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Churchdown-born writer and actress Elizabeth Morris excited for release of latest film, ‘Killers Anonymous’

All Areas > Entertainment > Film

Author: Thomas Hadfield, Posted: Tuesday, 23rd July 2019, 09:00

Elizabeth Morris Elizabeth Morris

It wasn’t long ago that Elizabeth Morris was studying at the University of Gloucestershire and visiting the Everyman while living with her parents Nick and Penny in Churchdown.

Nowadays she is busy writing and starring in films alongside esteemed Hollywood actors.

“I’ve always been into performing, singing and dancing, musical theatre, things like that,” she said.

Growing up in Gloucestershire, Elizabeth pursued her love of performing and attended The Hampstead Factory theatre and arts school.

It was there she was taught by Laura Whittard, someone she says she owes a lot of her success to.

“I first met her when I was 12 (2002) when I attended my first class there and was taught by her right up until I did my diploma in 2008,” said Elizabeth. “I instantly fell in love with theatre and the way she taught it.”

“She gave me so much confidence and became a bit of a mentor throughout my teenage years. She was nurturing and kind and incredibly passionate about what she taught.

“I was a very unorganised teenager, she drilled it into to me that I must always be on time, always learn my lines and to take responsibility. She taught me to channel my own emotions into the characters I was playing. I have a lot to thank her for.”

After earning her ATCL diploma aged 18, Elizabeth went on to study just around the corner from her home, at the University of Gloucestershire.

She said: “I wanted to go to drama school in London but instead found that there was an amazing Performing Arts course right on my doorstep.

“Sheila Mander started it and we got to put on productions and work with incredible tutors and teachers such as the Royal Shakespeare Company’s Jacquie Crago.”

Elizabeth graduated in 2011, and like many students leaving university wasn’t sure on what the next step was.

“When I left uni, I moved down to London not sure what I wanted to do. I’d always enjoyed writing so I started producing scripts, and it was around that time I met Martin Owen,” she explained.

“We talked and started writing together and made our first film, ‘Abducted’. We’ve now written four filmscripts together three of which have been made.”

‘Abducted’ was the beginning of a great working relationship between the pair, and also sowed the seeds for the story of their latest project.

“Abducted was about a psychopath going around Los Angeles kidnapping movie stars and celebrities,” continued Elizabeth.

“In it there was a scene in a support group we referred to as the ‘killers anonymous scene’ that we always intended to revisit.”

The scene became the basis for the pair’s new film ‘Killers Anonymous’, a psychological thriller based around a support group for serial killers.

Joined by L.A. screenwriter Seth Johnson, Elizabeth – who also stars in the film – and Martin, who directed it, spent around a year perfecting the script.

“I think we were probably never all in the same room together,” said Elizabeth on the writing process.

“There were a lot of Skype calls, bouncing ideas off of each other and delegating who was going to write each scene, things like that.

“Everyone writes in their own way – I need either total silence or music relevant to what I’m working on to concentrate whereas Martin has music, the TV on, a video game playing in the background.”

Following the completion of the script the production company, Goldfinch, began the casting process, bringing on board seasoned British actors including Tommy Flanagan (Gladiator, Sin City), Tim McInnerny (Notting Hill, Eddie the Eagle) and Michael Socha (This is England, Chernobyl).

Hollywood stars were also recruited as Elizabeth was joined on set by Academy Award-winning actor Gary Oldman and Golden Globe nominee Jessica Alba.

“It was amazing, my favourite filming experience yet,” said Elizabeth. “We had a great ensemble cast, and because so much of the film is set in one room everyone became really close, it was so much fun.

“Then when Gary Oldman and Jessica Alba were on set, they were incredible and so lovely to work with.”

The film follows the group through their therapy sessions, as they discuss their pasts and transgressions.

Dark events unfold with plenty of action, twists and turns along the way.

Elizabeth said: “They all talk about their urges, why they kill, things like that, as an outlet. Then one day a U.S. Senator is shot and they all try to work out who in the group did it.

“I play a character called Crystal who attends the group. She’s really wild, foul-mouthed, carries a butterfly knife – really fun to play.”

As the title suggests, ‘Killers Anonymous’ is not for the faint hearted – it’s rated R in the United States, equivalent to a 15 certificate over here.

And Elizabeth’s previous projects – films like ‘Let’s Be Evil’ and ‘L.A. Slasher’ have been of a similar ilk in terms of genre.

“Horrors and thrillers are such a popular genre,” she added. “I’ve always loved films and things that make you jump and they’re great to write.

“But the script I’m working on now is different from anything I’ve done before. It’s all about mental health, and about a single woman on the dating scene – more relatable, writing from experience.”

For now, Elizabeth is looking forward to seeing the culmination of almost two and a half years’ worth of work.

And some of the moments she experienced during that time were things some actors can only dream of.

“I spent a day handcuffed to Jessica Alba in a strip club for a scene,” laughed Elizabeth. “She’s one of the nicest people I’ve ever worked with.

“And to see Gary Oldman delivering lines you’ve written is surreal – that was a real ‘pinch me’ moment.”

‘Killers Anonymous’ is out in theatres and On Demand soon.

Other Images

A still from ‘Killers Anonymous’
The main cast of 'Killers Anonymous'

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