Being a child star is no easy feat, especially when you’re acting alongside one of the biggest names in the industry at the moment, Florence Pugh.
But for 13-year-old Kíla Lord Cassidy acting is a family affair. Both of her parents, Elaine Cassidy and Stephen Lord, are actors, and she tells us that she grew up with acting in her bones.
And most excitingly for her breakout role in The Wonder, she got to act alongside her mother, Elaine as the pair play mother and daughter on-screen in the tense thriller which sees Kíla’s character become a phenomenon in their rural village as it’s claimed she hasn’t eaten in four months.
VIP Magazine caught up with the mother-daughter duo ahead of the film hitting Netflix.
Hi Kíla, we adore your fashion! Are you enjoying getting to dress up and do red carpet events?
Kíla: Before COVID, I was a real tomboy but the minute COVID hit I thought it might be fun to dress up but at that point, I couldn’t. So to be able to have these moments now is really fun!
Are your friends jealous that you get to do stuff like this?
Kíla: Most of my friends don’t even know that I’m here because I don’t like to brag about my career. I like to fly under the radar. But it’s so much fun because my family know about it and feels more personal when I get to share it with them and my closest friends.
Well, we think you’re allowed to brag! You’re in a Netflix film!
Kíla: Most people don’t like it. So I don’t think anyone would be friends with me.
Your character, Anna, is a really intense role how do you prep for something this tense?
Kíla: I read the script, I read the book, I started learning the prayers, I would do the rosary like she does every day. I started watching documentaries on the famine. Even walking to school with my mum, once we both got the roles, we would be able to talk about it. All that was so helpful to create Anna. But in the moment, I don’t think I was thinking about anything. I was just thinking about the performance I would do. And the moment they would say action there was no overthinking, no should I do this or should I do that. It all came together.
Elaine, you play Kíla’s character’s mother in this. What was it like working with your own daughter?
Elaine: We like being together as a family and we were able to experience the film together, bar the last few weeks when my husband and son had to go back to the UK. We now get to experience all of this together! It’s great! I would do this all the time if I could.
Kíla, it must be difficult to shake off the intensity of a role like this…
Kíla: It just felt normal. Both my parents are actors, I go on set all the time and seeing them do their thing, it just felt natural to me. It’s like a habit! It was muscle memory.
You’ve just turned 13, was acting always your dream job?
Kíla: When I was younger I had a list of three things and I don’t think it’s ever changed. Actress, surgeon or vet. It’s always been those three things! But acting is in my blood and in my bones, I had to do it because I love stories, any type of story.
Elaine, did you expect Kíla to go into acting?
Elaine: You just see what your children are good at and you support them in those areas whatever it is. It was evident at a young age that was where her interest is and it’s in her blood. We thought we’d get to 15 or 16 or 17! We were holding onto the reins but the reins snapped at age nine when she did her first job and then she did another one the following year. Oh and this little one! It happened a bit quicker than we thought. But you don’t know what the future is going to hold but it’s still something she’s really passionate about. And she’s not bad at it!
What was it like when Kíla got cast?
Elaine: When she got cast it was like winning the Lotto. It was really exciting. We knew that a film at this level, even before Florence [Pugh] was cast, was really special. It’s an incredible role. It’s a great experience. And then to be thrown into the mix, it doesn’t get better than that! It’s so good, I couldn’t even dream it up! It was a really special experience and we’re still on the journey with it.
You’re obviously proud of all the movies that you’re in, but is this one especially special for you as you get to do it with Kíla?
Elaine: It’s great but it strangely just feels really normal. Every experience she’s had in this industry has always felt right and normal. It makes us realise that this is the right thing to be doing. I see her on the red carpet and then I’ll see her in the kitchen tomorrow. Red carpet to the kitchen, that’s the norm now!
The Wonder arrives on Netflix on November 16th