Karen Bryson is no stranger to the screen, better known for her role in Shameless, playing the feisty Avril Powell her career goes from strength to strength with no limitations.
Karen has recently seen her new film, The Carrier premiere at the Raindance film festival, we got the chance to sit down and pose a few questions her way about the film.
Your new film, The Carrier where you play Maria Adams has just received its UK Premiere at the Raindance Film Festival. Tell us about the film and your character?
The Carrier is a Sci-Thriller where there is a pandemic sweeping the nation. It’s incredibly dangerous as its spread by touch. The worst thing is … There is no known cure. In this desperate situation, a fortunate few end up on an out of commission plane to escape the mayhem below. They are bound for Greenland where there is a rumored cure. After stringent strip searches, unfortunately, they discover the infection has made its way onto the plane. It soon becomes clear they are as much in danger from the infection as they are from each other.
I play Maria Adams who had recently lost her son in the first wave of the pandemic. She is accompanied by her husband Kevin (Andrew French) who also free from infection made it onto what they think is the safety of the plane. Maria is hugely religious and everything she held dear is questioned, as she struggles with her faith.
The storyline sounds a bit grueling, which was the hardest part for you?
Having to dig deep and put myself in a place of extreme loss versus survival. Her journey in the film started in that place and progressively gets worse as she tussles with the situation and the people. Oh and at times the cold temperature! Lol…
What attracted you to a sci-fi film?
It was certainly two-fold for me. Firstly the concept of the film, the fact that it posses the extremely topical question of “what if” we live in a world where we have become resistant to antibiotics. As a result, a deadly infection sweeps the nation with little or no known cure? It then presents a bleak answer to that “what if”, scary! And secondly the writing of the characters, the fact that these brilliantly written characters are then put in a situation where they are fighting for their lives….in an enclosed space to boot! Fight or flight kicks in. They all seemingly want the same thing but go about it in completely different ways. With that conflict, comes drama!
Your role is completely different to the role of Avril in Shameless, what kind of research did you do?
There wasn’t much I could do to in terms of research. The situations the characters find themselves in are rather extraordinary. I did however read a lot of accounts from survivors, the horrible events that took place on 9/11 and 7/7.
Who in the cast were you most looking forward to working with?
This might sound like a cop out. But the entire team! After our initial read through, I was completely enthused and excited that it was going to be a great shoot. We were all there to make a film… an independent film which takes guts and heart, a true labour of love.
Which do you prefer working in, TV or Film?
For the actor it’s pretty much the same. Serving the writer and collaborating with the director and cast to tell the story. To be as authentic in your characterization and “be in the moment”, to work with truth and honesty! The camera picks up almost everything… including the eyes, the window to the soul.
I love them both.
You have been in many TV shows, which has been the most fun?
One of them has to be Shameless playing Avril Powell that was just fantastic!! I enjoyed every moment with a fantastic team of people. But also, a series I did a good while back called Bodies written by Jed Mercurio (Line of Duty). It was a series about an Obstetrics and Gynecology unit in a hospital. True to Jed’s work it was brilliantly written. I played a midwife called Hazel Melrose. Ok, so this show was so true to life and showed every type of unusual pregnancies EVER! We had fantastic (award winning) realistic prosthetics! I am SQUIMISH!! The cast and crew used to tease me while filming as my face was the same colour as the costume uniform…. Green. Lol… I learnt so much doing that show as we had the best medical advisors helping us with the gritty reality of those cases. Amazing fun, despite the naturalistic “gore”. I made life long friends on the show, including Preeya Kalidas who also stared in it.
Is there something you haven’t done yet your itching to get under your acting belt?
The thing about this business is it can take you into the most unexpected places with regards to parts and projects. I love that, the unexpected element. When it comes to acting, I just want to continue to be challenged and hopefully continue to produce quality work. With that being said… I would love to play a DCI in a gritty, dark, well written police drama à la (Prime Suspect/Luther). Lol…
What can we expect to see from you in the future?
New series for BBC1 called Cuffs.. It’s about the workings of a Police station in East Sussex. I play Custody Sergeant Melanie Pyke. It’s out later in the autumn. I also hope to be lucky enough to continue to produce work I’m proud of.