Leila Kotori is a British born actress, who studied screen acting at Redroofs Theatre School, since 2008 she has appeared in numerous film and TV productions. Her most recent accomplishments include being cast as the lead in ‘Human‘ the multi award winning short by Patrick Ryder, feature films ‘Set me Free’ (released 2016) by Kris Smith, ‘Fighting Heart’ (2017 release) by Lee Hampton and ‘Palatable’ (in production) by Hartfelt media Ltd.

Behind the screen Leila has written and Co – produced the concept film ‘Blame’ (Hartfelt Media ltd) as well as just taking on the role of Producer for the feature ‘Magic is Murder’ (pre-production 2019).

We had the pleasure of having her at our studio in order to take her new acting headshots. We caught up with Actor, Leila Kotori to find out what inspires her work and love for performing arts.

When did you take interest in acting?

I have always had an interest in performing from an early age, but I did not seriously consider becoming an actor until later in my early 20’s. In my teens I had put it down to a dream only and so went off to pursue a academic career, it was only once in university that I was hit with a gut instinct that I had to try at acting.

It was crazy because I was in my first year of a BSc in Geography and Archaeology and here I was wanting to become a film and TV actor! I did finish my degree, whilst taking on as many theatre performances as I could to get some good practice in before heading off to drama school.

Following my instinct was the best thing I ever did, I have to act, being creative is just part of who I am.

Whose work has influenced you the most?

I am influenced by so many, not just the greats that grace our screens but also those who work tirelessly in the independent film market, just trying to make their way in the business! Of those I consider great are people like Angelina Jolie, Rachel Weisz, Nicole Kidman, Quentin Tarantino, Spielberg, Helen Mirren….the list could go on.

How was your experience as lead in Human ?

I absolutely loved working with Patrick Ryder on this film, he is such a creative genius and every film he produces is of the highest quality. This film was really heart warming and such a different take on the typical sci-fi, and it has been loved by so many. It really is a privilege to have been part of such a wonderful film that just keeps on giving, nearly 1 million views on youtube!

Human - Patrick Ryder
Human - Patrick Ryder

As an actor, what film genre do you see working in the future?

Personally I would love to get involved in the action/adventure, or some action/sci-fi, they are my favourite type of films to watch and so I am going to make it my mission for that to happen!

What advice would you give to an amateur actor starting out into acting?

Get what experience you can whether that is through Am-Dram groups, creating your own piece of theatre/film, getting involved in student films, practising and self taping monologues. There is always something out there that you can work on and grow from, and if you can’t find anything then create it yourself.

It takes time to build up credits and to get on the productions that will eventually lead to paid work, it is a tough industry with massive rejection, but if you have the passion for acting then don’t ever let that stop you from pursuing your dream.

Do you step out of your comfort zone to be creative?

Absolutely. It is impossible to grow and learn without challenging yourself. This is not just for creatives but for life in general, if you do not push yourself you will never succeed at what you are truly capable of. Too many stay within their comfort zone out of fear, as a creative I do not get that luxury of feeling safe, the future is always unknown, but for me that is what makes life exciting.

Taking risks and big challenges forces you to go inside yourself and pull out the best of you, with each obstacle you become better and the rewards can be so high.

TV series vs films, which one is your favourite and why?

Many moons ago I would have said movies every time, but recent years with the rise big budget TV series, Netflix and amazon prime I am torn. I like the fact with a series you can get to know the characters more, but there is an exciting thrill element of seeing an amazing one off film! I can’t pick, it’s too hard haha!

What are your plans for this year?

This year I have a few acting parts coming up, the most exciting is ‘Tribal – Get out Alive’ (Wildstyle productions), this is a feature film, I can’t say too much but I can’t wait to get started. For updates please check the facebook page. 

Otherwise I am co-producing the feature film ‘Magic is Murder’ as well as having a small role.

I am also writing. I am currently working on a short horror that will have an almost all female cast, once complete I will be looking to bring on a producer and director for this. I am always looking to do something, so if it is not coming my way then I will create it myself, I am not afraid to work hard for what I want.

Can you tell us a little bit more about ‘Magic is Murder’?

Magic is Murder is based on the novel by Simon O’Neill, it is a campy British horror comedy in the style of Carry On, Monty Python, Blackadder all wrapped up in a Hammer Film. It will include some of Cornish folklore and scenery that is unique to the southwest of England. We are still in the process of casting and securing the remaining funds but we are well underway into development with the hope to start filming this summer.

Leila Kotori - Human - Patrick Ryder
Leila Kotori - Human - Patrick Ryder

It was an absolute pleasure chatting with you, Leila! Please make sure you follow her work on www.leilakotori.com and Instagram. If you’d like to ask her some more questions please use the comments section below.