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Metro: 60 Seconds With Toyah Willcox

October 28th, 2015

metro15aToyah was interviewed earlier this month, in Metro‘s “60 Seconds With”, discussing Aaaaaaaah! and more.

The actress and singer, 57, is starring in a dark British comedy where all the characters act like wild apes.

Your new film, Aaaaaaaah!, is brilliantly bonkers. Why did you say yes to a movie about humans behaving like apes?
It was a clever. well structured, brilliant script with absolutely no respect for anything. It was fabulously complex and incredibly rewarding to do. But I never thought, ‘What the hell have I got myself into?’ because it was a team of really great comedians (including Julian Rhind-Tutt and Julian Barrett) and so they had licence to do something as mad as this.

How do you describe it to your friends?
The first thing I say is, ‘Don’t go and see it!’ I’m 57, so my friends aren’t that much older than me. I said, ‘If you can’t handle vomit, poo, semen, gratuitous sex and gratuitous violence, this isn’t for you,’ and they say, ‘Oh God we’ve got to see this film!’

What was the maddest scene?
It was a kitchen scene. I cook for my husband (musician Robert Fripp) three times a day and so to do the cooking scene was very natural. But to do it where there are no social norms and no hygiene is a very different thing. To do a cookery scene while watching telly with one of the most brilliant interpretations of food porn I’ve ever seen and then to take a crap in the corner – I just thought it was utter genius…

What were your inspirations?
The Jeremy Kyle Show, because people come looking their worst and behave their worst. The idea was to take it a stage further; if you take language, education and culture away, what would happen? So it has incredible social comment.

What else are you up to?
I’m gigging. I do about four shows a week. There’s Toyah Acoustic, which is hugely successful, probably because my age group now like to sit down and watch a show. And Toyah Electric, which is the punk rock stuff, though you can hear everyone creaking as they pogo. But it’s a lot of fun. And I’m in a film called Lies We Tell, with Gabriel Byrne. The cast is mainly from Delhi, it’s a Bollywood-cast show in Bradford.

What are fans surprised to find out about you?
That I drive myself to venues. People ask, ‘Where’s your entourage?’ And I say, ‘I don’t want one.’ People think I would turn up with a chauffeur and I couldn’t think of anything I would want less. They’d distract you. I prefer to travel alone.

I take it you don’t like social media then?
Can’t stand it.

And what makes you happy?
I absolutely love to have solitude when I need it – that’s to do with mental happiness.

Any childhood obsessions?
All my life I’ve had white rabbits as pets.

Childhood nicknames?
I had one leg longer than the other when I was younger – my legs have been made the same length now – so I was called Hop-A-Long.

Oh dear!
There was worse than that. I was overweight and I was called Barrel. I come from Birmingham, which has never been politically correct, so those names were signs of affection.

I hear you were into aliens as a kid
Yeah, I’m interested in anything that pushes the boundaries of reality. I’m convinced we’re sold reality as a control mechanism. I’m absolutely convinced that we are conscious for 70 to 80 years but then we move into a different consciousness. Therefore, why shouldn’t aliens exist? I used to live in Sailsbury where UFOs were spotted all the time but God knows what the military got up to.

Have you ever had any predictive dreams?
I’ve had acting jobs recently that I dreamt about when I was a teenager. There’s one I’m waiting to happen because it was so real I can’t believe it won’t happen. Five years ago I collapsed after having a hip replacement. While I was unconscious, I dreamt I was in New York starring in a medical TV drama. It was so detailed. I actually thought when I was revived in the hospital that that was the dream. I was the lead doctor and about ten years older than I am now. If that ever comes along, I’m taking it.