Riding Solo

Bonnie Wright Captures Chanteuse Sophie Lowe On a Free-Spirited Joyride Across Joshua Tree National Park

A heartbroken but defiant Sophie Lowe stars in actor-turned-filmmaker Bonnie Wright’s candid new music video. Without the usual entourage of hair and makeup artists, the longtime friends journeyed to the Mojave Desert for the first time, to capture Lowe’s soulful track “Dreaming”, which she recorded under her alter ego, Solo. “I was sitting on the back of my friend’s car to try and create the feeling of drifting, while also looking out for rangers,” explains English-born Australian Lowe, who when not writing songs is an actor, currently shooting the ABC show Once Upon a Time in Wonderland in Vancouver. “Meanwhile Bonnie was balancing herself on the car seats while we drove over the bumpy desert.” Wright was cast alongside Daniel Radcliffe and Emma Watson as Ginny Weasley in the Harry Potter film series aged nine; following the blockbuster franchise’s end, she explored her interest in directing and screenwriting, training at the London College of Communication and debuting with Separate We Come, Separate We Go, which made the Short Film Corner at Cannes Film Festival in 2012. “I don’t think I would have been able to make that film in the tone it was made if I hadn’t ever acted,” says the now 22-year-old Wright. “Just because the relationship that you build up between director and actor is very intense.” Having just wrapped up her next short film in upstate New York, the London-based director reveals her fantasy collaborations and music heroes.

What was on the stereo when you were growing up?
Bonnie Wright:
The Beatles, Bob Dylan, Lou Reed, the Velvet Underground and James Taylor never left our family sound system, and they’re probably still the most played on my iPod.

The next band you’d like to direct a video for?
A long shot but I love the music of Tame Impala; their music lends itself to visuals beautifully.

Best music venue?
The Troxy in Limehouse, east London.

Your favorite thing about getting behind the camera after acting?
It’s fantastic to be part of both sides of the coin. I love directing as it allows me to tell my own stories, while acting is great for stepping into other people’s stories.

Your creative process in a nutshell?
My film concepts always begin with the particular emotion I am trying to evoke, say the sadness of loss. I then collect references, inspiration and write lots of disjointed sentences from light directions and thoughts, to actual dialogue. Then the way I work with my crew is very collaborative; I need them to be as emotionally invested as myself.

Dream collaboration?
Directing Christoph Waltz smoking a cigar and soaking in a hot spring in Iceland!

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Conversations (2)

  • finnporter
    The tone of the video, the colouring and vintage effects really capture the feel of the music perfectly. I'm in love with this.
  • chloreevo
    this video is perfect for the song and very vintage and indie ! well done bonnie; i love it ! x

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    Shorts On Sundays: A Harlem Poetry Lesson

    Bruce Weber and David Bailey Pay Homage to the Storied Manhattan Neighborhood

    Life-long friends Bruce Weber and David Bailey collaborate for the first time to capture the spirit and soul of Harlem, New York, in today’s candid short dedicated to the late, revolutionary “bluesologist” Gil Scott-Heron. Similar to Spike Lee’s 1989 movie Do the Right Thing, Weber’s series of vignettes, filmed this summer, take place over a sweltering 24 hours. But while Lee focuses on a street in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, A Harlem Poetry Lesson is a study of the historic uptown borough and its cast of characters, such as poet Jeffrey Hollington and landmarks the Apollo Theatre and the Carrie McCracken TRUCE Community Garden. Scott-Heron’s expressive growl adds lyrical tension to the Harlem imagery in the film, which includes excerpts from “Small Talk at 125th and Lenox,” taken from his 1970 debut album of the same name, through to material featured on the poet-musician’s haunting final album from 2010, I’m New Here.

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    Florence and the Machine: Lover to Lover

    The English Songstress Performs a Tale of American Heartbreak in Vincent Haycock's New Video

    A relationship falls apart in the desert towns and fog-soaked coast of California as the baroque pop chanteuse and Karl Lagerfeld and Gucci muse Florence Welch takes on a cinematic role in this second collaboration with LA-based director Vincent Haycock. After helming the narrative music video for Welch’s Calvin Harris-produced disco hit “Sweet Nothing”, Haycock wanted to further explore singer’s interest in acting in his film for “Lover to Lover”, the latest single from her hit sophomore album Ceremonials. “She wasn’t just Florence, she was playing a character,” he says. “It was exciting to take someone who’s built such an iconic visual style, with the floaty dresses and distinct look of her videos, and do something really different.” Performing opposite Australian actor Ben Mendelsohn, who stars alongside Brad Pitt in the forthcoming flick, Killing Them Softly, Welch's on-screen interpretation echoes the track’s heart-aching refrain, “There’s no salvation for me now.” Beginning in a drab Los Angeles house and building to a cathartic gospel frenzy, the romance ends as the lovesick heroine disappears amid mist into the Pacific Ocean. “The waves were enormous, it was freezing cold and four in the morning—I was weeping all the way in I was so scared,” recounts the MTV Award-winning singer, laughing. “It was the most intense experience because we shot the whole day before; I went back to the hotel, slept for three hours, woke up and dove into the sea.”

    How did the concept for this character come about? 
    I was going through a phase where I was thinking about what I wanted from life, asking, do I want a husband and a child? Why do I think I need that? 

    What was it like to film such intense scenes with a proper actor like Ben Mendelsohn? 
    It was an emotional day and it brought up a lot of things. I’d come to the end of this massive tour and just needed to go home. I was tired and disoriented because Southern California doesn't have seasons--everything's getting cold back home and the leaves are falling but in LA everything’s in this stasis. I think I was screaming, “This isn’t real, I don’t know what’s going on!" and Ben was screaming back, “You’re here, you’re here!”

    Did you have a script? 
    It was completely improvised. I had to think about things that I was actually angry and upset about. It is cathartic, but you have to literally let yourself go. Ben is so sweet and accommodating--afterwards he gave me this massive hug and made me feel so comfortable. 

    Do you plan to take some time off now? 
    I’m not going to tour for a year after this one. I’ve been doing it since I was 21 and I think it’s time really to settle into moving out of my mum's! But I’m not going to stop writing. Playing live is my biggest passion, but I’ve got a lot of ideas, and I need the space to work on them.

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