Irish actor Lola Petticrew talks acting, queer representation and their dream role

Lola Petticrew is no stranger to the screen. With a breakout performance as iconic as Dating Amber, they have quickly made a name for themselves as one of Ireland’s up and coming actors.

Lola Petticrew wearing feathers and a beak for their costume in their new movie Wolf.

We sat down with Lola Petticrew to talk about their newest film Wolf where they star alongside George MacKay, Lily-Rose Depp and Fionn O’Shea which tackles treatment for species dysmorphia. Expect all things Wolf related along with some general chit chat about favourite movies, dream roles and more…

Before we get into this interview, I just wanted to say that Lola was an absolute dream to chat with. It was very hard picking the highlights for this piece as there were so many! I hope you enjoy reading this conversation as much as I enjoyed having it! 

Hi Lola Petticrew! I’m so excited to meet you! Firstly, congratulations on the film. What attracted you to the film in the first place?

First of all, it wasn’t like anything I had ever read before and then also the issues that it dealt with I felt like anything else that I had seen that had sort of dealt with this topic was done clumsily or sorta seemed like it was it was outsiders poking fun and I didn’t really like that. I thought Nathalie (director) was going to handle it very delicately and bring a lot of beauty to it so through time talking to her and the producers it was clear who were the heroes and who were the villains so I was very excited to be able to do that because that’s obviously something very close to my heart

Absolutely. How did you prepare to do the role?

Yeah weird one, I never thought I’d be playing a parrot. It was really nice. We did a lot of research independently and then we had two weeks of rehearsals. We worked with this incredible movement coach called Terry Notary who did movies such as Planet of the Apes etc. After that, we did lots of improvisations. I think the first day we did a four and a half-hour improvisation as our animals… which is WILD pardon the pun and…  Don’t pardon the pun that was great.

That was iconic… we’re keeping that in guys

but yeah, and that sort of really allowed us to get into character to sort of find the pecking order again, pardon the pun but that was great I didn’t even mean to do that.

You’re on a roll today Lola Petticrew! What did you learn from taking on this role?

Well, first of all, George McKay is incredible at being a wolf. His movement from the start was absolutely incredible. It was also just a really lovely ensemble piece. It was so collaborative right down to the crew. I learned so much and it was really lovely to sort of see a side to this community that isn’t often portrayed in the media and it was very nice to be a part of telling the story in a more delicate and truthful way.

I’m curious to know about your beginnings in acting. What made you want to be an actor?

My family are storytellers like it was such a massive thing growing up, and I think at some point that probably rubbed off. I was always in school plays and stuff. But I think like, when you feel like a little weird kid, a lot of all the other little weird kids find themselves in drama, as much as that’s a cliché. I didn’t think it was something that people like me did like where I was from. But then my friend Anthony went to drama school and that made it feel more tangible. The following year, I applied and got in and then that was really it. I just didn’t look back.

What are the differences between acting on stage and acting on screen for you and is there one that you prefer more than the other?

I think they’re just so entirely different that comparing them is really difficult. I love the relationship that you get to have with the audience onstage and I love that it changes every night. It’s a very fizzing relationship that is constantly alive. And the screen, I’ve just always adored. I’ve always loved film. I just love that medium of storytelling.  So yeah, film… My heart is really there at the moment, but I’d absolutely love to go back to the stage.

And what’s your favourite film?

I feel like there’s something about sequels. Paddington Two is the superior Paddington. Toy Story two is the superior Toy Story. You know what I mean? So there’s something about animated sequels that just gets me.

Lola Petticrew has taste! What is your dream role?

We have a running joke, maybe it’s a manifestation? I don’t know, amongst my friends, especially since my hair sort of all came off to play Sinéad O’Connor. This is my campaign to make that happen. If anybody’s listening and they want to, and they want to write that part, and I’m here.

And since I’m with Ireland’s National LGBTQ+ press, do you think it’s important to have queer representation?

Absolutely, a million and ten per cent. Everyone deserves representation across the board. And I know for me, I needed that representation as a kid I, you know, I think sometimes queer kids project onto other characters, like we all know, growing up we projected on things because we didn’t see ourselves. So I think massively. And I think for me, again, one of the greatest privileges I have in doing the job that I have is being able to be that and that means more to me than any one job. 

Are there any queer roles that you saw on TV when you were growing up or even now that you love? 

When I was a teenager, I remember watching Skins and Emily and Naomi enter a romantic relationship and I was obsessed with that. You latch on to these things because you’re so starved. Looking back on it, it was quite a toxic relationship. And so I think it would have been nice to see some healthy queer relationships. So more of that, please.

Being a member of the queer community yourself, do you feel a certain pressure to play queer roles now that you’ve done Dating Amber?

I don’t feel pressured. I think what’s funny is I always get a question and it’s like “now that you play queer roles, is that all you want to do?” and I’m like nobody sits down with a straight person or a cis person and is like “is this all you want to do?” So I think it’s very funny. Of course, I would love to play more queer characters. I would love to see more of them and I would love to see more complex queer characters but more than that, I would love for us to be afforded the same things that are cis and straight counterparts are, which is to do our job without it sort of always being angled in that way. 

Dating Amber is an amazing film by the way and I think it’s going to live on to be an iconic queer movie too.

Yeah, when we shot it we thought a streamer might be the perfect platform for it because obviously, like in terms of reach, that’s massive. Maybe there are kids who can’t go to the cinema to see it or who maybe need to watch it in private for whatever reason. When Amazon took it on, it sort of just felt like it had all fallen into place. We always knew that we loved it but seeing the reaction from people online and you know, you can’t ever underestimate what it means to get messages from people who see themselves in those characters and, and who loved the film. It’s just everything that we wanted to do with that film and I really hope that we did do it.

You absolutely did do it. I love queer representation and especially when it’s done right. Thank you so much, Lola Petticrew.

Wolf releases in Irish cinemas on Friday 18 March. For more information about where you can watch it, be sure to check out the link here.

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