Samanatha Morton on working as a director

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Samantha Morton
Samantha MortonCourtesy of Domino Records

Acclaimed actress turned director Samantha Morton speaks about her role on the other side of the camera, and the importance of staying true to oneself...

"I've been writing and directing for fours years and I'm loving it. At the moment, I don't find any part of it horrible or difficult. It's a challenge but not impossible; I like the challenge. I see it as a new day and getting through it. My work as an actress has helped a lot, particularly the concentration required on set. And having a sense of calm and friendships with the people I work with, because having lots of people running around like headless chickens and gossiping can be awful. I've done a lot of films where it's been like that over the years. It's nice working with people that care about you, and you care about them; and that you're all there for the right reasons.

The industry is full of people that just want to be famous; it can be really shallow and negative. When I started out, it wasn't so bad but the internet has changed a lot. I think it's important to pull back from it; to know what your own thoughts and feelings are and you put that upon the film. This is how I work and this is how I need to work. Not because you're a bully or bossy but just to make it a safe space for people."

"I think it's important to pull back from it; to know what your own thoughts and feelings are and you put that upon the film"

This is Nottingham-born Samantha Morton speaking candidly to AnOther from her Derbyshire home. A successful award-winning actress turned director, Morton came to critical acclaim after her role in Woody Allen's Sweet and Lowdown, and playing Moors Murderer Myra Hindly in TV drama Longford, Deborah Curtis in Anton Corbijn's Control and a Marilyn Monroe impersonator in Harmony Korine's Mister Lonely. Her directorial debut, The Unloved, was released last year – a dreamlike, semi-autobiographical story about an 11-year-old girl growing up in a children's home. Followed by her first music video, a heart-warming photobooth-themed short for The Kill's track The Last Goodbye. Shortly after the launch of The Unloved, Morton said she had no plans to direct a film but has since considered making it into a trilogy. She will co-star in David Cronenberg's film Cosmopolis, released later this year.

Text by Laura Bradley