The festive season is fast approaching – and, with it, actress Florence Hall will be back on screens across the world.
Fans of a cosy holiday movie will likely recognise Florence from her role in The Princess Switch series, in which she plays Mindy opposite High School Musical’s Vanessa Hudgens. However, she’s appeared in no shortage of huge projects outside of this festive favourite – and will no doubt be around a lot more in the new year!
We sat down with Florence recently to discuss the upcoming third instalment in The Princess Switch series, along with life mottos, dream roles and her upcoming appearance in female-led detective drama Queens Of Mystery…
You’re about to reprise your role as Mindy in The Princess Switch 3. What can fans expect from this new sequel?
RomCom meets heist movie. Fiona, Mindy and Reggie are called on to help rescue a stolen diamond before Christmas Eve. Expect abseiling down buildings, running over castle rooftops and negotiating laser beams. Mindy and Reggie bring their trademark squabbling and general ineptitude to the party, while Fiona finds herself the centre of the romance storyline. It hits all those satisfying notes that we want from a Christmas film; snow, ice skating, candy cane martinis, romance, comedy. It’s going to make people laugh and feel all fuzzy.
Can we expect a fourth instalment in the series?
I know that we all love working together and that it’s been a huge hit on Netflix, so you never know…
What’s been your favourite part of being involved in The Princess Switch series?
It has been so much fun to do something that brings people so much joy, and I think a lot of that comes from what a happy time we had shooting it. The whole cast and crew got on really well, despite being trapped in a hotel together on the outskirts of Edinburgh for three months. It was during the UK winter lockdown and when we weren’t working the only things we could do were go on walks, or go to Tescos, and somehow we didn’t drive each other insane. I also absolutely adored my costumes this year. Eleanor Baker, our designer, has a magic touch and both Ricky (who plays Reggie) and I drew so much character influence from the mad clothes she put us in.
You’re also set to take over the role of detective Matilda Stone in the second season of Queens Of Mystery! Could you tell us a little more about Matilda and the new series?
Matilda could not be more different from Mindy. She’s an intelligent and thoughtful woman who lives for her work and is incredibly selfless, regularly putting her safety on the line to save others. She’s pretty goofy and is constantly finding herself in awkward interactions with her equally awkward love interests. But in this season she is more secure in her role as Detective Sargeant and is able to have more fun and let her guard down, which I hope viewers will enjoy watching. The series is gorgeous, full of quirky storylines set in quintessentially English towns, with the unique Queens of Mystery aesthetic (classic cars, outfits inspired by 70s and 80s fashion, minimal use of tech) giving it a timeless feel that I think really allows people to escape into the mysterious world of Wildemarsh. This series also delves deeper into Matilda’s burning questions about what happened to her mum who disappeared when she was three years old. There’s a sense that her three aunts, who brought her up and whom she adores, know more than they’re letting on and as the series progresses this brings dark and haunting undertones.
What inspired you to start acting?
I was incredibly shy as a kid. When I was a toddler I used to cry if anyone looked at me and was really quiet at school. So when I was about seven, mum and dad decided to send me to a Saturday drama club to help build my confidence. As soon as I started my first class I thought “Huh, so this is where I’m meant to be”. I feel incredibly lucky that I had that clarity of thought so young. In the many many challenging times that this career path throws out, the focus that seven-year-old me had keeps me going.
What’s your dream role?
I’m very active and I love to dance, though never really learned how, so one of my dreams is to get a role that sends me on a dancing boot camp. Or anything physical really – it’d be amazing to learn a martial art or a sport. I hated sport at school so it’d be fun to go back to it as an adult and not feel like a nervous nerd in her PE kit wishing the ground would swallow her up.
You’ve previously starred in Lovesick, Jonathan Creek, Urban Myths and much more – if you had to pick out a single career highlight so far, what would it be?
It’s got to be Queens of Mystery. Everything about that job felt right. The character, the timing, the hilarious and incredibly talented people I got to spend time with. The fact that it’s a female-led cast and celebrates women of all ages playing interesting and complex roles. It really has been the perfect job. But if I could sneak one more highlight in, it would be performing in ‘Children Of The Sun’ at the National Theatre. There is a long tradition at the National that on opening night all the actors from all three stages bang and cheer on their dressing room windows as you are called to stage. It’s the most incredible cacophony of positivity and I felt like I was walking on air as I made my way to the wings to take my starting position.
What other projects do you have in the pipeline right now?
Nothing! Does anyone want to employ me? (Laughs) We’re really hoping for the green light on a new series of Queens Of Mystery. That would be a dream.
Finally, what’s your life motto?
“Kill with kindness”. I’ve spent a lot of time working other jobs to support my acting career, things like waitressing and telemarketing, and it’s unreal how rude some people feel they can be to those in service. I noticed people became more human and apologetic when responded to with kindness and compassion. So in almost every moment of conflict, I start with kindness, but every so often the only viable option is to tell them where to go…
The Princess Switch 3: Romancing the Star is out on Netflix on November 18th. Queens Of Mystery airs on Acorn TV on Monday 29th November.
Photographer: Joseph Sinclair @josephsinclair// Styling: Krishan Parmar @krishanparmar // Make-up: Justine Jenkins @justinejenkins // Hair: Adam Cooke @adamcookehair