Olivia Cooke (‘Sound of Metal’) on building a relationship with Riz Ahmed [EXCLUSIVE VIDEO INTERVIEW]

Olivia Cooke was wowed by the script for “Sound of Metal,” in which she co-stars as Lou, a heavy metal singer whose boyfriend and bandmate, Ruben (Riz Ahmed), loses his hearing. “I had never read anything that affected me so much,” says Cooke in an exclusive new interview for Gold Derby. “I would’ve done anything just to be a part of it.” Watch the video interview above.

Cooke is somewhat unrecognizable when we first see her in the film, with bleached eyebrows and a tangle of golden hair. “There’s an androgyny to her, inherently,” the actress observes. “It just gives this alien quality to the look, which I think really helped the character’s overall appearance and feel to her.” Cooke also had to learn guitar and the specificity of heavy metal vocals with help from Margaret Chardiet of the band Pharmakon. “We wrote the song together, she wrote the music. She’s just incredible and I basically just copied everything from her.”

The actress also worked extensively with Ahmed to help build a sense of history between Lou and Ruben. “We rehearsed as a band for two months before we started shooting and we would discuss the script and our relationship and our backstory with each other,” explains Cooke. They spent three weeks filming together in the Airstream RV seen in the first act of the film, which was admittedly “claustrophobic” but made easier because of her co-star. Lou disappears for the entire second act and considering the cast and crew shot the film in order, that meant Cooke had a long period of time away from the set before returning for the final scenes. This ended up aiding in Cooke and Ahmed’s dynamic as Lou and Ruben had spent so much time apart. “You’re having to catch up and you are a little bit more estranged from each other,” recalls Cooke. “That was so helpful for the last act where we’re trying to connect with each other again.”

Cooke admits that she tends to put roles away after she has played them, but she is grateful for the experience of playing such enriching characters as Lou in “Sound of Metal.” “Something like this, if handled correctly, can be one of the most cathartic experiences that you can go through in a somewhat safe environment.”

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