Aside from the leads, most of the actors in ‘Land Ho!’ are either Icelanders in service jobs, or people associated with the production. Alice Olivia Clarke, who appears in a crucial late scene, is neither. Canadian-born, Alice Olivia has lived in Iceland for over 20 years, and in addition to acting (you maybe saw her in Dagur Kári’s ‘The Good Heart’, she works in Hafnarfjörður as a mosaic artist and designer. We discussed her experience with the film over email.
You play a visitor to Iceland. How was it getting into that mindset? Did you think about Iceland in a new way?
Just by living in Iceland one is always entertaining visitors. One gets to see the country through new eyes with each new person. Every person you travel with sees something different, and points out something new. It’s more a question of being open to that. I just loved how independent my character was, stepping out of her regular life to follow her dreams and travel to Iceland to photograph.
Your scenes were shot at a natural hot spring in the Highlands—was that a place you’d been before? Did you have the chance to explore your surroundings at all?
Landmannalaugar was actually on my list of places to visit when this role came up. I was ecstatic to hear we would be shooting there. As it goes with shooting in Iceland, we had to work with the weather. And more often than not my free time was sitting in a car staying warm. There was one point when I was “hiking” up a mountain with the guys and we were doing the same shot over and over again, different angles, you name it, and all I was thinking at that moment was how I would have loved to see what was on the other side.
Your character manages to forge a real connection with another traveller in a short time—a decent metaphor for acting in a movie. Was it a challenge to build rapport with your scene partner?
I made a conscious decision not to meet Paul before our scenes, or even the first day when he was mainly shooting. He was doing the same thing (which was awkward as we were all in very close quarters in a country hotel). It is what made the scene so natural. We didn’t know each other. We weren’t supposed to. So there was that natural build-up of tension. I didn’t even read the script before my part came up. That way, I could meet him at that moment, as I would have in real life. In real life I wouldn’t have known his story or he mine.
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