Laura Swift is a professional stunt-woman and Actress who has many entertaining projects to her name including the film “Pride & Prejudice & Zombies, “The Snowman,” and “Good Omens.” Aside from acting, Laura’s stunt-woman work will be soon seen in the likes of “Mission Impossible 6,” “Red Sparrow,” and “Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald.”

Aside from these cool projects, she is excited to be playing the lead character in the brand-new action-horror film titled “The Rizen.” Due for release in January of 2018, the movie chronicles Laura Swift’s character, Frances, as she leads a group of zombie apocalypse survivors to safety.

Laura recently granted an exclusive interview where she discussed her experiences as a stunt-woman and an actress as well as divulging her hopes and advice.

Stunt work, acting and performing

Meagan Meehan (MM): What sparked your interest in becoming an actress and what came first: doing stunts or the acting?

Laura Swift (LS): I just loved being able to immerse myself in another world that was very different from my day today. I grew up watching old classic Movies like “Gone with the Wind,” and I was so inspired by the performances I wanted to be able to do that too. The acting came first as I didn't really know much about stunt performing growing up, but I'd always been into sports. I sought out more physical roles as an actor for enjoyment but also as that's where my strengths as a performer were and so I began training for the stunt register.

MM: Where did the interest in being a stunt-woman come from initially?

LS: When I was a kid I'd always wanted to be a gladiator (and kind of still do although it's "American Ninja Warrior" now) since I thought it was the best job in the world. I've loved films and performing and always pushed myself to the limits physically.

I love a challenge, I love to train, and there's a real sense of achievement when you're on set performing a stunt both as a stunt double but also as a stunt team in a big sequence. I used to watch the stunt performers when I was on set as an actor and wish I got to do that too, so I made it happen.

MM: Can you tell us about some of your more recognized stunts and anything you’re especially proud of?

LS: I'm still very new to the stunt industry. I've only been qualified for The British Stunt Register for a year, but I've been very fortunate to have some great opportunities in that time and learn from the best and much more experienced performers. I've just been stunt doubling for Rosamund Pike on her new film out in Jordan which was an incredible experience. I got to learn how to WWE wrestling for an upcoming film called “Fighting With My Family.” I hadn't realized quite how incredibly athletic it was until I got taught how to dive over the top ropes of the ring, grab someone and throw them over my head! Most of my work isn't due out until 2018, so I can't give specific stunt details without spoiler alerts, but I can't wait to see everything I've worked on.

It's always amazing to see how a film comes together, I do watch the stunts but when you get to know the actors and crew you become invested in the whole project, and that's really exciting.

MM: Was it natural that you’d end up an actress, too, do you think?

LS: I love to perform, but I don't overly like attention, so I'm not sure I'm a natural actress. Some roles are too good to turn down, and I really enjoy the right role, but sometimes I'm happier just coming in to stunt double and doing what I call the fun stuff, basically getting thrown around and blown up, etc. and being able to go home without the pressure of learning lines and getting into the mindset of someone else. But there are some great physical roles, and if there's an opportunity for a character with emotional depth and a real journey where I really get to utilize all my skills, then that's worth putting myself out there and out of my comfort zone.

Movies, projects, and some advice

MM: How did “The Rizen” project come to you?

LS: Matt Mitchell, the director, found me on a casting site and asked me to come read for the role. I was working on “Fast & Furious 6” at the time and had quite a hectic schedule, but I loved the script so much especially the relationship between the three leads that I was grateful that I could audition on my one day off. I spent a long time reading the various scenes and chatting with Matt and the producer Clare, and we all got along so well they offered me the role the same afternoon.

MM: Can you please tell us about your character in “The Rizen”?

LS: Frances is super tough, she's been highly trained to serve a purpose, but there's a vulnerable side to her as well.

She forms some unlikely friendships with some very different characters and together they go on this journey through the tunnels. She's strong and determined and caring and can kick some serious behind!

MM: Does it go without saying that you love a good horror movie since you’ve performed in a few now?

LS: I actually don't really watch horror movies, I have an overactive imagination, so they terrify me for days if I do! Horror films are great to perform in though, there's usually some good action and great special effects and makeup. Lost Eye Films are very creative, and I love their work ethic. Both films I've done for them have had horror elements, but they've also had a strong female lead and interesting scripts so right up my street.

MM: To date, in your opinion, what has been the best part of working in the movie industry?

LS: I still can't believe people pay me to do what I love. Working in film and TV is the best job in the world! It's hard work but so rewarding. I've been lucky enough to work with some incredible people on the most amazing productions. One day I'm dressed as an Amazonian warrior fighting on the set of “Justice League” and the next I'm in a period costume and wig stunt doubling for Princess Margaret for series two of “The Crown.” Every day is different both in the environment and what I get to do but being around so many talented people are really inspiring, and every day I'm employed I'm so grateful for the opportunity.

MM: What’s coming up next and where do you see yourself and your career in ten years from now?

LS: As long as I'm still working in ten years I'll be happy. I'd love more opportunities to play a really physical character where I could act and perform my own stunts. Productions are taking more chances on projects with strong female roles now which is great. As for upcoming projects, I have too many to list here. All my upcoming work is listed on my IMDB page for anyone that wants to check it out, and there are some great and very varied projects I worked on coming soon. I'm excited about 2018!

MM: What advice would you give to someone who is aspiring to enter this industry, especially as a stunt-woman and actress?

LS: Work hard, stay true to yourself and really play to your strengths. It's a very competitive business but have fun with it and don't take the knockbacks personally. Learn from every experience and from people much more experienced than you. Make the most of every opportunity as so many jobs come from recommendations. You may not get every casting but if you do a good casting people remember.