9th May 2023
Photo Credit: Andrew Dunn
Interview: Amy Bell
Starring in the sequel to Book Club with big names such as Jane Fonda, Diane Keaton, Mary Steenburgen and Candice Burgen. We got to chat to the lovely Grace Truly about her role, filming in Rome, fashion and future projects.
Thanks for talking to ReVamp, you are in Focus Features' new film ‘Book Club: The Next Chapter’, can you tell us a bit about how you landed this role and give us a description of your role?
Thank you for having me! So, the character I play is the assistant to a fashion designer in Rome, in a scene where Vivian (Jane Fonda) searches for her perfect wedding dress.
I’d met Bill Holderman (Director and Co-writer), and Erin Simms (Co-writer and Producer) a few years ago. Since then they’ve kept tabs on me, and followed my Instagram where I highlight my work. So when they were writing this sequel for ‘Book Club’, they actually wrote this part with me in mind, which is a unique position to be in so early in a career.
Can you tell us about the experience filming in Rome? Who was your scene with and what was it like?
It was wonderful! Totally unforgettable. Rome is one of the most beautiful and fascinating places I’ve ever been to, so it was a real luxury to spend some time there - despite the intense summer heat! My scene was alongside Jane Fonda, Diane Keaton, Candice Bergen, Mary Steenburgen and Giampiero Judica (who plays the designer). It was shot in a stunning Villa, decorated with gowns. On the whole, it was quite a surreal experience. I have grown up watching these talented women on screen and I admire them immensely - so it was initially pretty nerve-wracking, as I’m sure you can imagine! But I managed to get through my anxiety, thanks (in no small part) to how kind the cast and crew were around me. For my first speaking role in a feature film, I truly don’t think it could have been any better. I feel very lucky indeed.
When did you decide you wanted to pursue acting?
I was quite young actually, there was always something that drew me to it. Not only storytelling through performance - but the chance to to become another person, to reach a place where I can genuinely feel and know that character. It is a completely intimate, personal experience... which is then shared through a lens. It’s an extraordinary feeling. For me, acting is the ultimate way of exploring human nature, as one can live through so many lives, psyches and stories... and that character you’ve helped bring to life, will live forever on film.
You just had an amazing opportunity to work with an incredible all-star cast. Who would be a dream to work alongside in the future?
Absolutely amazing! That’s a tough question as there are many, both in front and behind the camera. Here I’ll stick to in front - but I don’t think I can say just one, so I’ll name a few: Joaquin Phoenix - he consistently makes interesting choices and you never catch him acting; Andrew Scott - who has such a unique ability to flip between sharp wit and deep sensitivity; Sandra Bullock - who I think is one of the warmest actors of our time; Julie Andrews would be such a dream that I’d have to pinch myself; and this list wouldn’t be complete without Tom Cruise - the energy of his work, I find myself smiling from beginning to end.
It is your first feature American film, will you be going to the U.S. before the release?
Yes! I am heading to New York City a few days before the premiere, which is on the 8th May in Manhattan. From there, I’m flying to Los Angeles for a week for some meetings.
Your other passion is fashion and design. When did you learn how to sew and how long have you been designing? Who are your fashion design inspirations in the fashion world?
Yes, one of them! I’ve been sewing since I was 5 years old. I started out by making everyone I knew little purses in felt! I designed and made my first dress when I was 10. I’d had the notion that buying patterns was more complex than draping and making them myself, which in hindsight was mad! However I’d built up skills, so the first pattern I used was a Christian Dior dress suit from 1966, which I handmade in woven wool when I was 15. I’d say my greatest fashion inspiration is Christian Dior, so I thought why not make my own… I’ve always liked to challenge myself. I am a great lover of the 1950s in particular, so now most of the clothes I make are either inspired by, or made with, vintage patterns from then.
A few modern designers I love are Simone Rocha, Cecilie Bahnsen, Vivienne Westwood, Molly Goddard and Miss Sohee.
ReVamp would love to hear about your upcoming feature you are working on as Writer/Director. Can you tell us a little about it? Please also tell us anything else you are working on.
Yes, a little! I’d mostly like to keep it under wraps at the moment though. It’s an ensemble piece, evolving around university students from the UK… and dancing! I want it to be joyful and hopeful, a celebration of life.
I’m also currently working on completing an animation short film, which has been a process with stops and gaps. It is a whimsical tale of two creatures, a story written by my mother Emma Dunn. The film combines traditional hand-drawn rotoscoping (allowing me to perform in it) with artificial intelligence (which allows me to draw less frames).
I’m never idle and always have something on the go!
Book Club: The Next Chapter is out in cinemas on 12th of May!