411 Movies Interview: India de Beaufort
If you are not watching the new screwball, slapstick comedy meets fantasy TV series, Krod Mandoon And The Flaming Sword of Fire on Comedy Central right now, you should. In the adventures of the ragtag resistance movement led by the aptly named Krod Mandoon (Sean Maguire) against the evil, tyrannical, and eccentric Dongolar (Matt Lucas), Krod is joined by his would-be girlfriend, the Racoon Pagan warrior, Aneka, played by British actress India de Beaufort. The singer, song writer, and musician shifted over to the acting scene several years ago on The Basil Brush Show before appearing with Simon Pegg in the movie Run Fatboy Run. Now India is getting a lot more face time in this great new TV series. And if you haven’t seen Aneka’s fire dance yet, you are truly doing yourself a disservice. I spoke with India last week via phone to talk about what’s going on with Krod and her acting career:
India de Beaufort as Aneka.
Jeffrey “The Vile One” Harris: So did you know Krod was “dork” spelled backwards?
India de Beaufort: It actually took me a while to realize. I didn’t realize straight away. In fact no one even told me until the end of the shoot. I didn’t really look for it, but I know now.
TVO: It explains a lot about Krod, doesn’t it?
IB: It does. I think there’s actually a story behind it. Peter Knight said there was some guy at his school when he was growing up who wasn’t the brightest of the bunch, and they used to call him “Krod,” and he didn’t realize it was dork spelled backwards, so it was kind of like a silly joke or something.
TVO: So how did you get this role?
IB: I auditioned just like everybody else. I went through the exact same process.
TVO: Did you have any doubts, concerns, or hangups about Aneka and the way she behaves? She’s definitely a sexually aggressive in how she approaches certain things.
IB: When I read the script, I just loved the character. And I only ever read the first episode, but when I auditioned I had only seen the first one, so I hadn’t read anything about her fire dance or you know she has a couple of other a bit naughty scenes among the scripts. And I read those after I’d gotten the role. And I think I was originally a little bit concerned just because I take my job very seriously, and I love what I do and I didn’t want people to watch the show and think that I was there for the wrong reasons. So I wanted them to hopefully respect me for playing the role. And there’s always that sort of worry when there’s a character that’s so sexually relative, but after reading it a few times, the writing’s just so funny and its intelligent and knowing that Sean Maguire and Matt Lucas were involved, I couldn’t turn it down. And once that we shot the scenes, and now that I’ve seen it all out, I’m not worried at all because I love the role of Aneka. I really believe in her, and after playing her she’s more a feminist character because she’s saying, “I’m equal to every other man in the world. Men enjoy sex. I enjoy sex.” You know, she’s out there putting out this strong statement. And some people see it that way and some people don’t, but for me playing her personally, I completely respect her and I love playing her.
TVO: So what was the shoot like, and where are you with the show right now?
IB: We’re all back. We’re all done, so now we can just sit back and watch it. The shoot was incredible. I mean it was really just one of those life-changing experiences, and I had so much fun. And I was fortunate enough to be with a group of people who really believed in the project and wanted to get the job done and do it well but also have a great time. We spent everyday just laughing and messing around. I work with a bunch of men who were all just big kids fulfilling their fantasy of sword fighting and being a part of that is just phenomenal.
TVO: Would you consider yourself a fan of fantasy before you started working on this show?
IB: Oh yeah, I’m a huge fan. I’m slightly addicted to Charmed, anything really with sort of the fantasy realm. Harry Potter, Heroes I love . . . just anything really. It’s really amazing how the writers create this universe that’s endless, and I have no idea where that imagination comes from. And being a part of something that when we walk on the set, we’re walking into a world that somebody created. They took pencil and pen and then went down on paper sat down and they got to a point where we’re sitting in it. And that’s just so much fun to be a part of.
TVO: Krod wants to settle down with Aneka and for her to be his girlfriend, while Aneka wants to be her own girl and do things her way. But do you think Aneka is interested in Krod, and could you ever see her settling down with Krod?
IB: I don’t want to give too much away, but Krod loves Aneka. He absolutely adores the ground she walks on. And they have this relationship where she wants an open, free relationship, and he wants a monogamous relationship and sort of seeing the challenges that brings, but there is more to Aneka than her sexual free-ness and her being a great warrior. She has levels and depth and vulnerability and later in the series you’ll see more of that come out, and it may or may not be related to her feelings for Krod.
TVO: How did you get into acting and is acting something you’ve wanted to do your whole life?
IB: I’ve always wanted to be in the business. Both my parents were performers. I was a singer first. I’ve been in writing and singing since I was about 14, 15. And then I went into a children’s TV show called The Basil Brush Show on the BBC in the UK. And I could sing on the show and was what required me to be one of the principal roles and that was my first introduction to acting. And then from there I went back to music and continued writing and continued trying to make it in that way, and then the role of Maya in Run Fatboy Run came along, which was directed by David Schwimmer, and David sort of took me to one side after we finished shooting and said, “Look. I really think that you should take this seriously, and this is the direction you should head in,” and he saw potential, and he was the first person to really believe in me. I had people back me in music before but never in acting. When he took a stance and showed me some confidence, I took him seriously, I mean you have to; he’s someone that’s that talented. So I went away and trained for a year with different acting coaches and really found out my strengths, my weaknesses, the things that I loved about it, the things that I didn’t like so much, and before long I just fell in love. So I put the music to one side and started heavily pursuing acting and auditioning and getting the roles and getting as much information as I possibly could and then Krod and I was fortunate enough to land the role.
IB: I love Simon . . . and he’s just the nicest guy, isn’t he? I saw him a few weeks back when I was in London. Every time I see him, it just reminds me of how delicious he is as a person. I just love him to death.
TVO: I definitely agree. Your role in Run Fatboy Run wasn’t a huge role, but I enjoyed it whenever you were on screen and you definitely had a good presence. And I love seeing you develop on this show, and I’m sorry to say this, but the fire dance was one of the greatest things I’ve ever seen in the history of television.
IB: *Laughs*. Yeah, that was the most nerve-wracking thing I think I’ve ever done. I had to down a beer before I went out and did that. I shouldn’t admit it because I’m not a wine, cocktail drinking kind of a girl. I have an older brother, and so, so I watch football and I like a beer. And before we started shooting it, I was so nervous, not so much about doing it, but doing it in front of my peers, the people I’ve been working against. We were quite a way into the shoot by then. We were almost at the end of the shoot, and the idea of taking my kit off in front of them was mortifying. And then I got out there – the stage that we shot it on was sort of a laminate (?) material and it got covered in joo(?) once the sun went down. So I was slipping all over the place. I wear these hair extensions to play Aneka, and my hair extensions came out when I was throwing my head around, and it was all a bit of a nightmare. I mean I learned that day – I went to – this is absolutely terrible and I can’t believe I’m admitting this, but to train me to do that, they sent me off with a dancing coach, and I got out of a car and I realize I’m outside of a strip club in the middle of Budapest. And I went inside, and this teacher they give me, she was a contemporary dancer, and because they knew it was going to be around some kind of pole, they brought me to a strip club, and it was during working hours. And I walked in and there were some girls on the side kind of sitting there in their very sexy lingerie and things and the owner behind the bar. And there was only one pole, kind of a full crowd, and I had to get up and learn pole dancing in front of all these people who didn’t speak a word of English . . . I mean the whole thing was just crazy. I had a great time, and I learned to pole dance. So we choreographed this routine completely around the pole. And most of what I learned is that poles are on ball bearings, so when you swing around it, it goes wicked and you can really put down your feet (?). And then I got there on set on the day, and the pole was in fact a tree. So we had to throw out all the choreography that I’ve learned and I just had to wing it. So they still somehow managed to edit it and make it look half-decent, but the actual experience itself was a bit all over the place. By the time I’d done it, I had a blast, and I really enjoyed myself and I think it was one of those freeing moments where you never thought you’d do it, but you do it and you have a lot of fun. I might continue the pole dancing lessons if possible.
TVO: Please don’t get offended when I say this, but I’ve never been more jealous of the citizens of Budapest.
IB: *Laughs*, Oh Jeffrey, that’s very sweet of you. I promise you the takes that they saw were nowhere near—
TVO: I mean a lot about acting is about letting go of your inhibitions. And you really embraced the spirit of that character, and it was great.
“I might continue the pole dancing lessons if possible.”
IB: Well the good thing about Aneka is that because she is so strong and feisty and can have these weighty foundations, if I had gone up there and showed that I was nervous and timid it probably would’ve been A.) more embarrassing and B.) I wouldn’t be doing my job. And the great thing about playing Aneka is that because she has this really feisty – I can hide behind that myself. And so when I play her, I can pretend I am her and get away with so much more. Whereas me myself, I don’t think I could probably pole dance in front of 300 men. I’m afraid of how I’d look.
TVO: Do you India find yourself attracted to Krod in any way? I mean, he’s a little incompetent but I find his devotion to one woman very admirable.
IB: Me as a person, I’m a one-man woman. I’m all about trust and men being faithful and honesty and someone being a good all round person and Krod really has all those qualities. And I think it’s kind of cute the way he gets things wrong and is a bit silly, you know. The only thing I probably wouldn’t like is he’s always messing with his hair and the way he looks. I can’t bear those kinds of guys. Everything else about Krod, I love and obviously, Sean is gorgeous. So Sean playing Krod is a big plus. That’s a character I do love.
TVO: So not like Dongolar or any of those guys?
IB: I don’t think there’s anyone in the show, a character – I mean Krod is probably the first guy I’d go for. And after that, Rafe obviously . . . and he’s a very good looking guy . . . but I have funny taste in men. I don’t go for the traditional hero. I don’t know really know what I go for . . . but I’ve never really gone for the leading man. I’m not a leading man kind of woman, but you never know it might change.
“Everything else about Krod, I love and obviously, Sean is gorgeous. So Sean playing Krod is a big plus. That’s a character I do love.”
TVO: What’s the most important thing you look for in a guy you want to date?
IB: Hm. In a guy I want to date. The guy personally, I just want to laugh. I spend my life around funny men, and if they didn’t make me laugh it would be a bit strange. It’s really important that I laugh. It’s also important that you’re sexually attracted to them. But I think the biggest one, the biggest thing that guys tend to miss, is that girls want to go on dates that surprise them. You know every girl in the world has gone on dates where they sat in a restaurant or sat in a coffee shop, or sat and talked or sat and eaten, and if you do it that way then you’re kind of just the same as ever other guy that went before. Whereas if a guy took me rock climbing or to the beach or just something that kind of breaks the ice and is more relaxed and sort of allows you to be in an activity – you know just really breaks the ice, that would make a huge difference. And it’s true because that’s what all my girlfriends say, “if a guy would just do something a little bit out of the blue, a little bit abnormal, something unpredictable it would make a huge difference.” So there’s a big hint.
TVO: I’m going to be taking a lot of notes when I transcribe this interview.
TVO: You mentioned Heroes earlier. Are there any other shows you like to watch in your leisure time?
IB: . . . I’m so addicted to Heroes it’s not funny. I’m usually waiting for Monday nights to come around. And I used to really like Lost and then I got a bit lost. Charmed I’ve been watching a lot of the reruns of recently. I love Gossip Girls, Desperate Housewives, all those kind of “chicky” shows. I love Monk, a detective series, I love Monk. There are many, many shows I adore.
TVO: For a more ladies type of show, I like Mistresses which we just started getting over here.
IB: I love Mistresses, but is it the British version here or . . . ?
TVO: I get the British version on BBCA.
IB: Nice. Because Sarah Parish is in Mistresses, who is the wife of James Murray who plays Rafe Longshaft in our show. That’s a bit of trivia for you.
TVO: James Murray from Primevil?
TVO: That’s another show I love, I just started watching series 3 and I’m going nuts.
IB: Well I’m fortunate because there’s a lot of good TV around.
TVO: You guys have the best TV over in England, besides the fact that we get Krod here.
IB: Yes. England hasn’t got Krod yet. England’s still waiting, so you guys got it first.
TVO: So how many episodes did you shoot for Krod for this season?
IB: We shot six episodes. And hopefully if people watch and tune in and enjoy the show, then we’ll maybe shoot ten or more next season.
TVO: Well, I’m definitely watching right now. I love this show. I love Aneka, I love Krod, and all these characters, and I hope we can see more. India, thank you so much for your time, it’s been amazing speaking with you. And God save the queen.
IB: *Laughs* Thank you, Jeffrey. God Save the Queen.
TVO: And the Sex Pistols too. Thank you so much India, you’re amazing. Tell Krod to watch out.
IB: I will let him know. When I see Sean later, I’ll tell him.
TVO: Tell Sean to watch out too.
If you’d like to find out more about India, you can look up her MySpace Page, or look her up on Facebook or Twitter (her user name is India de Beaufort) where you can also listen to her original music and songs.
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