We talk to the Scottish actor about No Escape, getting into character, filming on location, and highlighting female friendships.

Photography by Joseph Sinclair, Make-up by Amanda Grossman, Hair by Mark Francome Painter, Styling by Aimee Croysdill

Photography by Joseph Sinclair, Make-up by Amanda Grossman, Hair by Mark Francome Painter, Styling by Aimee Croysdill

Born in Aberdeen, Scotland, Abigail Lawrie relocated to London at 14 years old and started acting at the age of 16, filming her first job during summer holidays between school years. While her resume is expansive, she is perhaps best known for her enthralling leading roles in the coming-of-age film Our Ladies and the crime thriller Tin Star. The latter, in which she starred opposite Tim Roth, earned her a Scottish BAFTA in 2021.

This week, we see Abigail embark on a new journey as the character of Lana in Paramount+’s No Escape. Out on 18 May, the series follows Lana and her best friend, Rhianne Barreto’s Kitty, as they find refuge on a boat. Based on the novel The Blue by Lucy Clarke, it switches between present day and past stories, consistently grabbing your attention.

We had the pleasure of speaking with Abigail about the process of getting into character, filming on location, and the importance of showing female friendships in film.

Watch the trailer for No Escape…

And now for the interview…

When did you start acting and how did you get into the industry?
I started acting when I was about 16. I got my first job when I was in secondary school. It was an amazing job. I filmed it during the summer holidays. And then I went back and finished school, and then it came out. I got an agent, who I’m still with now and just sort of kept acting from there.

What originally attracted you to No Escape and your character of Lana?
I remember reading the script — we got sent the pilot episode — and I read it really quickly. It was very gripping straightaway. And it starts at the end, and then goes back… there’s two different timelines, which is really interesting. I was really drawn to Lana because, a lot of the first episode, she actually doesn’t speak. She’s there, but she doesn’t say a lot, which I really like, it’s really interesting to play. She’s definitely more of an observer. And she’s always on high alert, scoping everyone out. I thought that was really interesting. And I wanted to know more about her and Kitty, and it just sort of gripped me straightaway.

How did you get into character?
I didn’t have massive amounts of time. I got sent the script, and then I auditioned, and then did a chemistry read over Zoom. And then I think we were out in Thailand within like a month. It was a really quick turnaround. But once we got there, a lot of the prep was getting to know everyone. Me and Rhianne had a mutual friend, so we knew of each other before we got out there, but we obviously knew we were going to be playing best friends, so we met up before we travelled to Thailand, just to say hello. And then when we got there, it was just kind of about spending time together. Because a lot of it is set on a boat, we were told to learn a bit about sailing and about boats. So we did one sailing lesson… I think the production team were like actually you and Rhianne, your characters don’t need to. But yeah, we had a few weeks before we started filming. We did some rehearsals, went through all the scripts together. and just got to know each other really, which was the best kind of prep I think we could have done.

What was the filming process like?
It was a very unique experience. I’ve never done a job like that, and probably never will get to again. Like I said, we shot a lot of it on location in the middle of the sea, on a boat. Which looks amazing from what I’ve seen — the landscape and the scenery is just unbelievable. But it was intense. There were a lot of people in a small space for a long period of time. Then we went to Bangkok, did a lot of things in the studio, and shot on the streets of Bangkok, which was amazing. It was so vibrant and colourful, and looks really brilliant on screen. It was full on for six to seven months. But it was amazing and intense and unique.

Do you have a favourite memory from filming?
I have a few! I remember a few of us went away for a few days… we’d been filming in Bangkok for few weeks, and we had to do some scenes at a waterfall. So we went for a three day trip to this waterfall that was a couple of hours outside of Bangkok. And that was really amazing, just a beautiful location, and nice to get out of the city for a bit. But I think some of the early days on the boat were amazing. We shot snorkelling scenes and lots of stuff in the water. It was beautiful. It felt unbelievable that it was our job.

What are you most excited for viewers to see with the release of the show?
I think some of the performances in the show are amazing. It was such a joy to work with such talented actors, and Rhianne especially, I think is phenomenal in it. And it’s gripping and intense. And there’s a lot of twists and turns and things that the audience won’t expect. But at the heart of it, as well, is the story of female friendships and two people who need each other. And I hope that people connect to that as well. But yeah, I think it’s just escapism, the landscape is amazing, and I hope that people will be taken for a crazy ride.

What would you say is the importance of showing such strong female friendships in film?
It’s so important. And it’s so wonderful to play, because, for me anyway, in my real life, my friends are a huge part of my life. Especially going through my 20s, I would be lost without them. So it’s such a joy to portray that complicated, intense, loving relationship on screen. And I think that was my favourite part of shooting this was getting into the Lana and Kitty relationship and trying to portray that as honestly and truthfully as we could.

Is there any particular type of project or character you’d like to try next?
I’d love to do a play, I’d love to do more theatre. It’s such a different medium, and especially while playing Lana, as such an observer, everything had to be quite contained and subtle. And I’d love to do a play where I can be big, loud, and a bit wild. I’ve done it a bit in the past and you grow so much as an actor… I think doing theatre really pushes you and you end up learning a lot.

Do you have a career highlight thus far?
I’d say, I did a film a few years ago called Our Ladies, that was set in Scotland in the 90s. It was a really special time. I’m from Scotland, so going to film with a Scottish crew in the highlands was amazing. And it was the first job I did where I got to work with other young women — and we’re all still really good friends now, which is amazing. It was just a really special time.

Do you often stay connected with the people you work with?
Yeah, I’ve been lucky, I’ve met a lot of really wonderful people. I think that’s a great thing about the job. You get to meet so many people from all different walks of life and take them into your real life as real life friends.


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