As part of our coverage of this film, I enjoyed spending a few minutes this week speaking with Gemma Atkinson, who plays the pivotal character of Hannah. She was a delight to interview, open and honest and hopefully will go far in what is obviously a pretty competitive marketplace. I started by asking her how she came to be cast in Loser:-
Gemma Atkinson: My agent took a call from (director) Dominic Burns and he sent the script through for me to look at the role of Hannah. I was flattered as I would usually expect to have to audition for a role, so it was good to be invited to look at it instead. I thought the script was hilarious and that James was a really good character to be playing opposite. Although I was initially concerned that Hannah was just going to be eye candy, I could see that she developed into more than that and I was glad to see her develop through the course of the script into a more interesting character. There was a scene that was eventually cut out where Hannah is slagging James off to her Dad while he listens to his headphones and I felt this was a good decision as it was better left for the film to develop at the end to the point where we see Hannah’s true colours.
HeyUGuys: Was all of Hannah there in the script or were you able to add anything yourself? Did those more unpleasant traits of hers come to you naturally, or was it a stretch?
GA: I have an older sister, so it was quite easy to find those dimensions. I actually found it hard to be so mean to Simon [Phillips, who plays the eponymous Loser, James] as we got on really well during filming, but in the end I just imagined I was talking to my sister.
GA: No, but I could tell from the very first scene that we were going to get on.
HUG: What is Dominic Burns like to work with as a director?
GA: He was always open to suggestions from me and we would each have our own notes. He has a really good eye for the characters as well. We have worked again since on Airborne and he has really taken me to new and different places as an actress on that film. He is very relaxed on set and always polite and respectful to the crew. I’ve worked with some directors who are really specific about saying a line on a particular step or turning your head on cue. Dominic was much more open.
HUG: Airborne looks like being on a very different scale to Loser, how did the two shoots compare?
GA: Well they were both very cold, but with Airborne I was surprised that they had a whole aeroplane for shooting; I was expecting a set with a few seats in it. It was a really interesting change of style to go from a comedy to a horror/thriller.
HUG: Will you be able to work with Dominic and Simon again?
GA: They’ve said that they have a few scripts in the pipeline, but they want to wait until they are ready, but I would love to work with them again if I can.
HUG: You have worked now in TV and film, do you prefer one over the other?
GA: I find with TV work that although it is more comfortable, playing the same character every day, it is not as much of a challenge. Film work tends to be more varied and you play a different character each time and there is the challenge of having to create and build the character before you start filming.
HUG: Finally, do you have any dream roles, or are there other genres you would like to work in?
GA: I do a lot of kickboxing training, so I would love to do something like Haywire. I would also love to do a period drama at some point.
Below are some clips and the trailer for How to Stop Being a Loser (plus fun new DIY trailer maker here) give you a bit of an idea what to expect. Do by all means seek it out.