Goldy Notay, British Canadian actress of the stage, big and small screens. Her credits include Sex and the City 2, Beloved, The Town, Silent Witness and the lead ‘Roopi’ in Gurinder Chanda’s film It’s a Wonderful Afterlife. We at Those London Chicks are pleased that Goldy has taken the time out to have a chat with us.
Thanks Karen for the interview. Was just looking at the kale, avocado and banana smoothie recipe on your site. That’s one of my favourites! If I’m feeling a bit naughty, I add some maple syrup. A nod to my Canadian side!
Goldy, you live between London and Toronto what are the logistics of splitting your time and does it reek havoc with your personal life?
I grew up in Canada and it’s where my parents reside, so I try to go home as often as possible. I have an agent in Toronto as well, so am fortunate in being able to work in multiple countries. I always get asked where my true home is? Although I love the feeling of being fussed over in the parental nest, I’m a London girl! A London girl who kinda loves the madness of this city, who still gets excited about the Southbank and crossing the Millennium bridge, but a girl who worships maple syrup and puts her eggs in the fridge! The logistics of travelling can be tricky but my guy and I live very unconventionally. We don’t have a 9-5 existence, and we make it work. I think distance in a relationship is crucial to its longevity and happiness.
We know you to be svelte in statue, you gained 2 stones for your role ‘Roopi’ in ‘It’s a Wonderful Afterlife’. Was it challenging putting the weight on and then post shoot shedding it?
It was a juggernaut of a challenge and the toughest approach to characterisation that I’ve taken. What can say? It was a release being able to stuff myself with bread, burgers and pasta but I hit a halfway wall. My back hurt, my feet were swollen, I couldn’t fit into my clothes, and the weight gain played havoc with my hormones. The transition affected my confidence on and off screen. A bit of a low point emotionally in my life but ironically the highest point as an actress. But this was exactly how I was meant to feel as my character.
With regards to losing the weight, that was equally tough. I was consuming pigeon portions of food, and hitting the gym almost every day for several hours. My stomach was grumbling for months! Sometimes I’d just go to bed early as I couldn’t handle being hungry. But 9 months later I welcomed back my body. I took the long healthy approach. I don’t know how these Hollywood actors do it-gaining/losing in a fast track month for back to back roles. They must be soooo constipated and irritable.
The next film we can see you in, is the soon to be released in UK cinemas ‘Amar, Akbar and Tony’. Tell us a bit about the film?
It’s a coming of age comedy about three friends who are from different religious backgrounds but with the cultural commonality of west London. They love partying, girls and general lad badness until life throws them a curve ball. It’s essentially about what happens when the party abruptly stops and one is catapulted into adulthood.
You play Sonia, what can we expect from your character in the film?
Ohh Sonia is Amar’s sister and she’s feisty and flirty. Someone who gives the impression that she’s been around the block a few times. We often don’t find our characters until we’re on set. I remember trying on some sample clothes for her and I found this too tight dress (the kind that you won’t dare sit down in because it would ride up to your hips) and I thought “yup, here she is. Here’s Sonia”.
What a fantastic cast, with the likes of Martin Delaney, Rez Kempton, Sam Vincenti, Karen David and Meera Syal. How was it work with such an established bunch?
It’s a joy to work alongside a team whose work you appreciate. The boys have created such believable chemistry as friends. Martin and Sam are so clever in their comedy roles and Rez plays the more gravitas-filled focal character whose life takes an unprecedented turn. Rez also lost a considerable amount of weight to fit the part. I didn’t get to work with Meera but I introduced her to the project. Atul Malhotra had written the part with her in mind: a feline-esque Asian Mrs Robinson and Meera totally lapped it up! Karen and I had such fun filming. She’s also a fellow Canadian!
The film was penned and directed by Atul Malhotra how was it to work with him knowing he had these characters in his head while writing the film. Was it a collaborative process?
Atul gave me the script to read long before filming commenced and welcomed my contributions. He’s one of the coolest guys I know. He lost heaps of weight whilst filming and probably hadn’t reached REM in years due to his commitment. On set, it was a very egalitarian process. Atul was happy for us to improvise, provided that the essence of what he’d written remained in tact.
I had a scene with Karen in which I had to drive a car down the street and park it by the curb. Seems simple enough. Karen played a character who was a new bride, and in real life, she was going to get married…I think in a matter of days. And she was in the car alongside me. After many takes, Atul said to me “Goldy, can you just…you know…drive”. But I was so acutely trepidatious.
All I kept thinking was “if something goes wrong, she’ll miss her wedding and it’ll be my fault, and everyone will hate me.” So yes, we had too many takes and a somewhat frustrated director before I finally…just…drove. Karen was so cool about it and she made it to her wedding with all limbs in tact!
You’ve played roles that may cause possible controversy in your culture. For example in Amar, Akbar and Tony you have a sexy scene in the back of a car. Were you nervous about doing the scene from a cultural or personal perspective?
I didn’t have any trouble with what was written. In fact, it was a departure from some of the other characters I’d played. I haven’t told my family yet about the sex scene. I’ll cross that back seat when I get to it. However, filming it was a slippery slope. It was on the coldest night of the year so I was wearing translucent tights as we couldn’t have the heating on in the car due to the sound. After a few takes I heard my director bellow “Goldy, we need you to take your tights off. Apparently they could see them. It was really awkward as there wasn’t anywhere to change and I had people standing around me trying to cover me up and keep me warm with hot water bottles and blankets. It was written as a warm night in the script and the scene extended from the back seat to the hood and it was meant to be hot and steamy. And all I can remember was cold and hyperthermia.
Red River (directed by Emma Lindley) your next project, tackles the subject of child brides and forced marriage. Can you elaborate on the premise of the film?
I play a character named Madhuri (a former child bride) who is now grooming her daughter to marry a man much older than her. I had an immediate liking to Emma and felt that I could trust such a controversial subject in her hands. The story doesn’t demonise the mother but also doesn’t condone something that is alarmingly prevalent in the UK.
How important do you feel it is to tell stories that highlight this issue?
Well, The Forced Marriage Unit recently reported 1,300 cases with one in eight below the age of consent. These are only the reported cases so the problem is possibly on an even greater scale. I read everything I could and listened to whoever would speak. And the more I learned, the more firm footed I became about the importance of such a story. As story tellers, we may not always have the answers, but we provide microscopic perspectives and a platform for dissecting them. I hope we’ve done this in Red River.
Finally, what is next for you Goldy?
Amar, Akbar and Tony opens on 17th April and I’m excited to reveal this labour of love!
Thank you Goldy x
Thank you Karen!
Interview by Karen Bryson
To keep updated on Goldy follow her on Twitter