I got to spend a little time with one Gabrielle Ryan, a budding talented actress that got her break in the Mo Ali film Shank (2010). In the film she played the ultra feisty Phoenix alongside some big UK names like Adam Deacon and Bashy, so i decided to find out some about the lady behind the on screen persona…
Since then Gabrielle who lives in Brighton has been knocking on the door of the UK film industry. Meeting her in central London for our interview I meet a warm, funny lady but behind this exterior is an ambitious lady who has been putting in the work. Duly rewarded, she has some exciting projects on the horizon and dare I say, I think she is definitely an actress to watch out for.
Following my dream
I had a whole academic upbringing. I wanted to do the whole drama thing but my parents would not let me. My parents were not against it but it was rather as long as you get a solid background and get a degree then I could do anything I wanted. I think my mum still thinks I am going through a phase. Before going into acting I did commercials while I was at university and so they knew the possibilities. After university I dabbled in media studies with TV production and then after that I did a couple of jobs here and there and then I decided to quit them both and go into acting full time.
English girl in New York
I wanted to do some form of formal training and for some reason I looked over to New York rather than there but I also wanted to see what the industry is like for actors out in New York. So I went to Lee Strasberg which is one of the big acting schools out there and I did the programme. The line of people that have attended that school is just amazing: De Niro, Al Pacino, Angelie Jolie and they are amazing actors and when you watch them you really belief them as the characters they play.
Working with Mo Ali
The first recognised film I did was Shank which was directed by Mo Ali and had Adam Deacon in it. Working on the set is a lot of hard work but because it was so much fun and everyone is doing their thing and Mo is a great director it was amazing. I am doing another project with Mo again because he liked the way I work on the set. It is called Freshers but I cannot give you anymore than that. It is like a comedy but not exactly.
Building on the CV
Men Don’t Lie has been my next break and I think that is out sometime next year in fact. It was cool because I played a completely different character to Phoenix in Shank. I played a princess basically. I am the daughter of this wealthy family and I play this complete socialite brat. I played opposite a French actor who is really big in France but maybe not so well known over here called Jean Huges-Anglade he starred in a few really big films one was called Betty Blue and so it was intimidating at first but he was really cool and he gave me some brilliant advice. I have also been cast in a new film called ‘The Weekend’ a film by Kojo the comedian and I am really looking forward to that.
I am going out to New York to do a play about the holocaust and it is loosely based on the Diary of Anne Frank and I play Anne Frank and so that is really cool. I did the audition and obviously did not look like Anne Frank but they liked the audition so much and they looked past the obvious and decided to go with me. It is playing in New York in association with the Bill Clinton association and hosted by June Sarpong. Theatre is always more challenging but this will be great and it is a really serious play I actually cried when I read the script because it is so touching and so I cannot wait.
I have a couple of projects hopefully coming up in the states but I love doing UK stuff and London based projects. I love BBC drama and so I would like to act in a three part drama that would be great but in terms of longevity I would definitely like to be in the states.
Follow Gabrielle on Twitter: @Gabri3lle
Words by Semper Azeez-Harris