Imogen Archer has that thing. She has this uniquely intriguing appearance, which is both striking but warming. She has an effervescent charm that is endearing, but still confident. She has a positive and open attitude that I wish more people in this world had. Imogen Archer is one young Adelaidean who we will see great things from. Sorry, *continue to see great things from.
Imogen starred in the film 52 Tuesdays – which received critical acclaim at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival, and won the Crystal Bear at the Berlin International Film Festival. Filmed in Adelaide and directed by Sophie Hyde, the film follows the year-long journey of Billie, and her mother who undergoes a gender-transformation. Imogen stars as Jasmine, one of Billie’s friends with whom she undergoes a journey of her own.
With her only previous acting experience being Year 8 Drama at high school, Imogen held her own in a heavy film, dedicating herself to a meaningful project and adopting an almost method actor approach to her character, all while completing Year 12! Since, she’s lived in Melbourne, London, travelled the world, and has returned home briefly to casually make another film that is set to be another hit. She’ll reunite with Tilda Cobham-Hervey, star of 52 Tuesdays and fellow Adelaide talent, for the screen version of the play Girl Asleep. I. can’t. wait.
How did you first get involved in 52 Tuesdays?
It’s kind of random. All of my friends’ families are in the arts, so I had the contacts. Sophie Hyde got in contact with Tilly’s family about casting the film, and I think it was a Saturday when they said ‘hey, do you want to come too?’ I’d never acted before - only one year 8 drama class - but I just said why not, and I went.
Some people study acting for years to get a role like this, did you feel lucky that you got it with no acting experience?
I think I just had the right look for the character, and I got lucky with that. The audition process was so different to what I’m used to now, they just wanted to learn about you. They weren’t really looking for experienced actors, more so just real people that suited the characters.
52 Tuesdays wasn’t just a film, but an experience. What was it like to do something like that?
I was doing Year 12 at the time, so it was pretty crazy. It was only 1 day a week, which was good in one way, but for acting purposes it was quite difficult. I kind of had this split personality where I was myself for 6 days a week and then one day a week I had to be a different person. At the end of the year my mum said ‘Yay I get to have Imogen back’; I didn’t notice but I definitely changed.
So you think you underwent changes personally?
I was 17 when I started and turned 18 during the year, so it was that coming of age and finishing school thing, then I was working. It definitely helped me mature.
I definitely felt emotional watching [the film]; even though it’s quite a short period of life it’s a certain year of going from high school to being thrown into the real world. That is quite a big change, so seeing myself change as well as changing mentally and emotionally.
Do you have big acting aspirations now?
I feel like being an actor you always have to have other plans, because until you hit the big time it’s not very reliable. I would love to do it as long as I can, and I’m going to give it a good go.
At the moment because I’m not the best I could be, these smaller roles and local films don’t make me feel too out of my depth. Eventually I’ll feel ready when a big audition comes along. I didn’t study acting so this is my study really.
You’re really learning on the job then!
You’ve lived in London for about a year. Are there things about Adelaide you miss while you’re there?
Coffee- that’s a massive thing. I just love how everything’s so close here- the size of London can be quite daunting. Adelaide’s getting trendier and trendier, that’s what I’ve noticed coming back; I walked down Leigh St and there are so many new bars. I’m so excited for the festival season as well.
What are you favourite things to do during the Fringe Festival?
I love the Garden of Unearthly Delights, and I just love wandering around. It’s so nice walking around in the heat, and you always stumble upon something.
Do you think there’s something here for actors?
There was Urban Myth but that’s closed now which is really awful, I think that was a massive thing to get kids involved in the arts. I think there’s so much here, Adelaide’s definitely a very creative city.
What inspires you?
Closer Productions are so incredible; they are so individual and always thinking of new ideas. Just hanging out with them during Sundance and the Berlin Film Festival was mind blowing. It’s hard to be individual in this day and age, everyone takes a little bit from everyone else.
Living in London has been pretty inspirational as well; it’s such a vibrant city. In the UK they’re masters of music festivals, and I went to a few smaller ones, which opened my ideas to what’s out there. You meet so many creative people and individuals along the way.
What’s next for you?
I start filming Girl Asleep, which is really exciting to see everything coming together. Then I’m heading back to the UK and I’ll try to do a lot of auditions. 52 Tuesdays comes out in the UK next year so I’m going to try and ride that wave, because at the moment it’s still difficult to get my foot in the door. It’s such a competitive industry, and it’s been difficult to prove that I’m okay, so I’m excited for people to see it over there.