Goldy Notay has previously starred in Sex and The City 2 and has been cast to star in Red River a film tackling the issue of child brides. With Neil Patrick Harris pointing out at the Oscars that almost every nominee was white and middle class we catch up with Martin before the release of his new film, Amar, Akbar and Tony which boasts an extremely culturally diverse cast and roles covering multiple religions, races and sexualities. It seems we’re finally seeing a real world representation in cinema.
First of all thank you for your time. You’re starring in upcoming British Comedy Amar, Akbar and Tony,can you tell us a bit about the film without giving too much away?
GOLDY: Many thanks for interviewing me. The film is about a few rambunctious rascals who come from differing religious backgrounds but have the cultural common ground of West London. They are suddenly catapulted into adulthood through the sucker-punches of life. But, It’s essentially a coming of age comedy.
What drew you to your role?
GOLDY: I play Amar’s feisty and flirty sister Sonia. When I read the script I loved how unashamedly carefree she was. Also, she’s a diversion from the norm and I always love a good challenge.
Do you feel like the film industry struggles to represent the real modern age and often lacks diversity?
GOLDY: Ohhh yeeeahh! I’m a total cinephile and feel really despondent about the industry. Most of the British films I see don’t represent the people on the streets, on the tube or in our shops. Our film was a complete labour of love. None of us got involved with the project because there was a major Hollywood A-lister attached or because we’d make heaps of money. We wanted to be part of telling a tale about family, honour and the quest for love in modern London. I think the threads of the story are portrayed accurately and I hope the response to the film will mirror that.
What for you are the biggest issues facing actors within the movie industry?
GOLDY: Everything’s a commodity. People are so reluctant to try something different, to take risks. As an Asian actress, we seldom have leading roles. We often blame the writers and casting directors, who blame the directors, who blame the producers, who blame the financiers – who inevitably want a return on their investment. So everyone sticks with the safe choices. And we’re back to the writers who generally tell stories that will be received by the Caucasian diaspora. Where does that leave the rest? So the fact that Amar Akbar and Tony has been given a birth is down to a tough gestation period, a long labour, tenacity and sleepless nights for all those who believed it should be included in the grand library of work.
Do you feel like films still largely lack diversity of race and gender?
GOLDY: I spend a lot of time staring at film posters posters on the tube, posters on the sides of busses, magazine articles, etc. There is little diversity in marketing of films. Women; if included, are always sexualised and everything is generally driven by the Caucasian male. Hence informing us of what to expect in the product itself. There are soooo many roles in films that whilst watching I think “why couldn’t that person have been a woman? Or why couldn’t that character have been Asian”? It takes a special person to think differently; to have a varied perspective. And yet when you look around in London, it’s not much of a strain to see diversity.
Do you feel as if your gender or race should hold you back from a role and do you feel like this is the current situation in the film industry?
GOLDY: I can understand if the character in the role is written as part of a family. Some characters are gender and race specific for a reason, which I respect, but otherwise it shouldn’t be a factor.
Speaking of diversity Cate Blanchett one portrayed Bob Dylan and Eddie Redmayne is now taking on the role of Einar Wegener/Lili Elbein the Danish girl portraying a fictionalized account of someone undergoing gender reassignment surgery. Do you feel like it is these roles that is breaking down boundaries and working towards a more real representation of the diverse population?
GOLDY: I love experimental styles of art because it requires a grand leap from the actor and involves risks from the rest who are involved. Why not? Why should we only play characters who are similar to ourselves? We’re actors! Having said that, until we equalise the playing field, I’m less enthused by males taking on parts written for women, or Caucasians playing Othello. Let us keep what little we have.
Do you feel like you could ever portray a man?
GOLDY: Actually I played a man in a play in Drama School. I’m generally of the feminine ilk so I wouldn’t mind re-visiting such a challenge.
What exactly about this film makes it so different?
GOLDY: We all cross those taboo demarcation lines. It’s a daring script with some surprising twists. Plus you’ll get to see Meera Syal playing a feline-esque Asian “Mrs Robinson” and Nina Wadia in latex!
You’ve starred in It’s a Wonderful Afterlife, and The Town opposite Martin Clunes, where she played the Deputy Mayor of a town dealing with a double murder. You’ve also appeared in Silent Witnessand Holby City but is filming for a movie different from TV and in what ways?
GOLDY: The pace with telly is quicker. With film there can be a lot of “hurry up and wait”. I tend to spend more time tweeting in my trailer with film. Depending on the film budget, there can be a lot of takes.When I filmed Sex and the City 2, I had to say the same line for what seemed like 100 takes and at one point my mouth just went numb, as if I’d been injected with a localised anaesthetic and I…just…couldn’t…get…the line out.
You’re also starring in Red River, which is all about child brides but can you tell anymore about the film?
GOLDY: The story takes place in the UK within a familial context.
What role are you portraying?
GOLDY: I play a former child bride named Madhuri who is grooming her daughter to marry a man much older than her. The story doesn’t demonise the mother but also doesn’t condone something that is alarming prevalent in the UK.
Do you feel like this is an important issue for the film industry to explore and expose its reality?
GOLDY: Well the Forced Marriage Unit recently reported 1,300 cases in the UK with 1 in 8 below the age of consent. We tend to think of such things as “other country issues” and I was quite flabbergasted to see it highlighted on home soil. So I felt it was an important story to tell.
We’re almost finished now I promise, you’re starring in two quite diverse films considering the current state of the film industry is representing diversity important to you when deciding on what roles to audition for?
GOLDY: I rarely decline parts as I see possibilities in everything. And I simply love waking up knowing I’m helping to create something. But if I’m in the fortunate position of choosing, I generally opt for the greatest challenge, the most daring of roles, and I’ll always take the scenic route. And that usually includes a wealth of diversity!
Finally, do you have any hidden talents that come in handy with acting or any odd skills?
GOLDY: Ohhh I really wish I did. I wish I could sing, play an instrument, do magic tricks and tell jokes! They have swing dance classes in my area and keep walking past thinking “this year. I’m definitely going to swing this year”. So watch this Goldy hop!
Amar, Akbar and Tony released nationally on the 17th April.