Updated: Oct 30
With the upcoming release of "How to Have Sex," 5ELEVEN Magazine had the opportunity to engage in a conversation with British actress Lara Peake, delving into her journey in the world of acting. While Lara gained recognition for her notable role in the BBC series "Born To Kill," her recent portrayal of the character 'Skye' in "How to Have Sex" showcases new depths in her acting prowess. In this new film, she skillfully explores themes that are sure to strike a chord with all of us.
Words by Thomas Lee Brooks.
Lara appears courtesy by Pinnacle PR.
Tell us about you, the Lara Peake that has evolved over her acting career.
I began when I was 14, attending a weekly drama group called Inspire Academy in Nottingham. From the age of 15, taking on roles was a bit slow, but I've been fortunate enough to have some truly rewarding roles over that time, each offering a range of challenges. So, I have been quite fortunate.
What kind of challenges did you think you felt starting off as a teen actor?
When you're young, you haven't had the 'formal training' behind you, such as university and higher education, so you're relying on instinct. This can be quite liberating because there isn't a right or wrong; you go with your intuition and what feels right. Then, you engage in a more collaborative process with directors on set. Learning on the job has always been something I've had to do, and it has informed my work. I remember that I used to over-prepare, conducting extensive research and trying to find songs I thought my character would listen to in order to create a backstory. So, it was more of a result of being born out of a place of panic, having had no formal training and heavily relying on intuition.
Is there something you seek in the roles you play?
I enjoy a challenge, and if there is an element I can relate to, but at the same time, I don't want to feel too familiar with the character. However, if they are so far removed, then great, I have to work harder to immerse myself in that world and understand the character. Carly in "Mood" felt so different from my own life; I had to really delve into that.
What was your motivation for taking on the role of Skye in How to Have Sex?
The script and, I guess, Molly Manning Walker, the director. I feel like she's really disrupting the industry in terms of her voice and what she has to say. Coming from a cinematography background and now working as a director, she had such a strong message with 'How to Have Sex.' That ultimately convinced me to be a part of it. It feels like something I can relate to, whether it's the element of friendships, the coming-of-age story, or the whole conversation on scent and losing your virginity. It felt really powerful.
What resonated to you when you first read the script?
It felt like a rollercoaster; the script was a real page-turner. I must have read it in half an hour because I was completely absorbed by it, as if I could feel the world and see it. It didn't end in the generic way that films often do; it felt more like real life. It left me with questions and a deep sense of intrigue. I wanted to discuss it. It felt like the beginning of a genuine conversation!
Were there moments in the script that had to be unpacked to give the scenes the respect and sensitivities that were needed?
I believe that my character, Skye, is very insecure deep down and quite vulnerable, but her outward behaviour comes across as mean. She can be nasty towards Tara and Em, and I think it's just a defence mechanism for what she's hiding deep inside. The scenes where Tara was talking about something, and Skye was brushing it off, were quite draining. Skye was disrespecting what Tara was saying and avoiding any emotional connection. I think this was because she didn't want to confront her own feelings for her own reasons. I had to step into a different character that wasn't me.
How did you prepare for your role, playing Skye who is very different to yourself?
I go through a process of examining the physical, psychological, and social traits to create a comprehensive backstory for my character. This allows me to provide reasons for why she's behaving the way she is and how it serves as a deflection from what's really happening. I attempt to find ways to empathise with the character's meanness. After all, at the end of the day, everyone is human...
What would you like the audience to take away from How to Have Sex?
Just the ability to listen to each other, and hold that space because I don’t think there is a right or wrong in people’s experience. Patience and caring for each other are essential, and forgiveness is important too!
What’s next for you?
I have a project coming out next year, but I can't talk about it yet! This year, I've already had some exciting experiences with "How to Have Sex," such as going to Cannes. I think what I'm looking forward to the most is Christmas, catching up with friends, and focusing on wellness. From Nottingham to Cannes, Lara Peake consistently shines in each role. While her 'breakout performance' is often considered to be 'Carly' in "MOOD," her portrayal of Skye in "How to Have Sex" presents a surprising challenge that will resonate with most of the audience. As we navigate personal times of insecurity in an uncertain future, her character in "How to Have Sex" is a nostalgic journey. Now that this chapter is closing, Lara Peake looks forward to a new project...