View the interview in Greek by clicking here.
Billie moved to London because she wanted to be in films. She hadn’t initially realised the difficulty of leaving Greece to follow her acting dream in a different country. However, she gradually managed to adapt to the British environment and pursue her ambition. She has been in London quite a few years now and after the completion of her first short film “Two Persons Max”, she’s currently in the pre-production of her debut feature film. Her feature film is an erotic / psychological thriller with a sense of humour, philosophical references and many twists. Having worked on the script for two years, she’s now ready to fulfil her triple identity as an actress, writer and producer.
– When and why did you decide to go to UK?
In the autumn of 2008, I finished filming the TV show “True Loves” (“Alithinoi Erotes”); the very next day, after shooting ended, I left Greece to come to London. Around six months later, I went to Cyprus for three months for the filming of the TV show “My problem with women” (“To Provlima mou me tis Gynekes”) and then returned to London. I decided to come to UK because I just wanted to play in films. It didn’t even remotely occur to me how difficult the reality of that would be. If you don’t see things simply – with some kind of innocence or actually ignorance of danger – you’ll never make the next step. I think that much realism kills the dream…
– How is your experience there? Are you content with what you’ve accomplished until now on a professional and personal level?
If anyone had told me the things I’d go through, before I came here, there is no way I’d believe them. Probably, I’d laugh and raise an eyebrow. London is a really unpredictable city which is very charming and harsh at the same time. I did then, and still do, random (non acting) jobs to pay my bills, but meanwhile I’m wholeheartedly focused on what I want to do. I’ve managed to work as an actress, and to write scripts in a non-native language, without having studied here. This has taken me a lot of time and has been a real struggle, but it has made me, and continues to make me, extremely happy.
– Do you consider coming back to Greece or do you see your future abroad?
I see my future going in whatever direction a very promising collaboration and a strong role will lead me. I don’t dwell on the possibilities, but I get passionate about things that happen now and I’m always open to interesting proposals that will allow me to evolve as an actress and a writer.
– Would you recommend to other Greek actors to follow a similar path and take the decision to leave their country for a better luck?
It’s a big sacrifice to leave your country, your family and your friends. A sacrifice like that can only be worth it if you know exactly what you want and you’re determined to try everything to accomplish it. You need to be slightly crazy, patient, persistent and to work non-stop on what you want to do, because no one will give it to you easily and out of nowhere. Oh, and you need to have a thick skin, but I take that for granted. If that’s the case, then I’d certainly recommend to anyone to try their luck here. I don’t know if my journey will lead me exactly where I want. What I do know is that even if I fail, I would have at least strived for something I truly believed in.
– Tell us about your short film. How did you decide to do it and how was it accepted by the audience? How was the whole experience?
Two years ago, I made a decision: instead of relying on my current acting agent and the casting directors to get work, I decided to write exactly the kind of role I would want to play in exactly the kind of film I wanted to see myself playing in, and to find the people who would make this happen the best possible way. To be honest, desperation led me to make my film. It’s as simple as that. “Two Persons Max” is an unpredictable psychological thriller that takes place exclusively in a lift. It was filmed at Pinewood studios, it won a few awards at the festivals and most importantly it captured the imagination of the people who saw it. Whenever I had the chance to watch it with an audience, I was impressed by the bursts of laughter in moments I wasn’t expecting and also by that kind of subtle sound of surprise people make when they’re shocked with something. Ι will never forget in NY (where people are slightly more expressive), a woman in the audience let an “oh, my god!” escape her mouth while she was watching it, which I thought was a brilliant reaction.
– In the future would you be interested also in directing?
For now, I’m in pre production of my debut feature film called “Sparrow’s Call” alongside a very strong team of professionals (dir Tim Kent / DG productions). It’s an erotic psychological thriller with sense of humour, philosophical references and many twists. It took me two years to finish the script which is based on real events. I haven’t thought of directing yet. I’d like first and foremost to act and I also very much enjoy writing interesting stories with strong characters. With my work I’m aiming to affect people’s hearts and minds… To influence them!
– How are the Greek actors and in general the foreign actors being received in UK? Have you experienced any form of racism or everything runs smoothly?
It would be a lie to say that a kind of racism is completely absent, but I honestly don’t think this can be possible in any country. It’s difficult for any foreigner who lives and works here. Let alone, if you’re a woman and a foreigner, then you must get used to hear people saying that basically there’s no way you’re going to make it. However, if you work hard and adapt to the system (without constantly reacting), you will finally get the chance to move up, regardless your nationality. It will just always be difficult, given that you’re a foreigner, but not impossible.
– What are the language difficulties a foreign actor will have to confront?
The main difficulty when you act in a language which isn’t your native one is to speak with clarity. To be careful with your intonation and at the same time to be natural in your acting. You need to practice regularly and socialize with English people. The other difficulty you’ll come across is to get auditions, as due to your accent, you’ll be excluded from the majority of the potential roles.
Well, very often you’ll get to hear the word “impossible”. I suggest you ignore it, be brave and keep on going.