trending »

Next Factor Q&A: 'A Late Quartet' Star Imogen Poots

Getty Images

Imogen Poots may just be the fifth wheel of "A Late Quartet."

In the film, starring such Hollywood heavyweights as Christopher Walken, Philip Seymour Hoffman and Catherine Keener, Poots manages to stand out as Alexandra, a promising young violinist who begins a relationship with her teacher, played by Mark Ivanir, who just so happens to be a member of her parent's quartet that is falling apart. Juicy!

The 23-year-old London native, most recently seen opposite Colin Farrell in "Fright Night," shared with us what it was like to work with some of her idols and whose career path she'd love to follow as her star continues to climb.

RKO Pictures

What kind of preparation and violin training did you have in order to make your playing so believable?
I had a couple of months prior to shooting where I had one on one instruction with an incredible violinist, she was from Julliard and was I think 24 years old. It was really a matter of getting down the foundation of the instrument, scales and all of that malarkey and understanding the physicality, too, which is really important to inform the character. It's funny. In a way, you learn all of this in a way to want to throw it all to the sides. You learn it to forget about it so that is is not dominating your mind the whole time and conquering your thoughts.

I know the other [actors] had lessons together. I don't know how they got any work done. It must have been a lot of fun, but, yeah, I had a strict regime. It was good and rewarding too — you really do pick up a lot quickly when you practice.

When you were younger, did you play any instruments or was this your first experience?
I did play the cello for a little bit when I was younger for a couple of years, but that was when I was like six or seven years old. There wasn't too much that I could bring to this — essentially the violin is everything that the cello is in reverse — and, of course, in terms of the actual playing, everything is much smaller on the violin. There was a steep learning curve in that sense, but I really enjoyed doing it and wanted to give it my all to make it really believable.

In the film, Philip Seymour Hoffman and Catherine Keener play your parents. Are they anything like your real parents?
They are nothing like my real parents actually. I love my real mom and dad, I love them both equally. In the film, Catherine is just really an important person. She's come to be that way in the impact that she has had in my life. I respect my mom and dad a lot, and I really, really respect Phil [Hoffman] and Catherine, of course, but no, they are very very different.

Sounds like you learned a lot from Catherine.
Yeah, totally, and a real sense of play. She is a very encouraging actress, very generous, a very, very generous heart.

Imogen Poots, Yaron Zilberman & Catherine Keener Getty Images
There is this one scene you have with Catherine where you confront her about how often she was away while you were growing up. A lot of raw emotion that came out during that scene. How did you get yourself to that place?
I think that really comes down to the questions Alexandra has been asking herself for a long time. She obviously has been making decisions — you see that in the film with Daniel — and I think she scolds herself for those choices later on. I get the impression, I have always felt that, with Alexandra, she's at a place in her life where she is insatiable and is seeking fulfillment in any way that she can and has no regard really for the feelings of the other people. It comes out in quite a harsh way that she felt this abandonment when she was younger, didn't really have a solid family network there for her. Again, I think it also comes down to the profession that she is attempting to get involved in: Does she actually want to do this or is she doing it to get praise from her parents? All of these questions come up in that way, in that emotion. I think also when you see someone that you love deeply frustrated with themselves, that can only be passed onto you because she does love her mother immensely.

Was there any awkwardness between you and Mark Ivanir or was the chemistry there from the beginning?
I think it just came to knowing that that is what is going on with the characters. From day one, understanding the decisions they were going to make and why. So, Mark and I, we hung out a lot. We had a couple of rehearsals before the film, but he is such an easy going guy so you just kind of find your way and Yaron was very hands on. It wasn't exactly the most straightforward relationship in that sense. It was actually a really interesting one to play because I used to listen in on a lot of discussions as to why Daniel does do that and Mark had his own opinions, Phil had his own opinions. It was a really interesting one to knuckle down on.

Getty Images
If you weren't acting, what would you be doing?
It's sort of a difficult one to talk about because acting is what I have been doing and what I wanted to do. It's kind of funny, with all of the different outlets that come from acting that you could try, I would love to direct and kind of be involved in art direction too. I think that is a fascinating aspect of directing and photography. You know all of these things can stem from the core. Acting is a real gift that can often present you with other opportunities that are slightly attached to it.

So you would stay within the creative realm?
Yeah, totally. For example, what Phil does — he directs plays, he directs films and acts in both — I think that is a really interesting way and it's such a collaborative industry in that sense. That's the real beauty and real sense of opportunity.

Who in Hollywood has your dream career?
I really admire Catherine's work. I really admire Amy Adams and Michelle Williams. The choices that they have made as actors are really, really cool. There is a certain mystery to them that is very magical, but they stand out for me. You have Juliette Lewis and Julianne Moore; all of these women are really awesome. And of course you have Jack Nicholson — he's just great.

Who is your dream love interest on screen?
Michael Shannon. He's a little far-fetched. Maybe not for me but I do like to watch his work.

What is your favorite movie?
I think my favorite movie's either got to be something like, "Running on Empty" with River Phoenix — that's a favorite of mine — and I just saw "I Shot Andy Warhol" for the first time the other day and that's a terrific film with Lili Taylor. It's a really, really great film. She was so good, just extraordinary in it.


New York or L.A.?
New York

"Harry Potter," "Twilight" or "Hunger Games?"
Hunger Games

Twitter, Facebook or Pinterest
None

Justin Bieber or Timberlake?
Justin Bieber, obviously.

Related Stories

  • back
  • close

Most Popular Videos

Get More »

Also Check Out

More from MTV Networks
2010 - 2014 MTV Networks, and ™ MTV Networks. All Rights Reserved.