Vee Vimolmal is a Cornwall-based actress, who stars in the cult sci-fi classic Tangent Room. Ahead of the special screening at Calstock Arts, with a Q&A with the director, we caught up with Vee to talk science, rooms, Hollywood, and Cornwall…
D&CFilm: Could you tell us about the Tangent Room, your character, and how you prepared? The film sounds pretty intense – how’s your maths, and did you have to understand maths to play your role?
Vee Vimolmal: Tangent Room has been described as a bit like a science fiction ’12 Angry Men’. Basically it’s four scientist, locked in a room, racing against time to save the world from a cosmic collapse with only a series of numbers to help them. I play one of the scientists, Kate Wattana, who is an astrophysician, she’s fierce and doesn’t suffers fools gladly.
In terms of preparation, in all honesty, we had no clue what we were talking about so I just showed up and hoped for the best… ! joke! … but not really (lol).
The science in the script are based on real theories, and maths and science were never my strong points in school. So I basically just trusted Björn Engström, the director, that he’d made sure I looked like someone who knew what they were talking about! The great thing about the film, and I believe quite intentional, is that although it is full of science talk, you don’t actually have to understand the science to understand or be able to follow the film.
D&CFilm: Where was Tangent Room filmed and how long did it take?
Vee Vimolmal: The bulk of the film was filmed in one week, in one location; a really cool little venue called Melody Box in Stockholm, sort of like a youth arts centre, music/performance venue. We had the place to ourselves that week so filmed in one of the music rehearsal studios in the basement while above became our ‘green room’ and also makeup, wardrobe and catering. Afterwards there were a few days pick up on location around Stockholm as the script developed.
D&CFilm: All the events take place it one room. What are the benefits and drawback of this?
Vee Vimolmal: Huge benefits in terms of finances and time; not having to move equipment or cast to various locations. That’s why we were able to film it all in a week. It was such a small cast and hardly any crew to speak of and we all got on really well, which was lucky as I can imagine it being very challenging to be in such a confined space had we not. So from my part it was lovely and no drawbacks really, but I think it was slightly tricky from the production side of things, because there was this huge TV screen on one wall so it was tricky to work out angles where the equipment and crew wouldn’t be reflected in it. The limited space also meant limited space for big lights. But equally I think it was also positive because there was hardly any furniture, props and equipment so relatively easy and quick to swap angles without having to move too much kit around.
D&CFilm: Tangent sounds like its really getting a great reputation. How difficult is it to get a small budget film out there and create that buzz?
Vee Vimolmal: Festivals really are they key for independent films. Especially if the film also picks up some nominations or awards. Those little palm branches do make people take more notice. Of course you always hope your film will do well, but I think Tangent Room’s success at festivals have surpassed all of our expectations. Björn attended many the festivals, which of course also helps the film, having the director there to introduce it and talk about it.
Tangent Room got picked up by Epic Pictures Group to handle its worldwide sales (except for Sweden which Björn is handling himself) and it was released on VoD in the States on the 5 March. It’s also been screened in several independent cinemas in Sweden and will soon be released on VoD over there. Hopefully the wider UK and Europe next, after Calstock :)
D&CFilm: How does this fit with your other roles?
Vee Vimolmal: I’ve been type cast a lot in the past so this has actually been the first role where my ethnicity hasn’t mattered, and where I haven’t had to do any kind of East Asian accent, which is quite refreshing. I grew up in Sweden and spoke Swedish with my Thai parents, so my first language is really Swedish. When I was first required to do a Thai accent for a part, I actually had to learn it! Things are changing for East Asian actors but it is a slow change, especially here in the UK, compared to the States.
D&CFilm: Can you tell us about any roles you’re working on now?
Vee Vimolmal: I did a few days on a new Swedish crime drama before Easter. But it’s all a bit hush still so can’t say much at this point … other than that I’m working on my own writing projects as I’m quite keen to do more writing and directing.
D&CFilm: What’s it like being an international actor based in Cornwall and how does it compare to Hollywood?
Vee Vimolmal: I lived in Hollywood as a teenager. Just behind Manns Chinese Theatre, at the bottom of Hollywood Hills, so not quite where the A-listers were. Hollywood back then, the early to mid 90s, as I remembered it was quite rough. Very trashy and touristy and the only time you saw someone famous there was if they had their handprints done outside of Manns or a star laid down on the Walk of Fame. It’s probably changed a lot since then.
LA is great though, I love it in a nostalgic way, it’s like a very surreal bubble. But all the American films I’ve been in have been filmed either in the UK or Europe, I only did bits of fringe theatre while there so I haven’t experiences Hollywood from the showbiz angle, which you always hear is a bit of a ruthless machine. But I did feel that people were willing to go that bit further to get a part, whereas the UK is thankfully a bit more conservative. Although not completely free of casting couches but that’s another story.
Cornwall is on a different plane altogether, lol. I’ve always lived in cities, Stockholm, LA, London, so to be in a village like Calstock is quite a change. And a beautiful one. A bit far from where a lot of job opportunities are, but the perfect place to raise a family. We moved here after our first daughter was born. It’s so beautiful and cinematic in Cornwall that I’m surprised that there aren’t more films or TV shows being filmed out here. So for the moment it’s having to hop on the train to London (or occasionally plane to Europe!) for auditions or work. Luckily self-tapes are being used more and more for castings so it does save some travel time and money.
Tangent Room screening plus Q&A is at Calstock Arts on the 8 June. Book your tickets!