Getting to Know Daisy Aitkens
Daisy Aitkens is the writer/director of British comedy film ‘You, Me and Him’, starring David Tennant, Lucy Punch and Faye Marsay. The all-star cast is completed by Simon Bird, Sally Phillips, Gemma Jones, David Warner and Sarah Parish. We asked Daisy to tell us about herself:
I am a director, writer and actress. I enjoy the first one more than the last two. But I think I might be better at the middle one. When I was first out of drama school everyone was all like ‘you can’t be so many different things!’ Now everyone has a hypenate, even if you have a 9-5 job you usually have a side project. Anyway, I digress. As an actor I was often described as ‘quirky’, which I think just means has-a-big-nose-and-curly-hair. As a writer/director I like the words funny and the picture pretty. I love a good rom com, which makes me feel like a bit of a cliché but I’m embracing that. I guess a ‘guilty feminist’ is also a term I should be embracing. Have you listened to the ‘Guilty Feminist’ podcast? It’s brilliant. Go listen to it now. After all, who knows when I’ll get on to the next question, you could be here forever.
“You, Me and Him” is classic rom com with a twist. Lesbian couple Olivia and Alex (Lucy Punch and Faye Marsay), despite their age difference, are very much in love. As the question of pregnancy beckons and they befriend their new neighbour John (David Tennant), lines begin to get blurred and the trio find themselves in some truly uncharted territory. The cast are so wickedly funny. We had a very relaxed set, we improvised and played around with lines to make each one as funny and real as possible. Everyone brought so much heart to their characters, to the extent that the movie will make you laugh, it will also make you cry. My mum watched it yesterday and she liked it so basically I’m ecstatic about it.
Although it’s about a lesbian couple it has little to do with their sexuality. It’s hardly mentioned. I think this is true to life. It definitely deals with the shitshow that is pregnancy though, in what I hope is a thoroughly honest way. My sister was pregnant at the time of my writing the script so I just stole everything from her experience. Even down to the Australian hypnobirthing teacher who was deeply liberal, deeply solariumed and whom Sally Phillips made deeply funny.
Home is London at the moment but I was born in Australia and lived in Los Angeles for a few years. I was thrown about the globe as a youngster by my parents and loved it. I consider anywhere I have great friends my home.
I’ve never been skydiving and I really don’t want to go. I even feel like when someone randomly brings it up in conversation they are somehow forcing me to go. I get quite defensive. When I read articles or memes that tell me to do “something that scares you every day”, I will audibly tell the screen that I do not intend to go skydiving. Please don’t make me. As you may have guessed, I’m not a big fan of heights.
I spend too much time on Instagram. What is it with Instagram this year? It has absolutely taken over as the ultimate social media behemoth. When did it become normal to photograph your food or talk to your phone and tell your friends what you’re doing like the presenter of your own life? It is ridiculous and self-obsessed and I’m completely obsessed by it. I now watch Instagram stories before bed as I once did Love Island. It has become my guilty pleasure – watching the reality TV show of my friend’s lives.
It might surprise people to learn that I’ve had plastic surgery. I was attacked and mauled by an Alsatian when I was eight years old and had to have half my face grafted back on. My top lip is mainly made up from scar tissue. Nice huh?! Yeah, not exactly something I bring up at dinner parties but a surprise nonetheless as those doctors made me look all “normal” again.
In the future, I hope I can go to my local multiplex cinema and take note that the six films playing are all made by women. In the top 100 films of 2016, females make up just 29% of protagonists. Last time I checked, we were still over half the population. I really hope more women become directors in my generation and the one below me so that I can see more female-lead films on the big screen.
Interview by Bobby Townsend.