Georgia Groome & Aaron Johnson chat about the latest British teen comedy, ‘Angus, Thongs, and Perfect Snogging’.
If Adrian Mole and Bridget Jones were to have a child, she would be Georgia Nicolson – the star of the latest tween comedy ‘Angus Thongs and Perfect Snogging’. In it, we follow the trails and tribulations of Georgia as she returns to school with two main goals: find the perfect boyfriend and throw the greatest 15th birthday party ever seen. But things never run smoothly for the ever-awkward teen, who, along the way, manages to parade around town as a stuffed olive, accidentally shave off half an eyebrow and even dye her legs radioactive orange!
Based on the teen books of Louise Rennison – (Angus Thongs and Full Frontal Snogging, and On the Bright Side, I’m Now A Girlfriend Of A Sex God), writer-director Gurinder Chadha’s (Bend it like Beckham, Bride and Prejudice) offers a British take on the American teen comedy – with some altogether surprising results. Here we chat to the films two lead actors: Georgia Groome and Aaron Johnson.
Q: Had either of you read the books?
Aaron: I’d never read the books. When you have a script that’s what you’re there to work with and I didn’t want to get caught in comparing the two really. I was keen to read them after but I’ll admit it’s mostly young girls reading them!
Georgia :I’d read the first one before I got the script, just because I liked to be prepared. Since then I’ve read the series; they are really funny books. They are written like a series with cliffhanger endings. This film is a combination of the first two.
Q: Speaking to the director, she mentioned the search for Georgia was pretty extensive. How did you get the part?
Georgia: There were so many girls auditioning ranging from actresses to fans of the books! For my first audition, Gurinder will tell you, I was very young and I wasn’t right for it at the time. But things slowed down, Gurinder went away had her twins, and when she came back she called a few of the girls in. I think eight in total, at least two of which were definitely in the ‘Ace Gang’ and things took off from there.
Q: Do either of you think you’re like your character?
Aaron: I guess I’m somewhat like Robbie in that we’re both charming and funny (Laughs). No but the sense of humour in the characters is something very British that I identified with, though the title of “Sex God” is a lot to live up to! (Laughs)
Georgia: I think I’m more behaved than my character. She’s quite the stroppy teen – at least at the beginning. I’m far more relaxed. There are things that all teen girls will associate with, those embarrassing moments. Like in the film Georgia shaves off part of her eyebrow; I did that too when I was younger.
Q: And Georgia, you broke into cinema with the critically acclaimed indie pic ‘London to Brighton’. How did two compare?
Georgia: They were completely different in every way that it can be different. The scale of two, they just don’t compare. Like, London to Brighton had a budget of £180,000. Angus’ budget was many times that. The big difference is time. The bigger budget meant we had more time to play around with things. But I really learned a lot shooting ‘London to Brighton’. We became such a close family cause we were literally living in each other’s pockets! I still speak to the (the director) Paul Williams on a weekly basis.
Q: So do you prefer to work on the smaller films?
Georgia: I think smaller films definitely give you more freedom. More money doesn’t necessarily make for a better film. Like Angus’ budget while bigger than ‘London to Brighton’, was by no means huge. I think that was important for Gurinder cause it allowed her to keep a certain amount of control and make that film she wanted to make, which is a very British teen comedy.
Q: And how was it working with Gurinder?
Aaron: She is such a strong charismatic person; you’d have to do a film just after having twins! She also knows what she wants from herself and her crew and I think that’s important.
Q: And of course by the title, we can expect snogging between the two of you. Was that awkward?
We just got on with it. I mean the first kiss, which was the pool kiss, happened on day four or five and that was a bit nerve-racking because you’re not really comfortable with everyone yet. It was handled really well; nobody made a big deal of it. Gurinder just took us aside, said “show me how your going to do it” and then she just shot it.
Q: Aaron, how is it to work on what was a predominately female set?
Aaron: I don’t know to be honest it seemed very natural. I think, there was quite a lot of chemistry between us all. After a while it just became second nature. You sort of become a family – like brothers and sisters. You fight and you laugh but when the filming starts you have to realise it’s work.
Q: What about school; how do you work that around shooting?
Aaron: Well I finished two years ago now.
Georgia: I’m still in school. Doing my GCSEs. It’s a bit crazy. I’m in and out between shotting; I have a tutor when on set. But school itself is great; they would send me the work I needed to do. I’m actually doing my mocks at the moment.
Q:Do you think this is what you’ll do full time now?
Aaron: Yeah this is definitely what I’m looking to do. Especially since I finished school, I kind of realised – this is my career. So it’s all about getting out there.
Georgia: I like doing what I’m doing and I just hope there is a space for me. There is at the moment but you never know what’s going to happen. That’s why I’m planning on doing my A-levels, you never know in this industry. I would like to stay in it though. In what manner, I’m not sure, maybe acting or directing.
Q: So what’s next?
Georgia: Hopefully passing my GCSEs! (Laughs) There’s also talk of another ‘Angus’ movie in the future which I’d gladly come back for. We’ll have to wait and see.
Angus, Thongs and Perfect Snogging is in cinemas July 25th.