IS NO MERE MORTAL…
Best known for historical fantasy series Da Vinci’s Demons, 29-year-old Icelandic actress Hera Hilmar is about make a major splash on the big screen, starring alongside Ben Kingsley in
An Ordinary Man and heading up the cast of Peter Jackson-produced post-apocalyptic sci-fi Mortal Engines, as revenge-fuelled assassin Hester Shaw. “It’s like being a big kid in a playground.”
Were you aware of Philip Reeve’s Mortal Engines books before signing up?
I wasn’t. I was a bit like, “What is this? It sounds bonkers.” But if you know Peter Jackson is making it, you go, “Well, it’s probably going to be good bonkers!” There are cities on wheels that hunt other cities, so they can get their food and metals, and even people to use as slaves. So it’s like capitalism on wheels.
How would you describe Hester?
Philip Reeve wrote her as the hero of the books, but she’s allowed to be fierce and flawed. I feel very privileged to play her, because a lot of films have heroines that are sexy and cool, but Hester is just a normal girl trying to figure shit out. She’s really damaged in the beginning and has to learn how to become human again.
You come from a family of filmmakers. Did you always want to be an actor?
Yeah. That was the world I lived in. I think you can grow up and hate it, but I really liked it. My dad would let me appear in his films sometimes, but they never put that pressure on me. When the time came, I did it on my own.
Will you always return to Iceland between British/American projects?
Of course. That’s where I grew up, they’re my people, first and foremost. It’s always been important to me to be part of that, and not just start there then leave. I couldn’t go through life without telling stories from my home. JF
ETA | 8 DECEMBER / MORTAL ENGINES OPENS THIS WINTER.