Talking Flowers, fairytales and fluidity with actor Sophia Di Martino
Season two of Channel 4's Flowers is set to be queerer than ever...
Sophia Di Martino (centre) in Channel 4's Flowers.
Channel 4’s fantastically quirky “tragi-comedy” Flowers is back for a second season. To celebrate said news, we chatted to actor, writer, and director, Sophia Di Martino, who plays wild child, Amy Flower.
Above - Sophia as Amy Flower in Channel 4's Flowers.
DIVA: Hello Sophia, first of all, how did you get into acting?
SOPHIA DI MARTINO: It was always something that I really enjoyed. I loved getting involved with school plays and drama and things and then, as I got older, I just carried on doing it. I think, I always wanted to be an actor and a filmmaker, but I didn't shout about it too much when I was younger because I didn't quite know how to make it happen. It seemed more of a secret dream than something that I could actually do.
You’ve most recently starred in Channel 4’s black comedy Flowers, but you’ve also worked in film - which was your first big part?
I had a very tiny part in the British film Black Pond which was written by Will Sharpe - who also writes, directs, and stars in Flowers, but that was literally blink and you'll miss me! My first proper feature film was A Royal Night Out in 2015, so only three years ago. Before that I worked mostly in television, shows like Friday Night Dinner.
Above - The cast of Channel 4's Flowers.
Do you prefer working in one or the other, film or television?
I really love working in TV because I know it better, I've done more of it and I enjoy that each episode has an arc. I love that episodic sort of storytelling and I think you kind of get to do more as an actor in the sense that you can get more involved. Then again, I love doing film as well, I like that it's a longer term project - it’s a bigger beast!
Okay, Flowers! Season two is going to be on our television screens very soon. Can you describe the show in a nutshell?
It's a tragi-comedy! Flowers is about the universal experience of the family, and also the individual struggles of each of the family members, I think… it’s a tricky one to describe in a nutshell [laughs]. Someone once said it was a new genre of its own, and I quite like that. I like that it's difficult to categorise and it's got its own thing going on.
How has Flowers compared to other television projects you’ve been involved in?
I’d been a massive fan of the script right from the beginning, so it was very exciting to be a part of something I’d so wanted to be. From the minute we were on set, it was very clear that the world of Flowers was going to look just like the script had described it as, which was really exciting. I think that comes down to Will writing it as well as directing it. He had a very clear vision and that vision was something he definitely managed to actualise, which is amazing.
It is really quite beautiful to look at, a little dreamy even - would you agree?
It's very cinematic, which I don't think is very easy to do with TV because of the budgets and time that you have, because it's a very quick shoot really. So, hats off to Sharpey!
Above - Characters Hylda and Amy in Flowers.
Your character Amy Flower is a bit of a wild child to say the least, how would you describe her?
Amy is a complex character, full of frustration and passion and this wild energy that she sometimes doesn't know what to do with. She's also really funny, and brave ...and strong ...and vulnerable [laughs].
In season two of the show, we see Amy take more of a centre stage, are we due a storyline built around Amy and her partner, Hylda?
I don't want to spoil it for anyone… but yes! Hylda goes on quite a journey with Amy in this new series. It starts with Amy being in a pretty good place actually. She's in love with her girlfriend, Hylda. She's got this band that are doing pretty well, she's even got a few friends - which no-one thought would ever happen - she's in a good place.
Then she starts to be interested in where she's come from, her roots, and especially her paternal grandfather Felix Flower. Through that, she embarks on this sort of mission to find out more about her family history and, we have to remember that this is Flowers, so things don’t stay rosy for her for very long!
Above - Amy with her friends and bandmates in Flowers.
Does Amy ever explicitly identify as lez/bi or queer through the two series?
I don't believe she ever self-identifies as lesbian or bisexual, though her brother Donald does shout something at her in the first series in a derogatory way. It's just presented as it is. She's in love with a girl in the first series, and she's in a relationship with Hylda in the second. She just does her thing, and that’s that.
Does that reflect yourself and your own sexuality IRL, do you think?
I’ve had relationships with both men and women, so I think maybe in a way. I believe sexuality is a fluid thing, and I've definitely tried on different labels at different points in my life... I think it's cool that Amy doesn’t label herself. What’s important is that the representation is there on prime time television, and especially in a comedy, and that she doesn't really have to deal with any homophobia or any issues in terms of her sexuality.
I think it's wonderful that she's in a relationship with a woman and yet that's not the defining part of her character. She’s got much more stuff going on and I really like that about her, you know. She’s in a relationship with a woman and that's that.
You starred in a short called Baby Gravy last year too which deals with same-sex parenting, how did you get involved in that one?
Director Marley Morrison just got in touch, and I found the script really funny! It was great to be a part of, and it’s showing at a few other festivals this year I believe. Marley's great too - definitely one to watch.
And you’ve recently written and directed your first film, could you tell us a little more?
Bloody Nora is my first short film, yes! So, I’ve written and directed that, and it's currently in post-production. It's a macabre fairy tale about a girl who finds a camera and films herself meeting these weird and wonderful characters. Her dad isn't very happy about what she's been doing, but she goes to extreme lengths to save her new friends from being destroyed.
Is it a little Angela Carter style..?
I'm a fan of Angela Carter, so yeah, I'll go with that [laughs].
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