from matilda to maleficent with child superstar isobelle molloy
On the week that her debut film is released on DVD, we caught up with young Isobelle to talk about musicals, Maleficent, and true love’s kisses on your 16th birthday.
Amber Grace Dixon
Sleeping Beauty fair, gold of sunshine in your hair. Lips that shame the red, red rose. Dreaming of true love in slumber repose. Starring as a young Maleficent in the film that earlier this year brought Disney's most wicked villain to life, Isobelle Molloy is a name you need to know. Aged just 14, she's already modelled in adverts (''it's fun, but it's hard not to perform'') played an orphan in Oliver!, acted as Bella Young in Eastenders, and, most recently,starred as both Amanda (the girl who gets spun around by her pigtails by Miss Trunchbull) and Matilda in the stage version of Roald Dahl's classic.
So what is it about acting that you love most?
I love the adrenaline I get when I perform, it's like a buzz.
Did you always want to act?
I've always loved acting, ever since I was little. Ever since I started dancing and performing I was hooked.
And when did you start acting?
I went to weekend drama school when I was eight; called Tomorrow's Talent, and they put me up for Oliver! and it just went from there.
Tell me about your role in the musical Matilda. How did you go from playing Amanda to playing the title role?
It was about six months later, and they asked if I wanted to stay on and audition for the role of Matilda. And luckily I got it.
Do you want to do more musicals in the future?
Yes. I'm going to Qatar in November, to do Sound of Music on stage.
Do you ever get nervous before going on stage?
Yeah, it's more of a sort of adrenaline. When you're waiting to go on it's quite nerve-racking. But after a week you get used to it.
Tell me about Maleficent, how did playing the younger version of Disney's most wicked villain come about?
Lucy Bevan the casting director saw me playing Matilda on stage and invited me to audition. I didn't actually know what it was for, I just had to do two readings - one from Titanic and another from Shakespeare. It wasn't until I got it that I found out what it was. I went for two auditions, and a screen test and then finally they called to tell me I got the part. I'd just got out of a show, and we were walking along Covent Garden and my parents told me the news. It was amazing.
What was it like working with Angelina Jolie?
It was really cool. I met her once on set and she was really lovely and helpful and really kind. She's so stunning!
Was it weird watching yourself back?
I've seen it six times at the cinema, it was really weird. I didn't really feel like it was me. I can still remember all the lines and stuff, but it just didn't feel like that was me.
Originally Ella Purnell was meant to play the young Maleficent, how come it ended up being you?
They wanted to go younger I think. But they used Ella for the kiss scene on Maleficent's 16th birthday, because they said I looked too young. So she did the silhouette for the kiss. I'm quite small for 14.
Well you don't want to be kissing boys anyway…
Which actors do you look up to most?
I love Angelina Jolie. Not just because of her acting, but also because she does lots of things for charity. I think it's really important to use your public profile to do good things.
What about films, which film has resonated with you the most?
I really liked the film What If with Chlöe Grace Moretz. I'd quite like to do some acting like that, I think that Chlöe's such a good actress.
Do you like dancing?
When I was three I joined a ballet class and then Tomorrow's Talent had singing, dancing and acting classes at the same time. And that was when I found acting.
What kind of things would you like to do next?
I don't know. I love theatre and I love film, so I'd do anything, really.
Text Tish Weinstock
Photography Amber Grace Dixon