Taking time off from her studies at the University Cambridge, and in between acting or directing stage productions, Georgina Henley, or Georgie, is the lead actress in the upcoming indie film “The Sisterhood of Night.” You’ll likely remember Henley from her role as Lucy Pevensie in the “Chronicles of Narnia” trilogy, which she began filming at the age of 10 until she was 15 years old.
Henley is 19 years old now. While she was in New York with her parents for the premiere of “Sisterhood,” she graciously agreed to speak with me over the phone about her starring role as Mary Warren, the seductive and rebellious American teenager beset by the perils of social media.
However, she didn’t intend to be the central character of this film.
“When I first read the script, I actually auditioned for Lavinia and Emily. I really wanted to be Mary, but I just didn’t think that I could play her. I just didn’t think I had that kind of confidence, or that kind of strange sexuality that she commands,” Henley said.
But casting offered her the leading role instead.
“I’ve always kind of identified more with the kind of dreamer or the outcast, but I was kind of excited by the challenge of taking on someone who was completely different from me,” Henley said.
Mary Warren, it turns out, has something in
“It’s never been really something that’s interested me, and I think that when I’m at university, I kind of spend a lot more time on my essays rather than procrastinate on Facebook,” Henley said with a chuckle.
And she lets her fans know about this reluctance to online communication the old-school way: with written notes.
“When I’m writing to my fans, I make it a point to reassure them that I don’t have any social media platforms, because I would hate for someone to be conversing with someone who they think is me, and it actually isn’t. That to me is actually a very, very scary situation that young people keep putting themselves into.”
In “The Sisterhood of Night” Mary decides to go off-line and selects other girls to join her. They form their own social network, if you will, one that is familiar to many, a girl’s secret society that meets in person, at night, and engages in secret activities — similar to the sort of things kids do from the privacy of their laptops today.
Emily Perris (Kara Hayward) desperately wants to be part of this club, but when she’s not invited, she makes up sinister stories online about what the sisterhood is up to. The gossip develops into a modern day Salem witch trial with the town, school administrators and guidance counselor (Kel Penn) getting involved in something they can’t quite understand until someone says three words, “It’s a cult.” Then they get sucked into the drama until it reaches a boiling point.
“I think it’s an important film for kids to see,” Henley said. “It’s important for parents to see, because it’s also about kids’ relationships with their parents and how social media can blur these boundaries.”
Henley may only be 19 years old, but her observations and outlook about this generation’s dependency on social media make her wise beyond her years.
“It’s a terrifying reality this strange reality we find ourselves in at the moment with this generation. This film explores some of those issues,” Henley said.
“The Sisterhood of Night” is based on the short story by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Steven Millhauser, and directed by Caryn Waechter and written by Marilyn Fu. In addition to Henley and Penn (“Harold and Kumar”), the film also stars Kara Hayward (“Moonrise Kingdom”), Olivia DeJonge (“The Visit”), Willa Cuthrell (“Whatever Works”) and Laura Fraser (“Breaking Bad”).
“The Sisterhood of Night” opens in theaters and VOD on April 10