Georgia King (Vice Principles) stars in the new comedy, First One In, about an unemployed former reality show contestant (Kat Foster) who teams up with a group of misfit tennis players in a match against a tightly-wound real estate agent (King). The film is definitely a fun time and King is great as the “crazy” Bobbi Mason. “Those characters that have such strength and power and confidence are really exciting to play,” she said.
In this interview, King – who is British – talks about her flawless American accent, her role in the film and why she almost lost out on the very first role she booked because of an emergency surgery.
How are you dealing with things in these crazy times?
Georgia King: It’s such a strange thing for everyone. I’ve been very lucky. I started to really get into writing and was very fortunate to sell my first job at the end of last year. So, I actually felt really inspired to writing. I was like, “Man, I want to dedicate a big chunk of time and really sink my teeth into that.” And then, during quarantine, I’m like, “Alright, this Is It. This is the time to go forward.” So, I’ve been working on a few projects. I’ve got a couple things in the works with a couple of friends. I’m working on something on my own. Just noodling away. I’ve been just trying to lose myself in creative stories and its definitely been keeping me sane.
I watched the movie last night. I thought you were great.
Georgia King: Thank you so much. Yeah, Bobbi, she’s crazy. I was so delighted and excited. You know, those characters that have such strength and power and confidence are really exciting to play. I mean, she’s the obstacle for Kat Foster’s character so she has a lot of issues as you saw. Her competitive nature is ferocious and it was just really fun.
I love sports, so it was fun to tap into my own competitiveness from when I was a kid and played in school teams and whatnot. I haven’t really felt any of those feelings… You know, when you’re younger and had to win, your team had to win. I was quite fun to kind of go back to that time in my life and just like ramp that up and go to volume eleven.
Bobbi just has to be a winner. In my mind, she was probably was an outsider and didn’t think she was appreciated and just didn’t feel like a winner. And I think the notion of winning is such an interesting thing too. What is a win to somebody? So, Bobbi is the most literal sense of winning that trophy above anything else. Which means that she doesn’t have friends, doesn’t have relationship. She’s all about being in control, being the top dog and showing everyone else. Peacocking. I don’t know if that’s a term or not.
It is, yeah.
Georgia King: I’m like I’m terrible with American vernacular and then now and then just like, “Oh no!”
Were you approached for this part or did you have to audition?
Georgia King: I was approached for it. I was offered it, which is such a wonderful thing to have. So, when I started reading it, I was like, “Oh, I get to really have some fun and step into a character that I will have to dig deep to find her ruthless qualities.”
It was a blast working with the director, Gina O’Brien, and all of the cast. And it was really interesting to not actually get to interact with a bunch of the women until we were up against each other. It was kind of unusual. I wasn’t super close with the opposite team. I didn’t have scenes with them and so when we actually did come to play against each other, I was like, “Who are you?” It was a wonderful group of people and a really fun dynamic.
Did you know how to play tennis before you did this?
Georgia King: Oh, gosh. Vaguely. I can pick things up pretty quickly, but tennis is such a mind game. It’s so interesting, if you are competitive and if you don’t have a strong mind, tennis can really mess with you.
That was another thing that was such a bonus is that was getting tennis lessons. That was thrilling. We had the coolest coach. I mean truly literally the coolest coach. He was a Parisian gentleman and had a diamond in one of his teeth. He’s like the essence of cool and he’s also an amazing, patient teacher. It was really a cool opportunity to learn a skill also.
Your accent is almost flawless. I mean, in everything you do. You sound more American than I do.
Georgia King: Thank you so much! Honestly, when someone tells me that the accent is OK, that’s a huge relief. I never want that to be distracting and take away from the story. So, that’s a huge relief to hear that.
Do you stay in your American accent between scenes?
Georgia King: Sometimes. I think I didn’t initially. My first job that I played an American was actually, The New Normal, which is what actually brought me to LA back in 2012. I assumed I would get an accent coach and then I I didn’t have one, nor did I have the money to pay for one myself. So, sheer panic helped me get my accent to a pretty good place.
I was so nervous about not being good at American that I just studied so hard. And then I had a lot of patient American friends that would listen to me in the beginning. I would only do the lines for that show, I was so embarrassed and so nervous about staying in the accent. I just couldn’t relax and lose myself in it.
And then I booked a few things American things and I kept on doing it that way. But then I did the HBO show Vice Principals and they were like, “Hey, this is with Danny McBride and Walton Goggins and some really amazing comedians, so they’ll improvise a lot.” And I played an American with them and I immediately thought, “I better be good enough that I can just roll with them and just go. If they want to fly, I’ll try and keep up.”
And so I had this notion that I would stay in American for that job that was my big plan. I had a month to before I flew to Charleston to make that show. And I was so excited and so ready for the anticipation of staying American the whole time. And the first day on set, I said ‘Good morning’ to Danny McBride and he was like, “What are you doing?” I immediately dropped my American accent. I was like, “Ha, ha! Just kidding!” I bailed. I just couldn’t do it.
But in the last few years, I’ve actually found it to really helpful. Oddly, it’s not just sounding American. I somehow use more American terminology, so if I am improvising, the feels a little bit more authentic too.
I think I did stay in American for a lot of the time on this movie. It also depends on what time of day you ask me that question. By the end of a long filming day, I’m like too tired to do it.
I read that one of the very first parts you booked, something for Jane Eyre, you almost couldn’t do? You had to go into surgery or something like that?
Georgia King: Oh, yeah. I almost died actually. I actually didn’t plan on having an acting career. I mean, I love it and I’m so in love with it and can’t get over that I get to do this as a job. But I was like, “Oh, I’m gonna get out there and I’m gonna study. I’m gonna be a director and writer.” I had a year off before I went to college and in that year I started acting.
This was my first audition and I booked it. I was like, “Oh my Lord, this is amazing!” I had a beautiful little role in the last episode of this 4-episode mini-series. We did the first section of my filming and I was like, “Oh, I’m in love with it. I’m in trouble because I wanna do this more.”
And then my stomach was hurting.. Luckily, I was visiting my mom and dad and I went to the doctor and they all the tests and things and then they sent me home. I guess this is a bit embarrassing, but they said they said I was constipated. I was like, “Really?” Because I was in a lot of pain. And they gave me some medicine and they said, “Go home, you’ll be fine.”
And so I went home and then my appendix burst. But, then they saved my life and they were absolutely amazing. I can’t believe it. They were incredible. And then I was in hospital and it was pretty bad. They worked little miracles.
And I should have probably stayed horizontal for a little bit more time, but I was told if I didn’t get out of the hospital bed and get up to the North of England that they would be forced to recast the role. Filming is crazy, you know because the schedules and the locations and whatnot. So, I asked the doctor if they would sign a release form and please let me like continue doing something that I wanted to do so badly and they did. They let me.
But it’s kind of funny if you watch if you watch his little thing… I go from being like pretty slim to Casper the Ghost.
What’s been your worst audition?
Georgia King: So many. One of my worst was… This was in England, shortly after I was cast in Jane Eyre. I think like a little while later I had the flu and I was auditioning for… I think I was like killing vampires in this scene. And I was like trying to look well. I had a glossy look to me.
After I did the scene, I was given a broomstick and I wasn’t quite sure what was happening. They were like, “Great. Now we just need to see you kill some vamps for us.” And I remember just like trying to do that and my head was spinning. Snot was shooting out of my nostrils. That was pretty bad. I should have stayed in bed.
And then, when I first came here for pilot season, I didn’t have time to read… If I’m given any material, I really want to read it obviously. I didn’t know what pilot season was, so I didn’t understand how many scripts there would be.
I had an horror film to audition for and I didn’t have time to read it all. I was told you’ll only do the first couple scenes. And then it turned out I was doing all four and the last two scenes I hadn’t even read. And I was in the room trying to sight read them. The casting director said, “Would you like to go under the chair or on the floor for this one?” I was like, “Oh, f—. I don’t know….” I said, “I’m gonna go with the floor please.” I started sight reading, “Come on! Come on! Oh, no, daddy’s dead!”. Having these like awful delayed reactions to this intense material.
Yeah, I’ve never put myself in that position again. I read all the scenes before I go in.
‘First One In’ will be available to stream on all platforms on 9/8