To celebrate the release of the final series of SKINS on DVD, we sat down with cast members Lily Loveless (Naomi Campbell) and Kathryn Prescott (Emily Fitch).
Without giving too much away, what can we expect to see in the new series?
Lily Loveless – It’s all about: we’ve come out of education and we’re just plonked into the world and expected to get a job. No one tells you where to go when you leave school or university… they just plonk you out into the big wide world and you’ve never been in this situation before. It can be quite daunting and quite scary, which I think is reflected well in the new series. I hope so! As for Naomi, she’s got a degree, but now she can’t get a job and she’s just slogging around. And I know so many people that are in the same situation. Hopefully people will find it realistic, because there’s got to be some reality in it. I thought it was quite realistic.
Kathryn Prescott – I think it’s very modern and relevant to the times. In some ways, the previous series’ have been very hedonistic, all about partying and making decisions that will make you feel good right now. Whereas the new series is more about “this is actually life now and we have to do something or we’re just going to end up dying before we’re 30” or “this is busking our whole lives away and it reflects the economic climate”, what it’s like now… the new series is more serious. It’s also the fact that 16, 17 is not old, it’s a baby! When you’re that age, you don’t have to think about life or anything like that and now here we are making serious decisions, which I think will always be the case when you’re in your 20’s.
Can you tell us a little more about where Emily and Naomi find themselves as of Series 7?
LL – We find Naomi is living with Effy, they’re flatmates in London. Emily is abroad doing an internship, but they are still together, still in a relationship. but it’s a bit of a rollercoaster story. They start in once place and they end up in a completely different place. It’s quite emotional!
KP – Emily, physically, is in New York doing a photography internship. Mentaly, she’s a lot more grown-up and in between when you last saw her and when we’re seeing her now, she’s decided what she wants to do in life. Although, to be honest, Emily is maybe is the kind of person who always had a rough idea of what she wanted to do, but in the time between series, she has decided and gone and done it, so she’s fulfilling her photography dreams in New York! Emily’s still with Naomi and they have this transatlantic relationship.
In a sense, it feels like we have grown up with your characters – almost literally in real-life vs. on-screen passage of time. Would you agree? Are there any parallels with your own lives?
KP – Well, just like Emily, I’ve been following my passion for photography. I started off doing landscapes, but now I do portraits, like head shots & people, basically. I used to think that I loved taking landscapes the most, but I took a picture of a person and now I never want to take a landscape ever again! I just had my first exhibition in September at St Martin’s in the Fields Gallery in Trafalgar Square. I think Jess, who wrote the series, already knew that I did photography because when I read the script I said “this is weird”. When Emily was looking through a portfolio in one scene, she’s looking through my pictures. I’m looking through my own pictures!
Has it been a challenge to leave as a teenage character and return as an adult?
LL – It was a bit difficult, because in that time, I completely forgot about her and what it was like to play her. When I spoke to Skins creator, Bryan [Elsley], he said “I don’t think you should watch anything back, I think you should just play it how you think you should”. So, obviously she’d be a lot older, just like I am. Her lines felt very similar though, and her costumes are always, characteristically, a bit ‘different’, so this helped a lot. It was quite easy to get back into her by the second week of filming.
KP – I prefer playing older. I just find it much easier. I’m playing my own age in this one, which I prefer because I find it’s easier to act older than it is to act younger. You can’t un-learn the stuff that you already know about getting older and I can’t really act like that. To act my age is the easiest, and if I’m trying to act more mature, there’s a logical way in which I can do that. But the innocence and naivety in younger characters, I think, is much more difficult unless they really are that age. Brian Elsley, the creator, said to me once before that he finds it really difficult to cast people who are older than they play because he said you can just see it in their eyes, they just know. It’s there.
What have been the most enjoyable aspects of working on the series?
LL – Any time where the whole cast was in on the same day was always a lot of fun, as you can probably imagine. It’s just like going to work with your mates. And also any day where we’d all been out with the crew the night before, or the weekend before, because it’s always funny to see people’s faces and remind them what embarrassing thing they did that night and then have to work with them all day. That would always be good. So any college scenes, when we were all together, sat around, especially when somebody has to be emotional, because it’s really funny when you’re not actually filming it!
KP – There are loads. When I was 16 and in college, I really, really wanted to go to drama school and then half way through the first year, it became really apparent that there was no way I was going to be able to afford to go and I was so upset about that. But while I was brooding, Megan (Kathryn’s twin sister) and I got this audition, which turned out to be for Skins! We ended up getting the part (of the Fitch sisters), and we were just thrown into the deep end, straight into the real world of acting rather than being prepared through drama school. I was really scary, but it was also the best learning experience that I could have had and I met loads of nice people! I’m trying to think of best moments… The wrap party at the end of series three was amazing… it was so nice because everyone knew they were coming back and we’d had such a good six months filming already. But there are so many. It was so nice to work with everyone. There are too many to mention. Just having that experience, the whole thing, was just a massive, really good experience.
Can we expect the traditional parental cameos like those of Bill Bailey, Peter Capaldi, Olivia Colman, Simon Day, etc in this season?
LL – Yes, there is! There is Kayvan Novak, who is FACEJACKER. He’s got quite a big part, so that’s cool. He’s quite a well-known comedian here, but his part isn’t like a comedy part, he’s quite serious. But he was really funny to work with, on set and stuff. There’s also Craig Roberts, who’s the boy from SUBMARINE. We were really impressed that they managed to get him, actually. There are still really cool people that are in it.
SKINS Series 7 is available now.