Laura Michelle Kelly takes on her first leading role in a feature film this week, as she stars in Goddess.
Goddess sees Kelly star alongside Ronan Keating in the film, while Mark Lamprell is in the director's chair.
We caught up with the actress to chat about the film, making the leap from theatre, and what lies ahead.
- Goddess is about to hit the big screen, so can you tell me a bit about the film?
Goddess is about a woman who is bored of life, alone, isolated, and wants to know that there is more to her life than just being a mum.
She goes on this life journey, and suddenly finds herself famous from a webcam song that she has done. She is left having to choose between fame and family. It is a musical/comedy (laughs).
- You take on the role of Elspeth Dickens in the film, so what was it about the role and the script that drew you to the project?
I really related to the character, and the fact that she sings every other scene is a bit like my life (laughs). The only thing that is different is that I don't have kids. It was really fun to be able to explore that, and to be alongside Ronan Keating.
I really really thought that the script was funny. I have been involved with this film for a couple of years before it ended up getting made, so to be able to be involved and see all of the changes has been great. It was a very exciting film to make for me.
- The role of Elspeth is the biggest acting role of your film career, so how did you find the experience of carrying your first feature film? Was it as daunting as it sounds?
It was daunting; I found it quite scary to take on a new project like this. I really did feel the pressure. However, everyone around me was really encouraging and supportive at every turn.
It was definitely a learning curve: I know how to prepare more for a future film. I really enjoy the art form - theatre is my first love, but to be able to do a movie was very exciting.
- You were with the project for quite some time and saw the changes that it went through before leading the film. So what have you taken away from this project that you could use in future acting roles?
What was so funny about doing a film is that it made me appreciate the culture that we have in theatre.
You have a beginning, middle, and an end, but in film, you do the same scenes over and over. You really don't know how they are going to piece it together and it could be re-edited to make a totally different story.
In theatre, you really have to compartmentalise each scene 'what do I need to say in this one moment?' You hope that you have done that and done a good job, as you don't have the chance to perfect it. I really enjoy and appreciate the art of practice, which you get when you are in theatre.
- The movie is directed by Mark Lamprell, so how did you find working with him?
Mark is so funny. He is just a fun guy, and I really want to do another film with him. When we released the movie in Cannes, we wrote another movie, and I have to keep reminding him 'when are we going to finish this?'
The thing about what we do is that you make friends forever on these projects and you hope that you will work with them again: Mark is one of those people. Mark is a very clever director, very encouraging, but very precise. I enjoyed his direction an awful lot.
- The movie sees Ronan Keating play your husband in his first feature film role. How did you find working alongside him?
It felt good. I felt like I need the chance to work with someone who hadn't done film work before, to make me feel better about myself (laughs). He was actually better than me.
He had never done a film before, and yet he found it so easy. He would walk on set and be 'this is great'. He would be really pumped to start the day, while I was still waking up (laughs).
- You are best known for your theatre work, with the likes of The King and I, South Pacific and Les Miserables under your belt, so how have you found the transition away from the stage?
Quite good. I am back on stage again (laughs). I will do TV and film and then I will go back to the stage, as it is my first love. The art of practice is very different in film than it is in the theatre: for a film, you usually prepare in your room alone and you think about your role.
Luckily, for this film we did have some rehearsals - but not much. With stage, you rehearse and you rehearse until you get it right. With film, you do a series of takes until you get it right. The transition was kind of fine, but it is a learning curve.
- You have mentioned Cannes - where the film was screened - so how did you find your festival experience? Cannes is the most prestigious.
It is so glamorous. There is the sea, there are lot of cameras everywhere, and people are dressed up in ball gowns all day. It is fun. All of the locals are really involved they love it.
I remember one woman who was driving her Jaguar around taking celebrities from hotel to hotel: she wasn't being paid; she just loved the whole thing. If you talk to any of the locals, they just love the film festival. It was so fun, I want to do another film and go back. It really was a fun experience.
- Having enjoyed so much success on stage, what made this the right time to take on a lead film role?
Someone just offered it to me, and I was like 'ok'. I think that the best things come to you without trying and striving. I am just hoping that I am offered another role soon, as that would be fun.
- That is my next question. Now that you have tackled a major movie, is that where you want to stay going forward? Do you plan to continue working in both film & theatre?
I am so hooked, I really enjoy it. Actually, I want to do a TV series. I am a massive fan of TV shows like The Newsroom and Grey's Anatomy. I really want to be involved with a TV show, just to get better at screen acting. So I really am keen to explore that avenue.
I am also doing a new album: I did one a long time ago and have finally got around to doing a new one. I am hoping it will be released before we open Finding Neverland. We are in the middle of trying to make that happen.
No one really pursues fame - unless they want it for the wrong reasons - I don't pursue fame, but what I do pursue is doing exciting work with people that I love. It really does seem to lead me to some fun places.
I really did have fun working on Goddess, and I am really happy that it is coming out in London. I wish I could be there; I have to be here rehearsing.
- You have mentioned that you are going to be back on the stage in Finding Neverland, so how is that going?
It is so fun. Every show has its different challenges, and this one is being developed as we speak. We keep going in and there are script changes, story changes, and new songs.
I love the creative process when it comes to a new show: we had that with Mary Poppins and The Lord of the Rings. It is really fascinating, and I really enjoy that process. I am having a lot of fun and am on cloud nine at the moment.
When it gets to Boston it will be set, and then you get into the routine of playing eight shows a week and perfecting each moment of each show.
When it comes to New York that will be really exciting, as that is when everyone starts to watch it: then you have to deal with lots of press.
- Finally, what is next for you going through the second half of this year? Is it just Finding Neverland or do you have other things on the horizon?
Because of this show, you don't know what is around the corner. I do try to keep myself free and have had to turn down many things, as you don't know the timeline of the show.
My brother is having a baby in September and I am pumped about that. That is so exciting. I have to find myself in Bath for a couple of days around that time.
My brother is the first brother to have a baby, and I cannot wait to meet them. I am really excited about that. That will definitely be the greatest arrival of this year.
Goddess is released 4th July.