Gina Jones (Alleycats, Above the Fire, The Year That Killed, Joan & Jamal, I.T. Crowd) is set to star as the lead role in new film The Sun Also Rises. Taking inspiration from the Ernest Hemingway novel of the same title, the film focuses on the impacts of Raye’s abusive relationship. Charting her journey of survival and escape, the emotionally charged feature reveals how the cycle of violence affects all that come into contact with it.
We chat to Gina to find out more about her experience working on this film..
What was it like working on The Sun Also Rises?
It was such an amazing experience. Sometimes when you audition for a job, it can be months before you start filming, but it was a really quick turnaround from auditioning to filming. As scary as this was it was a great experience because I just had no choice but to throw myself and everything I have into the role. I was also really lucky to get to work with and watch some really talented and experienced actors. It was such a privilege getting to work with someone as experienced as Craig Fairbrass, and there was this really fun scene I did with Eddie Webber. He caught me off guard and just added something that wasn’t in the script but fitted his character perfectly.
I wasn’t expecting it, but I stayed in character and it gave us such a natural interaction. I was working with actors who had so much more experience than me, which can be a little intimidating, but they were all so kind, patient and generous with their time to me. I was extremely lucky, and I loved every minute of it.
We also had the immense privilege of being directed by Roland Manookian, who is such a talented actor and director. Most of the directors I have worked with in the past haven’t been actors, but with Roland’s background, I was really spoilt. He knew exactly what it was like to be in my position and was so generous with his time with me. He’d really go on that emotional journey with you. Often especially with more tender scenes, it can be a little daunting and exposing to stand up there, but with Roland, I never felt like that. He always gave me the space and time I needed to get where I needed to be.
What are your takeaways/experiences from working on the film?
The film deals a lot with domestic abuse however, within that, that are a lot of other things going on. It ultimately shows the strength of the human spirit and hope. I think from this film and my research before I started filming and through my character Raye’s experience, it really highlights the nuances of domestic abuse. Before starting this, sadly, I didn’t quite realise how common domestic abuse is. And I naively thought that it would have been possible easily to spot. But through my own experience working on the film, I’ve come to realise that it’s not always possible for outsiders to see. So, we should always be kind to one another. As cliché as it may sound, you really don’t know what someone else is going through.
Do you prefer working in film, theatre or TV?
I love acting! And I really hope to be able to do all of them! But if I really had to pick, I’d say the film was my favourite.
Can you recommend a film, TV show or play you have enjoyed seeing recently?
Oh my gosh, there are so many. I’m really excited to see the next season of The Handmaid’s Tale. Especially with what’s going on in America at the moment.
We know you love dogs – do you have a dog of your own & are you anambassador for any dog charities?
I actually used to be really scared of dogs! When I was little, I was chased by a considerably large dog. Of course, the dog wanted to play – but all I saw was an open mouth, and I was convinced it wanted to bite me! My optician had this little old Yorkshire terrier called Sophiewho would just sit quietly in the shop, and I fell in love with her. So as soon as I could, I got my own Yorkshire terrier (which is the best breed, by the way) I called her Teddy. And she is the absolute best.
I think dogs are so wonderful. They always give you their best and are brilliant at bringing people together. So many people are struggling with loneliness but give them a dog, and they have instant companionship, and they’re a great way to meet and connect with people you wouldn’t normally. I’d absolutely love to work with a dog charity in the future. There are some fantastic ones doing amazing work.