Napier graduate turned film star looks forward to release of Edinburgh-set movie Our Ladies
Friendship is important to Marli Siu, a star of Our Ladies, Michael Caton-Jones’ acclaimed new coming of age movie, which goes on general release today, August 27.
Let us know what you think and join the conversation at the bottom of this article
Siu, who graduated from Napier University with a First-Class BA Hons in Acting and English Literature, plays Kylah, one of the six friends at the heart of the film based on Alan Warner's award-winning novel, The Sopranos. It's a film she was desperate to be part of from the moment she heard it was being made.
She says, "I'd read the book and think Alan Warner is incredible, the book is amazing. The characters are so believable. He captures the friendships of young girls growing up in working class Scotland so well."
Our Ladies follows a group of schoolgirls from a small town in the Highlands as they embark on a day trip to Edinburgh to perform in a choir competition. It's a chance for the teens to escape their daily lives and run riot in the big city and enjoy their friendship, something that is also important to Siu, who hails from Forres but came to Edinburgh to study.
"I met my best mates at Napier,” she says. “Going there was such a good experience. I was in the first year of the Acting/English course and it was super good and encouraged you to be an all round creative. Acting can be a hard business, there’s not always work, so they encouraged you to diversify; people from my course have gone on to act, write and direct."
For Siu it was the acting bug that bit instantly, landing a role in Our Ladies took a bit longer, she recalls.
"I knew a lot about the piece when I got the chance to audition. It was really exciting, to have the opportunity to be in a film about and with other girls, but it was a long process. I did my audition tape in March 2018 while doing night shoots for another film, so I recorded it early one morning in my B&B; I had to sing really quietly, because my character sings in the film.”
Seven months later she was told she had the part, director Caton-Jones also commenting, "What a voice she has.” The actor laughs modestly, when told.
"I wouldn't say I'm a singer but I loved singing as Kylah. She is in a band and although I find singing quite scary, when you approach it as a character it's loads of fun. She has buckets of attitude so it became more about being a front-woman rather than singing perfectly."
And as she looks forward to the film’s release, Siu adds, "It would be important at any time to have a film like this, one that doesn't just have women in it but as the central characters, telling their stories. Half the population of the are women and you want to see yourself up there. That it's about six girls is also important as is telling different stories to the ones we are used to seeing.
“I hope it's a film people will welcome, it's not heavy, it's not dark, it's a fun film with no phones, no social media, it's just about being with your pals and having a good time. Something we can all relate too."