MyAnna Buring got her start in the eyes of horror fans playing the doomed sister Sam in Neil Marshall’s The Descent and has stayed pretty damn close to our genre ever since.
Her role in Doomsday isn’t as high profile, but it is one of great importance (you’ll understand when you see it) so we had to take the opportunity to find out more about the woman and her character. The results follow!
Johnny Butane: Was there any film or actor who inspired you at a young age to act?
MyAnna Buring: I grew up in the Middle East and in many ways it was a comparative desert in terms of opportunities through which a young kid could grasp the real possibility of being able to act for a living. We did have amateur dramatic groups and school plays and those teachers might feel bad hearing me say that, but it is very much how I felt. However, I always loved imagining myself away into different scenarios, wondering how another being might feel in those situations and that has followed me throughout my life and probably led me to acting.
I do remember being spell bound by Neverending Story; it is was a film that I watched repeatedly as a kid – it killed me when the horse sank to it’s death! But I don’t know if I then ever really believed that I one day too could play in imaginary lands apart from in my head… cut to now and I’ve just spent the last few years running around on crazy sets and locations playing different characters for a living!
JB: So how did you first hook up with Mr. Marshall?
MB: Three months out of drama school I auditioned for The Descent. I was warned that the room might feel a bit grim when I walked in and not to be put off if everyone seemed a bit serious (they were maybe struggling to find the right people to cast and were feeling the time pressure), so I walked in a little bit apprehensive and came face to face with Neil. Within five minutes we were all laughing, and a month later I walked onto my first film set as an actor!
JB: Tell me about your role in Doomsday…
MB: I play Cally – a little urchin who is caught in a war between her ruthless father Kane – who seeks to shelter his flock from the world beyond the “wall” with an iron fist and her rebellious and equally ruthless black sheep of a brother – Sol – who desires to know the truth of what lies beyond. She’s grown up only knowing a world in which people have had to turn to medieval ways of living – as they have no access to the luxuries of modern day life, as we know it today. This is a world which is comprised of those who remember how life was before a deadly virus forced the rest of the planet to abandon them and leave them for dead behind an impenetrable wall of steel and mine fields and those who cannot.
When we first meet her she has run away from her father – a deadly sin – in order to try and reason with her brother for peace but instead he has locked her up. In the cell she overhears Sinclair – a woman from the other side being questioned by Sol and realizes that her father has lied and that all along there has been life beyond the wall and that by helping these “foreigners” she may also be able to save her own life and get to see the other side.
JB: What were the marked differences between the shoot on The Descent and Doomsday, aside from the climate?
MB: The Descent was a very intimate film in a lot of ways. It was shot on enclosed studio sets, it was contained mainly in one location, the action was all climbing and caving based – obviously! And it was a horror. Doomsday is much more of a fantastical action film – the action was more varied – from horse riding to car chases to gladiator style pit fights. The worlds that were imagined where also more varied – a futuristic police force, a post apocalyptic cannibal tribe, a medieval castle-dwelling community. It was shot at so many different locations, there was a bigger crew, stunt team and of course many more actors. But – and I’ve said this before – the experience of Doomsday retained the same family feel to it that The Descent had for me. I think that is a very special quality that Neil encourages on all of his sets.
JB: Did you get to don any cool post-apocalyptic gear for your role?
MB: No funky suits for me – I got to wear a Hessian sack – proper medieval stuff! And real nice and toasty in the scorching South African sun… But my boots were hand made for me – I couldn’t believe it – I felt very special…
JB: Did you do your own stunts?
MB: I wish I could say that I rock and that I did all these awesome stunts on my own – but it was a gorgeous lady called Dororthy who did most of it for me apart from running and tripping over. The best lady in the country did all the riding on my behalf too – which was a bummer because Neil called me after I got the job and asked if I could ride and I said yes and promptly went out to learn – I even fractured my back in pursuit of equestrian skills – not badly I hasten to add and I got time to heal before filming and was equipped with top surgeons notes saying I was fit to do any stunts that may be required of me. But in the end I only rode a horse for about two metres – pathetic – but I can say that I literally broke my back for Neil Marshall!
JB: How was it working with big names like Bob Hoskins and Malcolm McDowell?
MB: Unfortunately, I didn’t do any filming with Bob Hoskins, but obviously the legend that is Malcolm McDowell played my dad – my own day was impressed! It is special to work with people who have so much more experience and who have been part of so much amazing film. And when they are so lovely boot it’s really encouraging. This entire job however was like a master class for me – all the actors were amazing to watch and learn from.
JB: You got to use yet another accent in this movie than you did in The Descent; was it hard to perfect?
MB: I love working with different accents and am so grateful to get the chance to use them. My dad is based in Scotland and I’ve spent a lot of time there. However, as there were so many of us doing a Scottish accent I did worry about sounding too different from everyone else – although, Neil wasn’t too bothered as he felt that that these were characters from all over Scotland who had formed a community and different accents were bound to prevail. Although naturally you do put in the work and hope that you don’t offend anyone by not getting it right.
JB: I see you’re going to be in Paddy Breathnatch’s Red Mist; what can you tell us about it?
MB: Very little I think – apart from that it is a fun script and there is a really exciting team behind it and of course Paddy – who is a very lovely man. I got asked if I would play a nurse who smacks Martin Compston’s head on the ground – I immediately said yes! Martin was my mate in Doomsday so it’s awesome to work with him again. We’re still filming in Belfast at the moment – the crew and cast are a lot of fun – and I highly recommend a night out in Belfast with them!
JB: What’s next for you after that? Hope to work with Neil again?
MB: We shall see… I love what I do and I hope to be doing it for a while. As for working with Neil – it is always a joy and if he wants me to join him on another adventure, I will absolutely be there – even if I’m 89.
JB: Any dream projects you’d love to be involved with?
MB: So many. I love the idea of doing as many varied projects as possible – there are so many amazing stories to tell and so many great people telling them and I want to be a part of that.
Big thanks to the lovely MyAnna for taking the time to answer my inquiries! Doomsday is out in theaters everywhere on Friday, March 14th; be sure to visit the official Doomsday site to learn more!