The beautiful and talented, Raechelle Banno, who stars in “V.C. Andrews Landry,” spoke with us at VULKAN, about her time filming, experience with voiceover, her talents as a model, and more. Playing the role of Ruby pushed her as a performer like no role has before. Having really gotten to know her character by reading the books and practicing, Raechelle’s hard work truly paid off. With different projects on the horizon, you might want to keep an eye out! Keep on reading and get to know Raechelle Banno a little more!
You recently starred in the V.C. Andrews films for Lifetime. How was it playing the lead character Ruby, and what was it like filming all four films at once?
Playing Ruby was an experience, unlike anything I’ve ever had the opportunity to do before. She has such a complicated life, which allowed me to really push myself as a performer; but the way the films were shot meant I was also able to work on building my endurance as an actor, being on set all day every day for months at a time. I loved it. The four films gave me my first insight as to what it might feel like to do a sequel for a film, especially given the fact we had a lengthy break in between the first and second film due to Covid shut downs.
Did you read the books beforehand? If so, how did that influence your performance?
I did read the books beforehand. I felt it was really important to have Ruby’s internal experience carrying me through the shoot, so I tracked down a 90s copy of the book series online and carried the books with me everywhere, getting to know Ruby and the way she viewed the world. Once it came time to film, I felt like I could genuinely advocate for Ruby. Then, all that was left to do was put the books aside and leap into Ruby’s world.
What was it like working with your twin sister Karina in the V.C. Andrews films?
Watching Karina’s work as an audience member has always been something I’ve looked forward to doing. She’s so dynamic and manages to make even the most heightened characters feel familiar and genuine – which is a bloody hard task as an actor. We work well together when helping each other with auditions, but it’s so rare we get to be on set together. Having the privilege of going through everything it took to get these films made together has been a real treat. She’s my best friend, an utter professional, and she absolutely steals the show every time she’s on screen. To say I’ve been proud to work with her would be an understatement.
Do you have any plans for the two of you to work together again?
Absolutely. Karina and I are always looking for fresh ways to collaborate together. She’s my favourite person to bounce ideas off, even if it’s a project only one of us is developing. Whether it be on screen or behind the scenes, it’s second nature to support one another’s creative ventures, so we’ll find a way.
You also have a lot of experience in voiceover work with your role on the animation series 100% Wolf: Legend of the Moonstone, what do you like about doing voiceover and what challenges do you find in voiceover acting that you don’t find doing onscreen work?
The biggest challenge with 100% Wolf: Legend of the Moonstone was that it hadn’t been animated yet which meant we went in essentially blind to what the show would look like. It was my first time doing voiceover work so it was a huge learning curve for me. The lack of visual stimuli ended up being my favourite part, I was totally out of my comfort zone in the beginning of production but then learned to love how the options for performance were endless. It’s a truly freeing experience. They were so supportive of me asking questions and making mistakes, I’m so grateful for the opportunity and can’t wait to do more of it.
You started acting and modeling at a very young age, when did you know that this was what you wanted to do? Was there any particular film or performance that influenced you when you were a kid?
Film and television were such a huge part of my childhood, so the leap into doing it myself felt quite natural. I remember reenacting scenes from The Mummy (1999) with my sister Karina as I was so enamored with the adventurous world created and was so drawn to such an interesting female character in ‘Evelyn’, played by Rachel Weisz. However, when I was in my early teens, my dancing school did a ballet production of My Fair Ladyand I was given the party of Eliza Doolittle. I fell in love with Audrey Hepburn, of course. I couldn’t get enough of it and I think that really cemented my love of character building as well as a deep appreciation of how brilliant writing, music, costume, hair, and make-up can effectively bring a story to life.
You recently moved to London, how do you like living there and what is your favorite thing about the city? Do you have any plans to visit your home country of Australia any time soon?
I am really enjoying living in London. I can’t really say that I ‘know’ the city as of yet, seeing as I arrived the day they announced another lockdown and it’s only just started to open up! I did, however, get out to the countryside over Christmas and something I loved about the English culture is that they aren’t fussed by weather. In Australia, if you were planning to go out on a hike and the weather isn’t ideal, you might just reschedule because you know good weather is always coming. In England it seems, they just buck up and get out there – wind, rain and all! It’s so liberating. In terms of going back home to Australia, right now, it’s tricky with the travel restrictions, but I’m always coming home. Whether it’s for a visit to see family and friends or to work – I’ll never be far from Australia for too long.
Can you tell us about your upcoming projects? What’s next for you?
Right now, I’ve got some of my own projects in development that I’m very excited about. My weekly meetings with collaborators have been a real saving grace during the quiet lockdown months just gone. More to come on that! In the meantime, I’m excited to head out into lively London and sink my teeth into all it has to offer!
Photographer Mollie Rose
Interview Alexandra Bonnet @alexandrabonnetwrites