Wednesday, April 27, 2011

INTERVIEW. An interview with an Atlantean priestess - Natalie Becker on her role of Ariad in the upcoming docudrama Atlantis: End of a World.

Ilze Kitshof

The award-winning and accomplished South African actress Natalie Becker portrays an Atlantean priestess, Ariad, in the superb upcoming BBC docudrama, Atlantis: End of a World, Birth of a Legend that will start on BBC Knowledge (DStv 251) on Sunday, 1 May at 21:30. It was filmed at Waterfront Studios in Cape Town, South Africa and has a historical graphic novel feel similar in look to the movie 300.

ALSO READ: The birth of the legend of Atlantis coming to BBC Knowledge in May.

Atlantis: End of a World, Birth of a Legend (with an accompanying documentary Atlantis: The Evidence on Monday 2 May at 22:25) is a splendid dramatic reinterpretation, based on the best available facts, about the end of Europe's first great civilization - that of the Minoans in 1613 BC. Natalie Becker plays Ariad in this BBC Northern Ireland Production about the greatest natural disaster of the ancient world, and I asked her a few questions.

Hi Natalie, Atlantis: End of a World, Birth of a Legend looks fantastic! How long did you shoot on this BBC production?
We shot for just over a month in studio.

Viewers will see you in this splendid docu-drama about the end of the mythical city as the integral character of Ariad. What can you tell us about her?
Ariad is an Atlantean priestess who is part of the ruling class of the priesthood in the Minoan society where women ruled the land. She is a complex character who on one hand is bound by her role and duties as a priestess, and on the other hand is a woman in love, passionate and vulnerable.

Can you maybe reveal one or two behind-the-scenes secrets?
There's a funny one- where the director Tony Mitchell gave me ''green screen'' eyebrows to stick on mine because he said mine were moving too much! [Laughs] There were many light moments which kept us going. Another well-kept secret is that the caterer Ronnie, who brought us much-needed tea and cake at 16:00 on set every day, makes the best chocolate cake ever!

What is there that viewers watching Atlantis: End of a World might not know and that will add context to this richly illustrated tale?
The BBC did extensive archaeological research and there's an accompanying documentary to the movie, so the exciting thing about this is that it is so historically accurate and that you practically get to see exactly what happened and how it all went down.

What was difficult or challenging about this production for you, and what did you enjoy the most about it?
I guess doing working with a virtual back-lot or green screen is always challenging as one has to suspend disbelief and really exercise your actor's faith to make the scenes believable and the character come alive. I loved working with this amazingly talented cast of international and South African actors and also with a great crew. Our director Tony Mitchell was unbelievably dedicated and committed and passionate about this project and he was a fantastic director, juggling all the variables and keeping us all going through the tough bits too. Also, being part of telling this incredible story of the lost city of Atlantis, which has for so long been a source of fascination and mystery.

Atlantis End of a World, birth of a Legend on BBC Knowledge (DStv 251) Sunday 1 May at 21:30