Sarah Nasri is busy in between scenes, wondering how she’s going to find time to get into character, and prepare for the other two scenes the producers of the upcoming series, Finding Home, plan to film later in the day.
“Set life is always hurry up and wait,” she offers with a smile.
The Tunisian star, a globe-trotter since she was young, commands the space on set like any other leading lady before her. The difference now is that Sarah has had to manage filming in a COVID-19 environment, which presents new challenges all collaborators must overcome.
For one, all actors must wear masks in between takes – creating problems for make-up and also representing another distraction actors must manage when getting ‘into the zone.’
An interesting anecdote from set, that perhaps would not have happened were it not for the prescribed COVID-19 mandates, concerned keeping the number of people in a closed place, restricted from one another.
“We had one actress scheduled for one scene during the first day of shoot,” Sarah tells us. “So to keep the people inside the apartment where we were filming, one of the PAs had to wait outside the filming set until we were done with the scene. It’s a little frustrating, but it also gives me a chance to explore the circumstances of the character in greater detail in between takes, so I don’t mind it.”
“Filming within COVID-19 mandates has meant it’s a little difficult to focus at times, because the producers are being so strict with maintaining stations and boundaries between crew and cast wherever possible, to ensure social distancing, but that in itself is an interesting challenge,” Sarah offers.
“I think sometimes external challenges on set are actually great in helping an actor focus – otherwise it’s easy to get complacent – the greater the distraction, the more effort I have to put into my story and what’s going to happen in the scene, but that ironically is something that can help make it more real.”
Words of wisdom from an established actor, it’s no wonder that Sarah commands the attention of any viewer or producer. Also known for playing a frightful nun in Childhood Chills and Miss Roberts in By the Strings, on this production, Sarah enjoys another leading role in playing the character of Sofia.
Sofia is a Colombian girl who moves from her home to America, facing the challenges of acculturation along the way.
“What I loved about playing Sofia is the ups and downs and all the happy and sad moments she has to go through in a short amount of time. She can be joyful during the day and extremely melancholic by the evening.”
“Initially, I found [the fact that Sofia’s character is an introvert challenging, but throughout preproduction I grew to appreciate that aspect of the story more.”
In addition to getting an insight into how Central American productions are resuming the filming process, our exclusive on-set visit also helped us get a true appreciation for the way in which fresh stories with an international focus are being made at an increasing rate.
Everyone on set boasted an international pedigree of varying form and degree, creating a multifarious melting pot of cultures and different stories. One of the other actors is [Colombian] Nestor Sierra from Outlandish.”
Suffice to say, while Finding Home is ostensibly about a traveller, it is more about the search for home within oneself.
Before she has to film and get make-up touches after taking off her mask, Sarah offers one final quote about the filming process.
“There’s nothing greater than creating life within life. During the filming process you get to transform into another character and experience emotions that you might not get the chance to experience in real life. It’s like living in a parallel universe. It also unites people and we all forget all our daily struggle, especially during Covid-19, and lose ourselves in the story we’re telling.”