We continue our coverage of the amazing The Florida Project with another exclusive interview, this time with star Bria Vinaite who makes her on-screen debut in the film as Halley, the mother of six-year-old Moonee who is struggling to make ends meet in the shadow of the Magic Kingdom.

Plucked by director Sean Baker from Instagram, the director thought she would be perfect for the role despite her lack of experience but it was her raw talent that drew him to her. Vinaite says that it was quite an emotional experience reading the script for the first time, saying:

“I cried when I first read it! I read a lot and it’s hard for me to have those emotions through text and I’d never read a script before but for it to be so well written that I was flipping through and feeling it all and seeing it while having these emotions that the second I finished it I knew I wanted to be a part of it and hoped Sean would give me the part and thankfully he did!”

Willem Dafoe, who co-stars in the film, spent time with the managers and people of the motels surrounding Disneyland and Vinaite said she did something similar and in speaking to the mother’s who are in similar circumstances helped her to really grasp Halley and her story, saying:

“I flew in 2 1/2 weeks early and I took classes on the set of the Magic Castle before we started filming so that was very helpful. I did a lot of character development, wrote a whole backstory, hung out with a lot of the women that lived in the motels and got to know their stories so I could really understand where Halley comes from and the things she goes through every day.”

One of the great things to come out of the film is the relationship that Vinaite made with Brooklynn Prince who plays Moonee and that their on-screen chemistry was no fluke as they became great friends almost instantaneously, saying:

“Best friends from the moment we met. I feel like it helped so much because we didn’t have to pretend, we had the chemistry on-screen and off-screen and even now I hang out with her every day! We live in different states when we aren’t together but we FaceTime like once a week – she’s my mini best friend!”

You can view the full interview below:

The Florida Project opens in UK cinemas on November 10th.