A new movie – To the End of the Road – featuring some top Zimbabwean names premiered at Showcase Cinemas in Coventry on Saturday night. The movie is a gripping story of an immigrant family's struggles in the UK.
The Zimbabwean cast includes young actress Lorraine Fox, former cricketer Henry Olonga and singers Kazz, Decibel and Robbie G.
We spoke to Fox, who plays Yolandra, about her role in the movie and career.
Name: Lorraine Fox
Current City: Birmingham
Marital Status: Single
How did you get into acting?
I remember my dad sitting me down for a chat and telling me: “I know you are a jack of all trades but please choose one thing and focus on that.” That was after I had told him I was writing a movie script and he couldn’t believe it.
I always loved performing arts from a young age. At school, I was the girl in the dance group, music group and drama group. I love being creative and seeing the results of my labour, but I didn’t fully commit to it as a career until my father told me to focus.
Which behaviour or stunt in a film has totally been opposite to who you really are?
I am very active in To the End of the Road as I play an action heroine. I had to learn to use guns and martial arts. As exciting as that was, I am quite the opposite. I hate the gym or any form of exercise whatsoever, I would rather have a cheeseburger for breakfast.
The director Tawanda Chimuzinga would call and say: ‘I got you someone to take you for a run and exercise.’ The first day of exercise I failed to run for more than a minute. In the end I had lots of exercises and I had a few Wushu lessons (traditional martial arts) from Bao Tieu our choreographer. It was difficult to learn but it helped me understand the stunts and moves I was required to perform.
How many movies have you acted in?
To the End of the Road is my fourth; I’m working on the fifth now, it’s called Zambezi - an African adventure about the search for the Munhumutapa treasure. I play a Zimbabwean Interpol detective based in London and I’m also an executive producer.
Are you happy with your career so far?
I have been so blessed to come on the scene and start with leading roles. The characters I played in To the End of the Road and Zambezi were very demanding and I’m so grateful that God has given me these wonderful opportunities.
Have you considered theatre roles?
I love both film and theatre. I love theatre because you can be as expressive on stage as you like. The process of telling the story is different in theatre as acting skills and styles vary but a good actor will quickly adapt. The downside to theatre is you could spend several weeks rehearsing and only perform once or a few times.
With film, I love the fact that you can be so creative and the possibilities are endless. It takes time to make a production but you always get that chance to make it as near to perfect as you intended as an actor or producer.
What did you learn about yourself as a Zimbabwean who has lived in the United Kingdom?
When I look at the work I have done so far, it’s influenced by where I come from, the rich culture of our country and the perceptions of the outside world about our country. I would say living in Zimbabwe and the United Kingdom has enhanced my talent and creativity. I am able to write a story or portray characters which Africans and Europeans can both relate to because of my life experiences in both continents.
In which areas would you like to improve as an actress?
It takes me forever to cry on set. I am terrible! It’s funny because if I was sat at home and someone said start crying, my tears would come just like that!
Do you ever feel that you could have done a bit better in any specific role?
I always feel that I could have done better. I am never satisfied. I would do a 100 takes and it still wouldn’t be good enough but thank God the decision is always made by the director!
What are your strong traits as an actor?
I’m ambitious and I refuse to feel or even entertain the thought of not being good enough for any role. I’m a go getter – always passionate about what I do.
What invaluable lessons have you gained from the various directors you have worked with?
I feel they have prepared me for any role, big budget movies, I feel ready for it all. The director for To the End of the Road taught me that if I ever want to be taken seriously on any production, I have to be professional and never say 'I can’t'. He said to me keep practising until you get it right.
When I worked on Zambezi with Marc T Mandisoul, he would say ‘Miss Fox, always do your research on the character you are playing and even when your home stay in character, it will help you understand the person you’re portraying and you will become a better actor’.
What are your academic achievements?
I’m currently in my last year of a Business Enterprise BA (Hons) degree course.
From where did you learn acting?
I never had any professional lessons but some of the skills I learnt were from research and watching lot of different movies. As an actor, you’re always learning and I feel I’ve gained the necessary skills required to carry out any task. Being an actor is not like a normal Monday to Friday job, it’s almost like working for an agency, and you are constantly on the move and always looking for the next opportunity.
I do feel that my life is changing significantly and it almost feels like it’s in my hands now where I go next and it’s almost scary. I have a motto that ‘failure is not an option’ and I totally believe that the sky is the only limit.
Are you getting noticed on the streets from your movie roles?
It’s always embarrassing when someone says hello to me and I’m scratching my head trying to figure out if I know them. The good thing is I’m not yet too popular and I hope to maintain it that way.
Would you swap acting for anything?
I take my career seriously, it’s fun and its hard work but I live for this and I was born to do this.