Up-and-coming Sussex actress Elana Di Troya tells all about starring in the remake of a horror classic and meeting her idol Julie Walters.
At the impressionable age of 20, the Warnham resident has not been shaken by her recent flourish in the world of cinema and speaks humbly about her career.
Even with the possibility of Hollywood around the corner, her roots are very much true to British soil.
She pauses for a moment, “I wouldn’t say no to Hollywood, definitely not, we’ll have to wait and see for something like that, but I’m 20 and I’m grateful for all the opportunities that have come my way so far and I just hope it doesn’t stop.”
Elana found success this year in her first feature film debut, Little District – a gangster thriller shot in Crawley – but she was unable to attend its screening at the Cannes Film Festival.
“I didn’t get to go because I was filming for something else. I was so upset because the director and everyone went out there and they all looked like they had such a good time [laughing]. We had a lot of good feedback. Apparently Shia LaBeouf went to see it.”
Shedding light on the darker side of Crawley life, Elana plays a wholesome character caught up in a realm of small town drug dealers and gang crime.
“I played a girl named Rosie who is very sweet and runs the flower shop. She falls in love with the main guy who isn’t necessarily the bad guy, but he is trying to be bad.”
Elana nurtured her craft from a young age in many stage performances, including The Capitol in Horsham, The Hawth in Crawley and Her Majesty’s Theatre in London, but her fascination with acting began as a toddler and bloomed throughout her school days.
“I went to Farlington School, which is very local - that was where I was given the opportunity to shine. I was very much the class clown and they revelled in it. It was a great time for me.
“I then went on to Hurtwood House, which is based in Surrey – very much a drama based college, putting on the most amazing shows. I learnt a lot there.”
When Elana graduated, she had the option to take the next logical step in her education, or snag the opportunity to star in a big motion picture remake – Night of the Living 3D Dead – starring alongside Gemma Atkinson of Hollyoaks.
“They said basically, you either go to drama school or you do the film, because it was going to clash - they didn’t know when filming was going to start, so I chose not to go to drama school in the end.
“I loved working with Gemma Atkinson. She is really down to earth and such a genuine person, and even since she’s gone to America it hasn’t changed her at all – she’s no prima donna.”
This is not the first time that Elana has interacted with the stars. As a child she did not look up to young Hollywood; instead, her eyes turned towards the British veterans like Helen Mirren, Judy Dench and particularly Julie Walters, who she had the pleasure of meeting. Elana smiles. “I haven’t wanted to be Cheryl Cole or anyone like that – acting is what I want to do and Julie Walters was very much a mentor, especially as her daughter went to Farlington with me. I had the pleasure of meeting Julie on several occasions.
The fact of how down to earth she is, but still such a well known actress – that’s how I want to be.
“My mother has also been a big inspiration in my life.”
Having finished the shoot on a Night of the Living 3D Dead and jet-setting off to America to start production on Spark, in which she plays a cheerleader, Elana finds little time to herself, but does not regret a thing.
“When you’re so passionate about something it doesn’t matter if you’re having to run ten miles a day – it’s just your life and I love what I do.”
Little District is out now and Night of the Living 3D Dead is expected to hit cinemas soon.