Interview with actress Jessie Cave
Ok. I *might* have become a little obsessed with Jessie Cave…I *might* have stayed up till 5am one evening watching every single video on her website…I *might* have sat front-row-centre at her latest Edinburgh preview show with a stalker-esque glint in my eye and I may or may not have forced her into this interview. You decide.
I first fell under Jessie’s spell (I’m gonna mention Harry Potter in a minute so that’s really clever that I said ‘spell’) when she drew ‘steam hearts’ on the windows of the Hogwart’s Express as Lavender Brown. Since then she’s appeared as Zazzy in Grandma’s House and is off to the Edinburgh Fringe this summer with her self-penned show Bookworm which also stars her mini-me sister Bebe Cave and a beaver. Jessie is the creator of the site Pindippy which is a wonderland of Jessie’s illustrations, collages and comedy sketches including my favourite Flat Whites, a mini-series about coffee-obsession (and I don’t even like coffee, that’s how good it is).
So, enough of me getting all fan-girl up in your grills, here’s a little peek inside Jessie’s cave :
You beat thousands of girls (not literally) for the role of Lavender Brown, but can you tell us about your acting experience pre-Potter?
I had the inititial audition for Harry Potter soon after I had decided to give acting a go. I got my first audition ( a Nokia advert) and my second ( a water nymph in Inkheart) and so I was incredibly, scarily lucky. I think it was also a case of right place, right time, and I have not been in the right place or time as well since!!
Can you talk us through the casting process for Lavender? I believe there were biscuits involved?
I only had three auditions in total and the final one was a screen test with Rupert. Apparently 5 other girls were tested. I was the last of the day and I think everyone was tired and perhaps thought, oh why not let’s give her a go. I do think, though, that my improvisation with some biscuits got me the job, and I did get on with Rupert very well. I had never improvised before and remember thinking, ‘why have I not done this before?’
So after Harry Potter you went over to LA to check it out; as an actress how did things differ over there to here in the UK?
It’s more cut-throat. Here, auditions are generally friendly, very English. I enjoy them because it’s a small circuit and you tend to see the same people. Over there, the circuit is vast. The only three auditions I had were not fun. At all. But the good thing to come out of my general LA horror, was Pindippy. I came back driven and determined to make something of my own so I wouldn’t have to rely on anyone else anymore to be creative.
I absolutely LOVE me some Pindippy.com. How did it come about?
I went to art school, I draw everyday. I have always written. So Pindippy was a way of combining everything I do and love and storing it in one place. I am also lucky because it does cost a lot to film and to edit and to run a website, so it is all funded by the jobs I get, and I am proud of it because it has taken a lot of time and buttons.
You’re a master (I was gonna say mistress but it sounds a bit fetishy) of making your own stuff. What advice would you give to anyone thinking of producing their own material?
I have done over 100 videos for Pindippy now, and the nice thing is that I can see how the videos or the content has developed. No body was telling me what to do, or how to act, or what to wear, and so all the decisions were my own. I was allowed to develop my style naturally. It is scary being in charge, and it takes a lot of work trying to find the right people to enable the things to actually get made (an editor, a cameraman, a web-developer, a sound system, a bank …etc) But whatever you do make will be yours entirely. Embrace the difficulties and the practicalities and just get going because once it is made, you forget how long it took and if you back up, have it forever.
Which actors inspire you?
Roseanne Barr, Julie Walters, Meryl Streep, Kristen Wigg, Susan Sarandon, Natalie Portman, Chloe Sevigny, Jennifer Saunders.
On the blog we’ve previously discussed auditions in depth. Have you ever had any nightmare castings?
HELL YES!! but luckily I have a very selective memory so I have blocked them out. One though, very early on, required me to catwalk in a thong. I think I was at the wrong audition. I think it was for models. I didn’t do it, obviously.
So BOOKWORM! I’m a fully paid up member of ‘Bookworms United’ after I managed to catch the previews in London but, for anyone who’s yet to join, what’s it all about?
By coming to the show you are taking part in (by way of watching) the first session of my book club ‘Bookworms United’. The first session is a celebration of me and how I came to create this book club which I hope will unite fellow bookworms and share the books that have helped form me as a person and book club leader.It is meant to be funny and is only semi-fictional. No audience participation is required unless I make a mistake. Bookworms welcome.
Any plans to develop it further?
I will continue Bookworms United sessions in London. Doing the Edinburgh smoothed out version of Bookworm on the 15th September @ Leicester Square theatre, and from there on it will be Session 1, Session 2 etc….
**Bonus question!!!*** Without spoiling the show…..is that REALLY Bebe’s baby photo?
Yes!!! She loved butter. We would find her at the foot of the fridge with a spoon.
Catch Jessie in Edinburgh, 2nd-26th August, Underbelly, Cowgate.