became an extension of that: just a different way of storytelling. When I was a teenager and started reading plays, I distinctly remember reading Arthur Miller and thinking ‘oh, this is it’; they’re still some of my favourite plays and there are some greats parts for women that I would love to play (Abigail in The Crucible, Kate and Ann in All My Sons, the brief and wonderful Edie in The American Clock, if anyone’s interested). So that’s how I came to acting, and then I started getting film work and just really loved it. You can just be so natural, just have a thought, and the camera sees it’
Every actress/actor has their own way of preparing for a role – Alice usually makes it dependent on what kind of part she needs to tackle on. Sometimes characters are set to interact in a different time period, place or sub-culture. This calls for finding information on what makes and surrounds the character, therefore influencing their personality.
‘I will do research so I feel like I really know the world the character is a part of and how that influences them. I always write answers in first person to a list of 100 questions about the character that my friend Ronke Adekoluejo gave me when we did a play together – that way, I feel like I know them inside out. Then I do some Stanislavski-y stuff – ‘emotion memory’, the ‘magic if’, – or versions of it, to find the emotional experience of the character.’
Her next role will show Alice in the feature film Granada Nights, which will be about an uncultivated British tourist with a broken heart, who integrates into Granada’s student night life. The film was written and directed by Abid Khan, and plays in Granada, Spain.
‘My next project that’ll be out is a feature called Granada Nights, which is currently finishing up in post and will hopefully be making some stops on the festival circuit very soon. I play the ex-girlfriend of the protagonist, the wonderful and talented Antonio Aakeel, who has gone to study abroad in Granada, Spain, and turn over a new leaf for herself.’
As for future projects, Alice aims to pursue her passion of writing and combine it with her acting career.
‘I would really love to branch out and start developing projects that I have written, and just write more in general. I would love to be able to generate my own acting work this way, and create projects that I really believe in. I also hope to eventually work more in the US and establish myself over there. I am very ambitious, but at the same time, I’m just happy when I’m working, and there’s joy in not knowing what’s around the corner.’
Alice’s advice to everyone who may aspire to start out as an actor/actress:‘Just to stick with it, because it can be so tough and you have to stay resolute and not give up on yourself, even when that’s really, really hard. Take every glimmer of an opportunity, even when it’s a long shot, because you just never know what’s going to be the thing that leads to another thing that really makes a difference for you.’
Written by Melanie Subat