We were recently lucky enough to sit down and chat to London-based screen actress Rayanna Dibs before she jets of to work in America. Rayanna’s most recent short ‘The Adventures of Sally’s Inner Demons’ was selected for Cannes Short Film corner. We had a great time chatting to Rayanna about her recent work, love of action movies and much more…
Hi Rayanna, it is great to finally get the chance to sit down and chat to you.
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and how did you get into acting?
I suppose I started acting in my room as a kid having grown up watching films all the time. I loved it and knew it was something I wanted to do. I would spend a lot of time on my own just playing people and coming up with ideas, I think it’s why I enjoy my own company so much. I went to stage school part-time, did drama club at secondary school, then Performing Arts at college, and Drama at University. I then went off and got immersed in just being a human in my early 20s, and got into acting professionally in my mid-20s.
Sounds like a fantastic journey.
You have done a lot of work in theatre, did you enjoy your time on stage?
Theatre can be a very exciting and scary place to be. The idea that you can’t go back and rewind, you have to keep moving forward whatever happens, that’s a great buzz. You get a real sense of the energy in the room, which can sometimes be hard to find on camera.
I can imagine there is a lot more pressure in front of a live audience.
Is that something you would like to continue to do in the future?
For sure, I actually have some ideas for a stage-play I’m hoping to start writing soon.
Do you feel your stage experience helped when it came to working on film?
They’re such different ways of working, I think being in a rehearsal room and playing definitely helped me when turning my hand to screen, you’re lucky if you get the chance to rehearse on a film so having had experience playing on stage helped me to walk on set and be ready to roll.
What are the differences between stage and film?
Rehearsal vs no rehearsal, big vs small! On camera you have to internalize everything, which I love. The camera sees everything you are feeling and thinking, you’re fully exposed, which I kind of find thrilling. Theatre is bigger, bolder, and you have to work harder to create intimate moments.
Even though they are linked they sound like two completely different art forms.
Your recently starred in the short film ‘Adventures of Sally’s Inner Demons’. Can you tell us a little bit more about the short and the part you played?
I play a woman who is kind of dwindling through life, unhappy in her choices, job, social life and is basically alone. She uses drugs to fill the void, and unexpectantly falls pregnant. This forces her to face life head on, only sometimes things don’t work out the way you plan. We filmed on location in London, it was a really lovely small crew and despite the serious tone of the film, it was an enjoyable upbeat shoot.
We have seen the film and thoroughly enjoyed it so congratulations for that, you did a great job with the character.
This film was recently selected for Cannes Shorts. How did it feel for your had work to be recognized in such a great way?
Awesome. It was such a nice surprise. We faced a few challenges during the shoot so it was an extra special little win.
You have also worked in voice-over dubbing on the Russian Blockbuster movie FLIGHT CREW. How did you find that experience?
Hilarious to be honest! Dubbing was a whole new world to me and I was amazed at the amount of fun you can have locked in a sound booth studio for a couple of weeks! There is definitely an art to VO and Dubbing. Everyone was fantastic and the film was exactly my cup of tea, basically a Russian version of Die Hard!
Did you have to prepare differently for this role?
Very much so. You’re tapping into someone else’s conflict and feelings, and then going to your own to find the right recipe. I worked a lot off the actress in the film (Agne Grudyte), and tried out different ways I could match her subtly and poise using my voice. It’s tricky, but had other great actors to work with which helped of course.
Sounds like you had a fantastic time.
Would you like to do more voice work in the future?
I would love the opportunity to voice an animation someday, let’s make that happen!
Disney, are you reading?
You have just finished up working on the feature film ALONE. Can you tell us about the movie and your role?
I finished that last summer and the first trailer is out, but I haven’t seen it yet. The story follows the central character Mark and is set in a modern-day scarce London, I play his girlfriend in a series of flashbacks which explains how and why Mark is where he is. During the filming I went to live with the actor who plays Mark and the directors. It helped create the history of their relationship and helped me in the process. I don’t think I had quite considered at the time what I was letting myself in for living with 3 guys!
I bet that was lots of fun!
You have also finished up on the short film FATHER directed by Chris Keller which will be hitting festival later this year. Can you tell us about your role in this?
Such a lovely script, when I read it I immediately felt empathy for the woman I play. It’s the story of a young boy who sees monsters in his room, I play his mum. She is struggling with being a single mum and is conflicted by her need to be a good mother, and her desire to still be a woman and have her needs fulfilled. I can’t actually say more about it as I wouldn’t want to give anything away but it was a great shoot and one of the nicest crews I’ve ever worked with. The director Chris was a dream to work with and really knew his vision, I think it will look stunning when it’s complete.
We will be looking forward to see that one in the very near future.
What is it about short film that you enjoy?
The collaborative journey I suppose. Short-film is a platform for filmmakers, writers, actors and anyone wanting to work in film really. So you get this group of passionate people together who all want the same thing to create and produce something meaningful and special, with quite often very little budget, odd locations, lack of time, and calling in a lot of favours I imagine. So all the obstacles you face just in trying to create work and be seen, make it that much more special when you see the finished product. From an actors perspective you have very little time to find your feet and your character before it’s all over, but I like the challenge. I’ve also met a lot of talented nice people from shorts who have gone onto do great work.
We love short film and the people involved always seem to pull something special out of nothing.
We know that you have a great love for 80s and 90s action movies. Can you tell us some of your favourites?
DIE HARD! Can’t hide it, anyone who knows me well knows how much I love cheesy action movies. I used to sit with my dad aged 6 and watch The Terminator, Lethal Weapon films, Aliens etc. So this is where I fell in love with film really, just hanging out with my dad. As I got older my mum got involved and we would sit as a family and watch a movie. But instead of watching a nice family film like Beethoven, it would be Casino or Point Break!
That is awesome! We love cheesey action movies, especially from the 1980’s. You have been trained well!
We also heard that you have a great love of coming-of-age movies. What is your favourite film?
Ahhhh I can’t! I love Uncle Buck, MallRats and National Lampoons, so funny! But I think it has to be Breakfast Club, I have seen that film around 85 times and went to the trouble of learning all the character monologues at one point – that probably annoyed my brother a lot!
“Does Barry Manilow know that you raid his wardrobe?” …. Erm, we’ll stop there!
If you could play anyone in a remake of a 1980’s movie who would you like to play and in what movie?
Sarah Connor in Terminator, specifically T2 (which is 91 I know)! She is just brilliant. I actually wrote a blog featuring her as an example of the possibility of roles that need to be written for women, and how it was done 25 years ago and not so much now! I’m thrilled that James Cameron is re-booting the original franchise. James if you’re reading this – I will make myself available!
We can definitely see that happening! You could definitely pull of a Sarah Connor! As far as women in action movies go, we couldn’t agree with you more, Where have all the Sarah Connor’s and Ellen Ripley’s gone?
You are heading over to America shortly, have you got any projects going on that you can tell us about?
I do have a film I’m shooting in the US later this year which I’m stoked about, but I can’t say too much about it yet I’m afraid.
Ahh, we will just have to watch and wait!
What does the future hold for Rayanna Dibs?
Hopefully further acting opportunities, hard work and interesting challenges. Throw in a bit of happiness and laughter along the way and what more can I ask for!
We wish you the best of luck and we are sure there are lots of great things to come from you, maybe even an action movie in the near future! Good luck in America.