Today: April 18, 2024

MyAnna Buring Talks Hyena

Police corruption thriller, Hyena, starring Peter Fernando (Michael), Stephen Graham (David) Elisa Lasowski (Ariana) and MyAnna Buring (Lisa) opens in UK cinemas this week. After winning rave reviews at the Edinburgh Film Festival, Hyena is scheduled for a North American release in June … meaning that big things are expected for this tense and visceral home-grown drama. FilmJuice’s Feature Editor, Paula Hammond, chatted to MyAnna Buring about the challenges of getting down and dirty…

You were born is Sweden, raised in the Middle East and work in London. Where is home?
I don’t just work in London  – this is my home – my base. I’ve lived for most of my life in the UK although I had the most glorious childhood growing up in the Middle East and always have relatives to stay with if I visit Sweden.

You’ve worked in comedy and drama, film, TV and theatre. Which do you prefer?
It’s the variation that makes me happy. It’s always the characters that I’m drawn to and the people I get to work with that excites me. Characters that I believe in, and stories that intrigue me. If I had to do the same thing over and over for years I think I’d go crazy. I have such respect for people who can tour productions for years on end – that takes a real stamina and skill.

How do you prepare for roles?
It depends on the job but I usually start with the script – allow it to inform me of who my character is, what she knows, doesn’t, how she reacts to things tells me how she is different to me or in some cases similar. Then I research – so I can understand the social, political, and cultural backdrop in which the character is operating. Also if there is something specific she is going through or dealing with I research that – if she is a paramedic for instance I research the details of the job – so I can have a level of understanding from which to play from and then of course the rest is what happens instinctively in the rehearsal or during takes. Listening to what others bring to the story and reacting to it. For Hyena – Gerard [Johnson] was very meticulous in ensuring that we all had a very comprehensive back story – one that we all knew and understood. Not all directors get that involved. It was great to work so collaboratively.

As a woman working in an entertainment industry where’s there’s pressure to be glamorous, do you relish the chance to portray more gritty/down to earth characters like Lisa?
It’s great to not have a three-hour make up call in the morning but then again I like to mix it up. It’s not that I relish playing grittier roles like Lisa – but I relish playing roles that are different from each other – not repeating myself. If a character is spotty and paunchy and never wears make up –  great –  and if a character is glam-ed up to the nines with a gregarious wardrobe, great. I do agree that we have a rather unhealthy focus on looking a particular way and there is a particularly a pressure on women to look a certain way. I guess I just try not to think about it too much. When it comes to work it is NOT what drives me – whatever is right for the character is what drives me… In my personal life I dress to make myself feel good and if that means wearing my pyjamas then I will. If it means red lipstick then that’s what I’ll wear… and if I don’t have the time to borrow a pretty dress for an event I’ll recycle something from my wardrobe. I make an effort but I don’t stress too much about it…

What was the most challenging part of playing Lisa?
It was trying to ensure that the deep history between her and Michael came across. Given that we had such little screen time to do it in, I was conscious that Lisa had to feel like someone that mattered to Michael and for whom it would hurt to hurt.

Hyena ends on something of a cliffhanger. What do you think happens to Lisa at the end of the film?
Ah – well that is the beauty – everyone has a different take. For me however, I never saw it ending well for her…

Hyena will be released in cinemas on March 6th.

Paula Hammond - Features Editor

Paula Hammond is a full-time, freelance journalist. She regularly writes for more magazines than is healthy and has over 25 books to her credit. When not frantically scribbling, she can be found indulging her passions for film, theatre, cult TV, sci-fi and real ale. If you should spot her in the pub, after five rounds rapid, she’ll be the one in the corner mumbling Ghostbusters quotes and waiting for the transporter to lock on to her signal… Email: writerpaula@icloud.com

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