IN CONVERSATION WITH FREYA ALLAN
THIS PHOTOSHOOT AND INTERVIEW WERE CONDUCTED BEFORE THE SAG-AFTRA STRIKE
Freya Allan is best known for her enchanting role as Ciri in Netflix’s fantasy drama show ‘The Witcher’, which released part one of third season this June and will release part two at the end of July. Freya will also lead the cast of the highly anticipated science fiction action film ‘Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes’, which will be coming out in May 2024.
Freya, how has ‘The Witcher’ changed your life? When you got cast, your role was meant as a minor role, but you were then recast as one of three leading protagonists.
I actually went for Ciri first and I was told they really liked my audition, but that the casting description had changed, so I was cast in another role. Then they put me back in for the final audition for Ciri and I got it. I mean, it’s the start of my career really. I’ve learnt everything on ‘The Witcher’ and it’s also provided me with a stability that most people my age don’t have, so in that way it’s a massive change. I had such a big responsibility, so I think it set up an environment for me to really grow up faster. But aside from all that, everything else feels the same. I still have the same mates from the first day of secondary school and I’m usually with my family in Oxford. I’m really grateful to have that to come back to.
We’ve just been able to watch the first part of season three. What can you tease about the second part, coming out at the end of July?
I think the second half for Ciri is all about confronting her past and then how that will affect her future. It was really emotional having to revisit these moments and people from season 1 that really shaped this character and her life. I’m particularly excited for people to see episode 7, which is Ciri’s journey through the desert. It was something from the books I’ve looked forward to bringing to life for a while now and it’s basically just me in the episode, so I was really excited for that challenge.
What would you describe as the most memorable part of filming ‘The Witcher’?
It’s got to be shooting in Morroco for episode 307 and getting to have my mom there with me for the first time since season 1. That was special. Getting to work somewhere like that, you have to pinch yourself. It also felt like a team more so than ever with the crew, we really looked out for each other. We were shooting in 46°C. The memories of getting back to the hotel and all having a beer together, going “we got through today” are some of the best memories.
Next May, you’ll also lead the cast of the highly anticipated science fiction action film ‘Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes’, where you play the only human. Tell us more about your experience on this famous franchise.
I just feel so lucky to have gotten to work with Wes Ball and Owen Teague. They’re both so smart and really care about the precision of what they’re doing and that allowed me to trust and enjoy it. I really had to fight for the role. I knew going into it that I wasn’t the look they were after, so I just feel so grateful to be a part of it now. One of the most bizarre elements of playing the only human was having to do the scenes with the actors playing the apes and then without anyone at all, so sometimes I had to do things like drag myself or hug the air. I had to use my imagination more than ever before. I’m really excited for people to see this franchise through a new lens. I think the characters are in constant discovery and conflict with what they know of the world and it’s also a real adventure.
How did your acting career begin? Have you always wanted to become an actress?
I spent a large chunk of my childhood pretending to be either a dog or a horse and my parents were constantly catching me waffling away to myself, playing imagainary whatever it was that day. Not unlike me when I’m learning lines now. I got into a ballet version of ‘Rapunzel’ when I was 11 and then balled my eyes out when it finished. I think that’s when I caught the bug. Then at 14, I just told my parents one day that I had emailed an agent and had a meeting and that was that really. They’ve always supported me. I started with student short films and had a couple of small TV roles before I got ‘The Witcher’, when I was 16.
What excites you about acting the most? What kind of roles challenge you the most?
I’ve always loved analysing people’s behaviour and the reason behind why they are the way they are. I find it really interesting and that’s basically the job. But what also really excites me is any opportunity where I get to work with brilliant writers and/or directors. Those projects are rare, but even if it’s just the audition process and you don’t even land it, it’s still fun to get to even read those kinds of scenes. I think I also love the camaraderie of it. There’s something so special about a film set and getting to feel a part of a large web of people, all putting their effort into one final project. I don’t know if there is a kind of role that challenges me the most, as every role is a challenge because I want to do a good job. I think if you have good writing, that definitely reduces your challenges.
What would be your dream project and role to work on?
One of my dreams is to work on an A24 film. I think they work with some great writers and directors. But as a juxtaposition, I would also love to be Rapunzel in a live action version of ‘Tangled’.
What are you most passionate about in life, besides acting?
I love to paint, mainly people, and often when they’re not looking their best. I just find it more interesting that way. Oh and singing musicals when no one’s home. That’s my guilty pleasure.
What is your relationship with fashion like? Can you describe your style in 5 words?
My best mates are always putting together the most fantastic outfits, so I always have fashion inspiration. I think my relationship with fashion is constantly changing, but for a while I have been obsessed with vintage and second hand clothing. I like clothes to look worn and from another time. I think I like simplicity, but at the same time I also have certain pieces that pop out more than others. I love finding something that I’ve never seen before, so I mix it up.
My style in 5 words: vintage, simple, quality, varied, timeless.
Freya, what can you share with us about your other upcoming projects, besides ‘Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes’?
Everything’s a little up in the air at the moment in the industry, so we’ll see. I’m reading scripts, just trying to find the right one.
interview by JANA LETONJA @janaletonja
talent FREYA ALLAN @freyaallan
photography JUANKR @juankr_
styling CATERINA OSPINA @cateoniwiki
makeup VALERIA FERREIRA @valeriaferreiramakeup
hair HALLEY BRISKER @halleybrisker
editor TIMI LETONJA @timiletonja
cover design ARTHUR ROELOFFZEN @arthurroeloffzen