The two stars chat about what espionage movie ‘A Call to Spy’ has taught them, and how the world of ladies spies continues to be untapped
“[Virginia, Noor and Vera] are the real hidden figures of the World War Two spy films,” says Sarah Megan Thomas over a video name. The actor-screenwriter-producer is speaking of her new inspired-by-true-events movie A Call to Spy. It additionally stars Radhika Apte as Indian-Muslim Noor, Stana Katic as British spymistress Vera Atkins and Sarah as American Virginia Hall.
A Call to Spy follows these Special Operations Executive brokers who aided within the French Resistance towards the Nazi regime throughout World War II. The movie is now streaming on Amazon Prime Video, and a video interview with Radhika Apte and Sarah Megan Thomas reveals the humanity of the movie, in addition to the spirit of perseverance.
- At the point out of co-star Stana Katic, Sarah and Radhika begin beaming. Ask them in regards to the camaraderie and Sarah exclaims, “You want to know about our bar nights in Budapest! We’re spies, we can’t talk about that!”
- Laughing, ever-curious Radhika tacks on, “Stana is great, and full of life. I was always interested in what she wants to eat because she’s vegan. Funniest thing though, because she played a British woman, she spoke in an accent the whole time! And [after shooting], I heard her speaking in her original accent and I was shocked. She had never let go of her accent once during the entire shoot process, which was incredible.”
Sarah explains, “These are three women who won every award you can imagine; their acts of heroism are indisputable, yet there haven’t been films about them before this. Resistance films à la Charlotte Grey are romance, she goes to get the guy. I hope we can look at films with women and show women being complex, diverse, and good at their jobs. This is about the daily grind of courage of ordinary women who said ‘this is my duty, I’m going to put my life on the line even though I have a 50-50 chance of survival’ and they didn’t do it for a man!”
On-boarding producer Lydia Dean Pilcher (Queen of Katwe, A Suitable Boy) as director was serendipitous for Sarah, who says, “I haven’t taken on the hat of ‘director’ in any of my films, and I actually love to bring on directors because it’s a value add, instead of a hand-off, to have that outside eye that challenges you. Lydia, has travelled the world, worked internationally and supports women — that’s what this story is.”
Radhika, who had learn the script earlier than bagging the function of Noor, was instantly pulled in. “No one is telling stories about women in any war, about their stories and contributions. Plus, I knew of Lydia through Mira Nair’s films. The most important hook was my character.” Radhika had heard of Noor however had not learn something about her. Upon doing analysis, the actor knew she had to tackle the function. “It was an incredible personality just to be offered: intimidating and exciting.”
Determination and spirit
Playing their respective characters taught Sarah and Radhika a world extra of resilience. “The takeaway of this film is, if push came to shove and the world got worse than it is, what would I do to protect the freedom of others?” states Sarah, “I’m a new mom with a baby, so I would hope I would put my life on the line. So I think we should try and challenge ourselves to make a difference in whatever way we can, in what we believe in.”
Radhika agrees: “I understood the fact that we always have a choice, whether or not your philosophy might clash with what is going on. We can always do something, however little may be in our control.”
It is not any secret that Virginia Hall confronted her personal set of difficulties, the primary being her leg amputation and ensuing wood prosthesis. How did Sarah tackle this whereas additionally celebrating Virginia’s life as a spy?
“Everyone wanted disability to define her,” she responds, “she wanted to be a diplomat and she was rejected, not only because she was a woman but because she was disabled. She wouldn’t let that happen; she took that ‘no’ and said ‘forget it, I’m going to change anyway’. I wanted to honour her legacy, the fact she had a wooden leg, the obstacles and pain she had to endure. These prostheses were made for men so they didn’t even fit in the 40s, of course. The point is, I didn’t want to over-play it.”
Sarah had spoken to the late spy’s household who mentioned she didn’t need anybody to know and have a look at her in a totally different approach, “So I chose key moments, like in the mountains or the stairs, where you see the limp and where you see her take off her prosthesis. We shot and purposely cut certain scenes with the leg because it became too much. This is a woman who did not let her disability define her, so that’s how we wanted to portray her.”