Aftersun child star Frankie: 'I had never acted before this'

Frankie Corio
Frankie Corio said she laughed while watching herself with her friends at a screening of Aftersun

The star of a new big screen movie had never acted before she got her part as a young girl on an idyllic holiday with her father.

Twelve-year-old Frankie Corio from Livingston in West Lothian plays Sophie in Aftersun alongside Bafta winner Paul Mescal.

She won the part after her photograph was sent by her mum Leona to a casting agent which had published an advert seeking tomboyish girls aged between 10 and 12.

Frankie explains: "I had not been trying to get into acting.

"My mum just came home one day and said 'I've put you up for a casting audition thing,' and I was like 'cool'.

"I understood what it was but I didn't think I was going to get it."

Frankie Corio with Paul Mescal
Frankie Corio with Paul Mescal spent two weeks together before filming so they could get used to each other

In the film character Sophie is the daughter of Calum, a young man with mental health issues, who is played by Mescal.

The adult Sophie, played by Celia Rowlson-Hall, reminisces about a holiday to a Turkish resort with her dad 20 years previously.

The scenes Frankie did as the young Sophie were shot on location in Turkey during the summer last year.

'Wow, she is really acting'

Her mum, father Frank, 44, sister Mariella, 13, and brother Lorenzo, six, stayed with her for the full two months of filming.

Primary teacher Leona said she felt so proud watching her daughter.

The 40-year-old told BBC Scotland: "Francesca had a chaperone all the time and they were really relaxed, I could come and go on set.

"My husband and I took turns going on set but we also wanted to give her a bit of space to be herself and to build up a relationship with Paul.

"We gave them a bit of freedom and we also didn't want to come across as pushy parents."

Frankie Corio with Paul Mescal
The film revolves around a young Scottish father on a package holiday to Turkey with his daughter sometime in the late 1990s

Leona said she had been in "disbelief" when she heard her daughter had won the part.

"Everyone said how natural her acting is. In her real life she is very expressive so to see her playing it really calm and not going over the top it was like 'wow, she is really acting'."

Frankie enjoyed making the film except for one thing - singing.

In one scene she was on stage in front of a crowd having to perform REM's "Losing My Religion".

"I hated it, I hated every moment. I hated the song and having to sing. There were a lot of people there.

"I got through it by pretending I was Sophie, my character. I did it for all my scenes, I just acted like I was someone else."

'Paul taught me to play pool'

Frankie spent two weeks getting to know Mescal - who played Connell in Normal People - before filming started.

"We went swimming in the sea, played pool and ate ice-cream," she said.

"I had no training apart from learning to play pool for some scenes. Paul taught me to play pool," Frankie added.

Frankie Corio with Paul Mescal
Paul Mescal plays divorced dad, Calum

Although she feels she is quite similar to her movie character, Frankie spelled out the differences.

She said: "I'm not as embarrassing as her like singing karaoke and also jumping in the pool with my shoes on - a bit of an odd decision.

"But sometimes I never saw it as acting, it was just hanging out saying lines instead of seeing it like acting."

To help her through she picked up tips by watching her favourite actress, Millie Bobby Brown in Stranger Things.

'Great film'

Her friends in Scotland have been very supportive and were "so excited" when she took them to a screening.

And she felt "very proud" when she heard her teachers were planning a night out to the cinema to see it.

The film, which opened the Edinburgh International Film festival this year, is directed by Charlotte Wells and goes on UK cinema release on Friday.

Frankie said: "I think it's a very great film. I'm also very proud of being a Scottish actor and hopefully it makes more Scottish actors.

"I want to continue being an actress when I grow up. It's fun getting to play someone you're not."