Sophie Kennedy Clark stars in the drama Philomena as the younger version of the eponymous character played by Judi Dench in her older years. The young actress lists her experience with the project as something she’ll never forget – from meeting the woman she was portraying to acting alongside Dame Judi Dench.

Sophie Kennedy Clark Meets Real Philomena

Philomena tells the story of a political journalist who goes in search of her long-lost son, who’d been taken from her in his youth while she was sent to live in a convent. At 23, Clark doesn’t have the life experience to relate to the protagonist she was playing, but found the raw emotion within herself to deliver the more than believable performance.

“Firstly, I’m not a mother and I’ve never lost a child and to put yourself in that kind of headspace, you can really only use things from your own life that are kind of similar or you imagine a certain kind of loss,” Clark told Uinterview exclusively. “To be able to put yourself into that kind of… that kind of emotion is animalistic. It is without any self-awareness that you throw yourself into it.”

Clark also had help getting into the character by the real-life Philomena who’s story inspired the film. “She was the only person that could really tell me what the treatment in the convent was like and how she felt,” Clark said. “Also, she made me very aware of the fact that she had no idea about sex, about getting pregnant.… You believed what you were told. It’s that very naive, very raw state that my generation can’t…it’s mind-boggling.”

Sophie Kennedy Clark On Judi Dench

Being on set with Dench put Clark, a model-turned actress, into a state of awe. “Meeting her for the first time, you’re so familiar with her face, and yet there’s something about her in real life that is completely luminous and entrancing and yet she’s so wonderful and kind and very, very witty,” she said. “To be able to be in the same film, playing a younger version of her, it’s something I will remember for the rest of my life and hold incredibly dear to me just because she is who she is.

“There’s no hierarchy, there’s no ‘Dame,’ there’s none of that,” added Clark, talking about the veteran actress on set. “She just mucks in with everyone else, has a laugh, has a chat, knows everyone’s names, is a complete professional and a wonderful person and I think if you can go on, and be as successful as she is, and keep that, that is something.”

Read Sophie Kennedy Clark’s Full Interview Here

Philomena has been in limited release since Nov. 22, 2013. Clark will next appear in Lars von Trier‘s Nymphomaniac with Charlotte Gainsbourg and Shia LaBeouf.

– Chelsea Regan

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