Multi-hyphenated rising star Sofia Barclay starred in the recently released rom-com ‘Love Again’ opposite a starry cast including Priyanka Chopra-Jonas, Sam Heughan and legendary Celine Dion. Sofia is also a writer, she writes and performs her own original sketches and stand-up. She also recently starred in the animated superhero film ‘Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse’ and in AppleTV+’s series ‘Ted Lasso’.
Sofia, we’ve been able to watch you the rom-com ‘Love Again’, which was released this May. How did you get cast on this feature?
It was a really easy process. My agent submitted a tape of me doing the scenes and then I had a Zoom call with the director.
In the film, you star opposite Priyanka Chopra-Jonas as her sister. How was it working with Priyanka? What made your bond so special during filming?
Priyanka is the dream cast mate and on-screen older sister. She’s so wise and generous with her time, energy and knowledge. She is always working to make the scene better and she makes it all feel fun and easy, which was the best part.
The film also stars Celine Dion. You haven’t filmed any scenes with her, but how did it feel to be a part of the same cast with someone so legendary?
I’m still pinching myself about it to be honest.
Recently, we’ve also seen you in the animated superhero film ‘Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse’ and in AppleTV+’s series ‘Ted Lasso’. How was it portraying a character in an animated film?
Brilliant because I spent an hour in a booth making jokes and reading lines with the writer of the movie, Phil Lord, who is a comedy genius. But what’s even more amazing is how the character of Malala Windsor has sunk into so many people’s hearts across the world. That’s the joy of social media really. People are delighted and feeling so seen by having the first hijabi character in the marvel universe and it’s a wonderful thing to be a small part of that.
What was the most memorable thing from the set of ‘Ted Lasso’, a comedy series starring Jason Sudeikis?
Just how smart and funny every single person working on that set is. Everyone off-camera and on-camera is working to squeeze every inch of comedy possible from every scene and they’re all crazy bright intellects, so it’s all happening at 100 mph. It’s like a masterclass just being on that set and I lapped it up.
How did your acting career actually begin? Tell us more about how it all started.
I went to drama school instead of going to university. Then got my start in British theatre. It’s a weird, wonderful world and I tried everything. I did touring productions all over the UK, fringe theatre in London, experimental Shakespeare in pub-theatres, took shows to the Edinburgh fringe several years in a row, did site-specific work in non-traditional venues, performed children’s plays at the Soho Theatre. You name it, I’ve tried it.
What kind of projects or roles excite and challenge you the most?
A good question. There’s no rule really, I get really excited when I read the script and there’s an instant physical response to the writing. You can’t put it down, you recognise different parts of yourself in the character. To be more literal, I’d love to do more roles where I get to sing or dance, just because that’s stuff I’ve done on stage before, but never on screen. So that’d be a fun challenge.
You are also a writer. You write and perform your own original sketches and stand-up. How does performing your own stuff differ from acting in a TV or film project?
It’s a much more consistent way of being in touch with creativity. Acting can feel like you’re waiting for someone to hire you a lot of the time. With writing all I have to do is get a quiet space and a pen and paper and suddenly I’m in my zone again and I’m so grateful for that peace in my life.
Where do you draw inspiration from for your writing?
It’s a combination of the heartaches I’ve gone through and the funny things I see every day in life. I keep a list on my phone of every quirky situation or sketch that comes to me in the day and I try and figure out a way I can use them either in a script or in a stand up routine.
When you’re not working, what are some of the things you’re also passionate about?
My agent always jokes that when I’m not working, I’m off travelling. End of last year I went to a yoga hostel in Thailand and to a free-diving school to learn how to free-dive like Jean Reno in ‘Le Grand Bleu’.
We are living in a very digitally driven society. What role does social media have in both your career and personal life?
On a really personal level, social media has been a way for me to find my communities and receive support and expand my vision of what is possible for myself as a creator. There are obvious ways social media can be negative for mental health, but if it’s well managed, I think for any artists and creatives it’s such a gift. Especially during Covid, it helped me feel connected at a time when I was more likely to feel alone.
Talent: Sofia Barclay
Photographer: Alan Gelati
Stylist: Ben James Adams
Make-up: Maria Asadi
Hair: Sandra Hahnel
Photography assistant: Stephen Young
Styling assistant: Linda Houtsonen
Editor: Timi Letonja
This interview was done for Numéro Netherlands by Jana Letonja.