Actress Aisling Franciosi Is Reintroducing a Cult Classic to a New Generation

The story is dark and unnerving at times, but what was it like when the cameras weren’t rolling? Can you tell me about some of your favorite moments filming this project?

When we went to the Himalayas, we were genuinely isolated. I think it took us about two days to get to our final destination. We flew from London by Istanbul to Kathmandu. And then, we flew from Kathmandu to Pokhara and then Pokhara to Tansen in a tiny propeller airplane, which I don’t love. And then from there, some of the crew were staying in a tiny town where we arrived on the final flight, but the cast and some of the production team and the director and producers were staying an extra hour further away from that with this super-bumpy car ride to get there. When we got there, we didn’t have any cell phone service and no internet. I’m actually suspicious because the day that we left, we popped back in to use the loo, and the Wi-Fi was working again when it hadn’t been that whole time. But actually, it was a blessing because it meant we did old-school bonding. In the evenings, we were staying in this cool little lodge, and it was really cold at night, so we would all go and huddle around the fire downstairs. Everyone ate at the same time, and we had these tables that had hot coals underneath that warmed your legs. Even if people were reading books, they would tend to read downstairs by the fire, and people would be chatting and playing stupid games that you would play at camp. It meant that we all bonded extremely quickly, which was beautiful. Then when we were filming most of the interior stuff back in London, it meant that we had that sense of knowing each other for a long time. When you are isolated and in a room with people for two weeks straight with nothing else to do, it’s an accelerated getting-to-know-you process. Also, the cast is just so funny. We laughed so much. It was a really good group. 

Coming off Black Narcissus and The Nightingale before that, what are you looking to do next in your career?

I’ve already got my next two projects. One of them is a little bit different, and the other one is a very sad character. I don’t feel like that’s how I present myself day-to-day, so I don’t know why I attract these roles. I would love to do a comedy. I would love to work with a director who does very stylized films, like Yorgos Lanthimos, those people who you watch their film and you know it’s theirs—like there is no question about who directed it. I, at some point, would love to do a musical film. But really, if I get the opportunity to work on something that has great people involved, like a great writer, director, or a cast, and the writing is really strong, I’m not going to say no to it just because it’s another dark character. It’s also true to say that those characters are satisfying to play, so I get a lot of creative satisfaction from that. I have a funny story from last year. I was auditioning for two parts in the same show, and one was a very chatty, funny Brooklynite, and the other was the serial killer of the show. I eventually got down to the last couple [auditions], and I asked my agent, “Oh, for which one?” and she said, “The serial killer, obviously!” So despite my efforts on that one, I am still, for some reason, seen as better suited to a serial killer than a friendly, chatty person.

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