Royal Conservatoire of Scotland actors shine alongside star of stage and screen, Glenn Close
Drama students from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland are appearing alongside Jonathan Pryce and six time Academy Award-nominated actress Glenn Close in acclaimed new film The Wife, which was recently released in UK cinemas.
Six students and alumni feature in The Wife alongside the Fatal Attraction star thanks to the quick thinking of Royal Conservatoire Lecturer in Voice, Hilary Jones, who had been working as a dialect coach on set with members of the cast including Harry Lloyd and Max Irons. Knowing the Royal Conservatoire’s reputation as a specialist institution across the performing and production arts, executive producer Mark Cooper approached Hilary looking for anyone who would be able to sing in Swedish.
Hilary quickly turned to students from Scotland’s national conservatoire and said: “A lot of the time, supporting artists are simply required to stand holding a drink in the background looking interested but this was really specialised.
“When Björn decided he wanted to reinstate this particular scene, I immediately suggested students from the Royal Conservatoire. They were fantastic, I was so proud of them.”
Students Amalia Sundbo (BA Acting 3), Amanda Helms (BA Musical Theatre 3) and Michelle Jamieson (BA Musical Theatre 3) and alumni Emma Mullen (BA Musical Theatre 2017), Stine Hemmingsen (BA Acting 2018) and Nicholas Ralph (BA Acting 2017) were chosen to take part from the Royal Conservatoire, which is consistently ranked in the world’s top ten institutions for performing arts education (QS Rankings).
Based on the novel of the same name by Meg Wolitzer, The Wife stars acclaimed actor Close alongside on-screen husband, Jonathan Pryce. Joan Castleman is seen as the perfect alpha wife, sacrificing her own ambitions to focus on helping her husband reach the pinnacle of his literary career.
The plot sees the pair fly to Sweden, where Joe Castleman, played by Jonathan, is to receive a Nobel Prize for Literature. While in their hotel room, they are wakened by the RCS students singing Sankta Lucia, a traditional song in Sweden and other Scandinavian countries which commemorates the life of Saint Lucy and marks the beginning of the Christmas season.
The RCS students faced several hurdles including learning to sing the song in Swedish in a very short time frame. Hilary, herself a skilled musician, was given clips of the music, which she transcribed and harmonised. The students rehearsed around their own busy schedules at the Royal Conservatoire and came together just seven days later to shoot the scene.
Hilary said: “Time was of the essence and the harmonies were quite complex so it was a challenging piece but they all responded brilliantly.”
Hilary continued: “Glenn Close was lovely with them. She and Jonathan Pryce are not only major actors, they are also musical theatre stars. After that film, Glenn was returning to the USA to reprise her role in Sunset Boulevard so to receive positive comments from her was high praise indeed.”
Professor Jeffrey Sharkey, Principal of the Royal Conservatoire, said: “Congratulations to our acting and musical theatre students for their fantastic work during filming of The Wife amid such a star-studded cast.
“Royal Conservatoire staff like Hilary enjoy active professional careers, meaning our students learn from leading exponents of the performing and production arts. This equips them with the tools to shine in the creative industries and they continue to demonstrate their versatility on film sets, theatre stages, concert platforms and in classrooms all over the world.”
The Wife premiered in Hollywood to critical acclaim and enjoyed its UK premiere in August. Speculation is rife that the film will be the catalyst for Close to win her first Oscar, having been nominated on six previous occasions.
More information on studying Acting at RCS is available at the Royal Conservatoire website.