Samantha Coughlan on her supporting roles in ‘Arcadian’ with Nicolas Cage and ‘Damaged’ with Samuel L. Jackson

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Canadian-born, London-based actress Samantha Coughlan says it’s a “thrill” to be appearing alongside Hollywood legends in two new films. Her background is in theatre, but she loved working on the dark, dystopian film ‘Arcadian’ and detective thriller ‘Damaged’, both out on 12 April in the US. Here she talks about filming in Ireland with Nicolas Cage, playing Samuel L. Jackson’s girlfriend, and how high-profile actors can still make everyone laugh…

What was it like appearing opposite Samuel L. Jackson in ‘Damaged’? 

“I play Sarah, the girlfriend of Samuel L. Jackson’s character, in ‘Damaged’ which comes out on 12 April.”

“It was so much fun to travel up to Edinburgh, one of my favourite cities. Vincent Cassel and Sam Jackson running about on the historical streets of Scotland – how cool is that?”

“And working with Mr Jackson (two Sams!) was amazing. He was so nice, warm and funny and made everyone chuckle.”

“I realised how hard someone of that stature works, the dedication they have to their craft, and what career endurance means. Just watching how he operated with the director and crew was inspiring.” 

Photo credit: Kristine Cofsky

And tell us about your role in the new film ‘Arcadian’?

“In ‘Arcadian’, I play Mrs Rose, the mother of Sadie Soverral’s Charlotte. We own the farm opposite Paul’s (Nick Cage) farmhouse, where he lives with his sons. Charlotte is falling in love with Paul’s son Thomas, and in a dystopian world of destruction and wild monsters this proves a scary threat for our family.”

“The Roses represent wealth and privilege, but it is the end of society as we know it. They have a lot, but are afraid to share for fear they will be left with not enough. Mrs Rose is a woman of ‘good stock’ who deeply loves her daughter, but fears losing all she knows. What’s scary is that it feels totally possible that we will all one day also be surviving as they are – making mad dashes from cities to farmhouses in the Irish countryside to live off the land. Perhaps we are already on our way there.” 

How did it feel working alongside Nicolas Cage?

“Well, I’d love to say I worked directly with Nick Cage, but in the scene I have with him he is injured and lying in a truck, so it was a body double! In the film’s lonely, dystopian world, humans keep their distance from each other. There are only nine characters in the film.”

“But of course it’s an absolute thrill to work on anything Mr Cage is involved with – he’s a true Hollywood legend in every sense.”

“It was also magical to film in the Irish countryside with an Irish crew, as well as working with the genius director Ben Brewer, who did the visual effects on ‘Everything Everywhere All At Once’. You gotta see what he creates with these monsters!” 

Photo credit: J Benson

What have been your favourite projects to date?

“One of my favourite projects was my West End debut in ‘Death Of A Salesman’, when I’d just finished theatre school and moved to London from New York. I played Miss Forsythe and appeared opposite the late, legendary Brian Dennehy. Such a special production and my heart will always belong to the theatre. I’ve also worked alongside the Belgian theatrical auteur Ivo van Hove on another Arthur Miller play, ‘A View From the Bridge’, starring Mark Strong. I understudied both Keira Knightley and Elisabeth Moss at the same time when we worked on the play ‘The Children’s Hour’. I recently worked opposite Hilary Swank on ‘Alaska Daily’, filmed in my hometown of Vancouver, and with Miles Teller on Apple’s upcoming ‘The Gorge’. I remember serving Hilary at a restaurant when I was a theatre student and she had just won her Oscar. And then here we were playing old friends from New York. Full circle moments!” 

Featured photo credit: Stephanie Taylor