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Actress Laura Carmichael and Director Chayna Button Give the Scoop on ‘Burn Burn Burn’

The producer and “Downton Abbey” actress discuss their new independent film, now streaming on Netflix.

September 2, 2016
Laura Carmichael (Lady Edith on Downton Abbey) and director Chanya Button sit down with Jeremy Cropf to discuss their new film Burn Burn Burn, which made its North American premiere at SIFF.

Add this one to your Netflix queue! The film synopsis describes Burn Burn Burn as “a female-driven roadtrip comedy about friendship, love and that awkward moment when your dead best friend still gets you to do stuff.” Intrigued?

For producer Chayna Button, the film was a product of friendship and collaboration.

“It’s a very personal project that’s come from two friends who make each other laugh, who would like to make other people laugh, too,” she says, referencing her friendship with the film's writer, Charlie Covell. 

The characters come to life as Seph (Laura Carmichael) and Alex (Chloe Pirrie) embark on a journey across the UK to spread the ashes of their late friend Dan (Jack Farthing). 

“The whole film is predicated on their grief and them feeling a profound sense of loss, and he (Dan) is meant to feel like the third amigo,” says Button. 

But moviegoers looking for a funny and light film shouldn't be dissuaded by the themes of loss and death.

“I found the whole script completely charming and funny and moving — very cool and very different,” says Carmichael. 

Downton Abbey fans who are accustomed to seeing Carmichael don corsets and ornate coifs are in for an unexpected treat. 

“For many reasons, Seph’s much closer to who I am. I have been an out-of-work actress, working as a nanny before, and I do live in London and have a very close group of friends who are constantly trying to make each other laugh,” says Carmichael. “I love how she felt very real to me, and not entirely saintly or just doing all the right things.”

“I am so grateful for it, it was my first on-camera job, Downton… to work with that gang of actors was such a gift because it was like being at school and just watching really excellent actors work,” she says of her experience.

“This project was so fun and freeing and different,” says Carmichael.  

Both Button and Carmichael agree that the friendship captured in Burn Burn Burn isn't merely a result of talented actors and writing, but reflects the camaraderie and creative flexibility they experienced while making it.

In many productions, scenes are often filmed out of sequence and any changes to a script can't be spontaneously implemented without added delays. Burn Burn Burn offered creative flexibility for those involved that can be hard to find in most productions. The actors also, for the most part, filmed the scenes in order. 

“This project, what was so fun and freeing ... and not having to spend three hours doing your hair in the morning meant that we had more time for playing around. I can see why actors are sort of addicted to making independent film,” says Carmichael. 

“The experiences that we had were as absurd and fun and moving as what they [the film characters] experienced. And no one passed away,” quips Button.

 


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