Interview with Genevieve Gaunt from History’s Knightfall
Genevieve Gaunt is known for her roles as Wilhelmina on The Royals and as Pansy Parkinson in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. Now fans can see her as Princess Isabella on HISTORY’s Knights Templar drama series Knightfall. Gaunt plays the daughter of King Philip who history would eventually call “the she-wolf of France.” Gaunt is great, alluring and manipulative in her role on Knightfall. The series goes inside the medieval politics and warfare of the Knights Templar, the most powerful, wealthy and mysterious military order of the Middle Ages. The series goes deep into the clandestine world of this legendary brotherhood of warrior monks to learn who these knights were, how they lived, and what they died believing. Season two premieres Monday, March 25th at 10 pm EST/PT. Glitter sat down with Genevieve to talk about her role on Knightfall, how much research went into playing Princess Isabella, and the one positive message she can pass onto her fans. Read on to find out more about this amazing actress.
GLITTER: Did you always want to be an actress?
GENEVIEVE: Ever since a dramatic performance of Little Bear in Goldilocks aged 3. I did some film and TV work as a teenager but it wasn’t until I went to University to read English and did a lot of theatre that I knew I wanted to act professionally.
GLITTER: What can you tell us about the new season of Knightfall on HISTORY without giving anything away?
GENEVIEVE: Season two of Knightfall kicks off with a bang and a clash of two worlds: the Templar world and the world of the French court in 1307. Princess Isabella’s world has been turned upside down: her mother is dead, her brother’s return brings unforeseen danger and she is going to be married off against her will. This season is about a fight for survival.
GLITTER: How did you audition for the show?
GENEVIEVE: It was in London, summer of 2018. I went in to meet the lovely Suzanne Smith who read with me. We did two scenes, played with them and then I carried on to a matinee of the play I was doing at the time.
GLITTER: What is it like playing Princess Isabella? Are you like her in any way in real life?
GENEVIEVE: I love it. She’s all shades of grey; she’s right and wrong, strong and vulnerable, sensuous and cerebral. One of the best parts about acting is that you get to do all the things we’re taught not to do in life, and she gets up to do some very naughty *cough* criminal things.
GLITTER: How is Princess Isabella different from any other character you’ve played before?
GENEVIEVE: She’s ultra-feminine and ultra-masculine. Knightfall is set in the 14th century and it’s rare for women to be such crafty political operators. She loves hunting, riding, chess as well as jewels and fine clothes. She is not limited by being a woman. She embraces it. In history she became Queen of England, staged a rebellion against her husband and took her co-conspirator as her lover. Quite a gal. Season two introduces us to the young woman who will later become the queen who sent shock waves through Europe.
GLITTER: What do you hope viewers take away from Princess Isabella’s character? Is she relatable in any way?
GENEVIEVE: Princess Isabella is a woman in a man’s world. When the going gets tough, she really gets going. Nothing about her world is fair or decent, but she’s a survivor and that’s empowering.
GLITTER: Did you have to do any research for the role itself?
GENEVIEVE: I read Alison Weir’s biography and watched Dan Jones’ series on The Plantagenets. In the latter, he tells of Isabella eating an apple whilst watching an enemy being disemboweled. Details like that help; a girl who can snack whilst watching ultra-violence must be pretty formidable, so I used that inspiration and story in a future scene…just picked up and bit into an apple on the breakfast spread.
GLITTER: Do you have any rituals to help you get in character?
GENEVIEVE: In episode four I do falconry and side saddle; that certainly gets you in the medieval zone. Stepping into the magnificent costumes and sets also helps transport you as an actor into the 14th century.
GLITTER: We know both of your parents are also in the business so have they ever had tips for you before auditioning that have helped you in the past?
GENEVIEVE: Learn your lines and don’t bump into the furniture.
GLITTER: What is your top travel item for the girl on the go that you cannot live without?
GENEVIEVE: My Kindle.
GLITTER: What do you love to do in your spare time?
GENEVIEVE: I love to write, play guitar, sing and practice yoga.
GLITTER: If you weren’t an actress, what would you want to do instead?
GENEVIEVE: I love this business so I think if I wasn’t an actress, I would want to be a writer or a producer.
GLITTER: How do you stay grounded in this business?
GENEVIEVE: I love what I do and I’m at my happiest rehearsing or on set so that love keeps me steady. I was literally kept grounded on Knightfall by my luxuriously long cloak – exiting one scene – I swished through the medieval streets of Paris feeling like a Rockstar before being tripped up by the folds and narrowly avoiding horse poo.
GLITTER: What is something fans may not know about you?
GENEVIEVE: I am a terrible giggler. Actors can easily make me helpless when they know my weak spot. I also love horses.
GLITTER: What is your mantra?
GENEVIEVE: We make our habits, then our habits make us.
GLITTER: Favorite book right now?
GENEVIEVE: The Incurable Romantic by Frank Tallis. It’s about psychology and love and all the mad things people do. I find people endlessly fascinating and this book had me gripped.
GLITTER: Since you played Pansy Parkinson in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, what Pottermore house do you think you really belong in and why? Or do you think you belong in Slytherin house like Pansy was?
GENEVIEVE: The actress in me says ‘I want to belong to different houses at different times’. Is that allowed? ☺
GLITTER: Do you have any new projects coming up that you can tell us about?
GENEVIEVE: There are a few things I am very excited about. Stay tuned.
GLITTER: What positive message do you hope to send women who follow you?
GENEVIEVE: Be yourself, everyone else is taken.
GLITTER: Many women are coming forward in media and standing up for their rights as women. How important is this issue to you?
GENEVIEVE: I think it’s wonderful and I love it when men join in on the support. We need the good guys on our team.
GLITTER: Glitter has a Celebrity #SelfLoveCampaign, what’s self-love mean to you?
GENEVIEVE: Self-love to me means sleep, salad and skin care.
GLITTER: How can fans follow you?