Let's face it, we've been waiting for a feel-good story in 2020 for quite some time! So, when we heard that South London's Graveney Secondary School and Sixth Form had created their own sci-fi comedy feature film, we couldn't wait to check it out!
7 Hours on Earth - now available on demand - is a joyful watch from start to finish, as visiting aliens find themselves more confused by Earthlings than ever when they're forced to try and navigate the strange world of school drama.
One of the stars of the film, Ruby Richardson, took the time to sit down and answer some of our burning questions about the movie! Here's what she had to say...
What can you tell us about 7 Hours on Earth and the character you play?
7 Hours on Earth is a sci-fi comedy about some aliens who crash into the bodies of some of the staff and pupils of a secondary school in South London. They find a group of teenagers and decide to 'help out' with their love lives and they all have to do a big school play at the end to impress the governors.
It's all based on A Midsummer Night's Dream and is very, very silly and fun. I play Veronika, the Deputy Head teacher, a very passionate and sensitive woman from Russia who has history with both the headmaster and the P.E. teacher Mr. Adamant. An alien inhabits her body and she wreaks havoc around the school, and discovers new things she loves, like tiny portable hoovers and library books.
Sci-fi and comedy aren't typically genres blending together! How did you find bringing those two styles into one movie?
I found the sci-fi and comedy mix very fun, particularly in something like this where it's a kids film. The whole thing is just so ridiculously silly and the humour is bold and brash. We were able to improvise a bit around the script and when you're being an alien there's lots of fun to be had with making it really weird.
Can you tell us a little bit about a typical day on the set of the film?
We'd get to the school, drink coffee and eat biscuits and hang out in the staff room pretty much all day, we'd get catering from the school canteen, get into costume, film some scenes and just joke around all day with my mate Harry Jardine who plays the headmaster.
What was the dynamic like of having both Ramona Marquez and her real-life Dad on the film?
I didn't actually meet Ramona's dad and I didn't really have any scenes with her either, but I saw her working and she's great in the film and very skilled at what she does.
Patricia Sharpe served as director on the film; what was she like to work with?
Well, Pat is actually my old film studies teacher. I went to Graveney for sixth-form (where the film is set) and was in the same year as Harry Jardine, so it was really weird being back at school and also to be playing a teacher. Pat was a great film studies teacher and was great fun to work with; she poured her heart and soul into making this film and has worked so hard.
The film saw its premiere in September; how did you find the initial reaction to the film?
So, the film took about three years to edit and I've seen tiny snippets of it over the years when we've come in for ADR, but not the full thing. I thought it was brilliant! It was amazing to be able to come and be in the same room as everyone who made it (be it in a socially distant capacity), and see the kids involved who in the three years have obviously all grown. It's been put together so well and it's so nice to see the hard work pay off.
TV has been an absolute lifesaver over the past few months; have you been binge-watching anything? How have you coped with lockdown?
I May Destroy You, Chewing Gum, (basically anything with Michaela Coel involved), The Wire, Buffy, Selling Sunset and Below Deck all helped me cope with lockdown.
How do you personally think the entertainment business is going to change in the coming months, to adapt to the ongoing pandemic?
It's a really worrying time for the arts industry. I think and really hope there will be more support for theatres and that we start to see more theatres being able to financially cope whilst putting on shows in a socially distant capacity, but at the minute there's definitely not enough help out there. There have already been a lot of companies adapting to work online and communicate via Zoom etc. and film and TV is coming back slowly, but it's tricky to guess how it's going to span out when the ground is shifting constantly and we have a government that doesn't value the arts.
Finally, what do you have going on in the next few months moving into 2021?
I am currently writing a script for a new series set in Scotland, I've got an R&D for a new play coming up and I'm just going to try to read books, watch films and stay creative!
7 Hours on Earth is available on demand now, from Amazon, iTunes and Google Play.