Interview: Siena Kelly On Leading BBC Three’s New Supernatural Drama, Domino Day

By Olivia Emily

4 months ago

Domino Day kicks off on 31 January


This week (31 January), a brand new supernatural drama is coming to BBC Three: Domino Day. Starring Siena Kelly in the title role, we follow a modern witch who hunts for her victims on dating apps. We sat down with Siena to hear all about it.

Interview: Siena Kelly On Domino Day

Siena Kelly in an outfit of embroidered leaves

Hi Siena, how’s life going at the moment?

Hi! It’s going good! Just getting back into the swing of things after Christmas.

You’re about to star in the new BBC series, Domino Day – can you give us an elevator pitch for the show?

It’s a high stakes, high emotions, dark, sexy, pacy, chaotic supernatural show about a woman learning to accept herself and find a community.

You play Domino – how would you describe her? 

Domino is an unbelievably powerful and dangerous witch, but is also deeply lonely, confused, insecure, isolated, filled with shame and desperately wants acceptance. I loved the friction of all those traits existing in her.

What was it like playing her?

It was so challenging and real. Domino is an exhausting part because the stakes are almost constantly life and death. To live in that level of stress for months required a lot of focus and discipline from me. I had to live like a monk to make sure I was able to deliver the performance required and get through the relentless schedule.

How did you get into character/prepare for the role?

I made a Spotify playlist. Music really helps me tap into emotional headspaces. It was a lot of very hardcore techno. Techno makes me feel really unbalanced and frenzied, which felt perfect for Domino. I also looked at some Art House horror and supernatural films for reference – Raw, The Five Devils, Pearl, Only Lovers Left Alive, Bones and All. I wanted to see examples of supernatural and gore where it is steeped in reality. I thought those movies were fucking excellent. I also wanted to feel physically strong so that I believed myself as a powerful witch, so at 4am before work I would be in the gym or doing a yoga class. But the most useful thing for me is to go through the script extremely slowly, several times with a fine tooth comb and figure out what her intentions, insecurities and dreams are. Scripts change on a daily basis in TV, so you have to come to set with an openness and playfulness.

Any funny stories from rehearsals or filming?

The rest of the main cast and I had been in the same room in this really, really eerie house for about a week. We had to keep repeating this same spell and we felt like we were losing our minds. Somehow we turned it into a song and started doing some crazy vocals with it. We sang all together non stop for over 20 minutes and it was getting louder and stranger by the second. I think the crew were very scared of us that day.

You’ve also starred in the likes of Vanity Fair and Adult Material, but what has been your favourite project to date?

I’ve got a few actually! I worked at Regents Park Open Air Theatre a while ago and that theatre is so exciting to work in simply because its outside. There is so much that can and does go wrong so everyday felt like an adventure. Such a unique experience. I was in the first production of A Christmas Carol at The Old Vic years ago and that was such a beautiful and special show – I understand why it’s still running. I’ve worked with Lucy Kirkwood twice, on Adult Material and That Is Not Who I Am at the Royal Court; she is one of my all time favourite writers and a brilliant person, so anytime I get to play her characters is an absolute delight.

Any roles in the pipeline that you’re excited about? (If you’re allowed to tell us!)

There is a role that I am very very excited about that I’m not allowed to announce it yet. I was a massive fan of the show before I joined so I am thrilled to be a part of it. We finished filming in December. It was the funniest, lightest, chillest set I’ve ever been on. But that’s as much as I can tell you.

Who has been your favourite actor to work with in the past?

Ollie Johnstone. He’s not a famous screen actor, he mainly works in theatre. He’s excellent. We were in a production of Cat on A Hot Tin Roof together – I played Maggie the Cat and he played Brick. He was acting circles around me most of the time! So present, open, playful and deeply connected.

Which co-star did you learn the most from?

I was so inspired by Babirye Bukilwa, who plays Sammie in Domino Day. They are on this quest for freedom and true connection – as am I. Listening to them talk is quite something. One of my favourite people to have chat for hours with.

What’s your dream role?

I don’t have a specific dream role. But I’d love to be involved in something or play something outrageous and camp and silly.

What’s a genre you’d like to do more of?

I’d love to try and strengthen my comedy muscles. Preferably in a play first, because you get the immediate feedback if it worked or not. I’ve done a lot of very serious and intense roles, and I’d like to do something lighter.

Do you get to spend much time at home?

When I’m not filming, I get to spend a lot of time at home. I like to stay in separate accommodation when I’m filming so I can focus all my attention on my work. I’m very easily distracted at home. But if I’m in a play or unemployed, then I’m at home.

Do you live in the town or the country? Which do you prefer?

I live in a city. I’ve always lived in the city. I can feel myself starting to fall in love with the countryside more and more. But I’d need to build a brand new community which always deters me from relocating.

What’s your interior design style?

I need things to be organised because my brain is very cluttered and I am always running late. So streamlining everything is great for me. But I don’t like things to look bare and everything hidden away. Lots of light. Lots of blues and whites and yellows. Second hand, vintage and reupholstered pieces are my favourite. I don’t like a polished look.

How do you find balance in your personal and work lives?

I am figuring that out myself right now. When I work, it’s very consuming because of the hours and the requirements of the job. So I have no social life at all during work. I’ve recently started getting better at setting boundaries. After I wrapped on Domino Day, I took three months off. I told my agent to not send me a single audition. I went to Jamaica, I went on Wim Hof’s retreat, I did Vipassana (which is a 10 day silent meditation). I’m studying to be a Yoga teacher in May because I don’t want acting to be my only form of expression and financial income. I’m OK with throwing myself into work, because I only ever do short contracts and I’m starting to trust myself more that I won’t immediately throw myself into another job and instead will take time to make memories with my loved ones.

What did you want to be when you were growing up?

A dancer. I wanted to dance on Broadway.

If you could give advice to your 15-year-old self, what would it be?

Your life will start when you leave this school.

How can we all live a little bit better?

This is especially for people who menstruate, but period pants have changed my life. The environmental impact of feminine hygiene products is shocking. It’s estimated that over 20 billion pads and tampons get dumped into landfill every year. These pants are so comfortable and they truly, truly work. I will never go back to using single use period products ever again. So if you menstruate – give period pants a try. It’s a very low maintenance way to do something positive for the planet. I think caring for the health of the planet and trying to get back in sync with it is a way to live a little better.

Anything fun in the pipeline – professionally or personally?

I’m really excited for my Yoga Teacher Training Course. I’m also going sky diving for my birthday which I’ve never done before. And I’m also going on a four day Wild Woman Camp Out which I am really intrigued to do.

Siena in a patch of sun in a green top and overshirt

Siena Kelly Recommends…

I’m currently watching… Hullraisers on Channel 4. It’s hilarious.

What I’m reading… Brazil That Never Was by A.J Lees and Ritual Wellness: Adaptogens by Adriana Ayales

The last thing I watched (and loved) was… Maestro

What I’m most looking forward to seeing… Poor Things

Favourite film of all time… That’s an impossible question for me.

Favourite song of all time… ‘Les Fleurs’ by Minnie Riperton

Band/singer I always have on repeat… Beyoncé

My ultimate cultural recommendation… Cook a Vegan Jamaican recipe form Denai Moore’s cookbook, Plentiful.

Cultural guilty pleasure… I don’t feel guilty about it but I know I’m in the minority of people who love musicals!

What’s next for me is… Deepening my close relationships. Creating more brilliant core memories. Going on adventures.

WATCH

Siena Kelly stars in Domino Day, which begins on Wednesday 31 January at 9pm on BBC Three, with new episodes airing weekly. Catch up on BBC iPlayer.