As told to
Ever since setting up a children’s acting agency with her brother and sister at a tender age, Bebe Cave has been steadfast in her determination to make it in the film industry. In 2012 she starred in Mike Newell’s Great Expectations, and has since performed on-stage alongside Helen Mirren in between appearing in various television series. Now she’s followed that up with a meatier role in Matteo Garrone’s otherworldly Tale of Tales, which hits cinemas this week. In it Cave plays Violet, a young princess thrown into a testing situation where, contrary to most fairy tales concerning princesses, she has to save herself.
Violet progresses from a state of naivety and vulnerability to one of great resolve and strength. As an 18-year-old bidding to make a name for herself in a ruthless business, it’s a role she found easy to relate to. Cave admits she has always felt mature for her age, and her drive and devotion to her craft (not to mention her impressive knowledge of the films of Jean-Luc Godard) are immediately apparent upon meeting her. Here, she talks about her experiences up to now, her aspirations moving forward, and offers some sage advice for aspiring actors hoping to get a foothold in the industry.
“I suppose when you’re a child actress, it’s completely different because you see the same faces at auditions and it’s all relatively laid out for you. It’s very straightforward, and child characters and teenage characters tend to be more archetypal – the moody teenager or the geeky best friend. It takes a lot of practice to be able to add what you can to those characters. Even Princess Violet in Tale of Tales, at the beginning she’s very much an archetypal moody teenager who wants freedom. I’m entering womanhood with a more enlightened vision, a bit like my character in the film. I think a huge part of being an actor is being able to portray your own life experience. And as an 18 year old, obviously I don’t have a world of experience behind me, but I’m slowly getting to grips with who I am. I’ve done so much growing up in the past couple of years, I feel like I’m a completely different person to who I was when I was a teenager, still auditioning for those kind of roles.
“It’s been hard, you know. It’s not like anything was plain sailing, but I suppose it’s more gratifying that way because it means that when something amazing does happen, you appreciate it so much more. There are hundreds and thousands of girls who are just as talented, who are just as motivated, all wanting to do the same thing, so it’s about realising that there’s no point in me comparing myself to all these other girls. At the end of the day, if you keep on trying, there is room for all of us. Nobody wants to see the same actress doing every single role because otherwise the industry wouldn’t exist.
“There’s a reason why I want to do this with my life, but there are also so many things that make me happy and that’s what I’m starting to realise, that you need to build on those own things. I really like writing. I’m also into directing a little bit as well. I directed my sister’s show this year. I think it’s enriching to be able to work on different things at the same time. I also hope that my writing will get better and that I’m going to produce some things for myself. I would recommend writing something of your own, basically to cast yourself in something. I’m so inspired by people that can just decide to do something for themselves. It’s about putting the hard graft in and having a go, and it’s also a great way for people to see who you are.”
Published 15 Jun 2016
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