If you were as hooked as we were by Channel 4's recent four-part drama Born to Kill, then you'll already be well aware of Lara Peake. Playing the teenage girlfriend to a [spoiler alert] teenage psychopath on the rampage, the 18-year-old impressed with her performance as twisted fire-starter Christy, a role that sees her teeter on the edge of accomplice, while her elderly grandmother teeters on the edge of a particularly steep staircase. She's mega in it, as she is in the newly released Spaceship, a trippy debut by British director Alex Taylor, in which the Nottingham-native plays a day-glo alien with a deformed finger. Talk about range, readers! With that film freshly in cinemas, we gave Lara a call to talk all things acting, ambition and playing an assassin. Here's everything you need to know.
How would you describe yourself?
Probably a combination of characters. I think I've got a few personalities going on that I change depending on the situation. But I'd say, overall, I'm on a level where I want to be genuine.
How do you think your friends would describe you?
My friends would probably say that I've got a huge wall that I never let down. Everyone says I'm mysterious. I don't know whether that's a good or bad thing? I think they think that I'm secretive, but I'm not!
Do you have any hidden talents?
I can bend my second toe. I've discovered it's got joints. It's not the most useful talent, although I did just play an alien with a deformed finger, so they might not have needed all the CGI if I'd shown them my toe.
What's your favourite book?
Girl, Interrupted. Pulp Fiction. Natural Born Killers. Something you can have on mute and still be in awe of.
Goo Goo Muck by The Cramps.
What do you like to do in your spare time?
I love just being able to get in my car with my cousin and drive and park up in a scenic spot and she'll force me to smoke with her. We'll end up being there for about four hours, chatting shit.
What do you think you'd be doing if you weren't an actor?
I actually always wanted to be a spy.
When did acting start for you?
When I was 12, I joined this group in Nottingham called Inspire Academy. And within my first two months there, I had an audition for a new British film called Bypass. From there I got the chance to go down to London and meet with the casting directors and have a proper go at it. And I got the part.
If you could play any role, what would it be?
Who would play you in a film of your life?
Someone that I trust, who knows me inside out.
What's the most surprising thing you've ever done in the name of acting?
Spaceship was the job that had the most weird things as a whole. Everyday was weird on that. We never knew what we were going to shoot.
Do you have a favourite actor?
I've got loads. Brie Larson. Winona Ryder. Ruth Wilson. Woody Harrelson. I could go on.
Have you enjoyed the attention that Born to Kill has brought you?
It's been quite funny. I went home at the weekend and was in Stealth nightclub -- it's renowned for its heavy nights out -- and my friend came over and said there's this guy who's a huge fan of Born to Kill. In the middle of this mad rave! Situations like that are funny.
What does acting mean to you?
It's something very personal to every different actor, because it is a bit of a weird job to go into or want to go into. It's so unpredictable. You've got to be really driven to stay in it, I think. It's kind of like therapy in a weird way. You're constantly reading scripts and analysing other characters and picking out bits you relate to. And if you land the part you can really explore that role by putting yourself into it. Ultimately, I've learnt so many new things about myself and I've changed in little ways after every job. I've added strands to my personality that I really like. That's really rewarding.
Do you have any advice for other young actors?
If you've got the drive and ambition to do something then do it. Persevere. Keep going. And any knocks you get, use them to keep going. See the positive in things.
Born to Kill is available on All 4 and released on DVD 12 June. Spaceship is in cinemas now.
Text Matthew Whitehouse
Photography Bartek Szmigulski