03/20/2014 01:10 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Need for Speed and All Is By My Side Actress Imogen Poots on the Fusion of Music and Film

These questions originally appeared on Quora.
Answer by Imogen Poots, Actress, All Is By My Side and Need for Speed

Q: What is it like to have your film debut at the South by Southwest film festival?

A: It is so cool to have Jimi: All Is By My Side debut here because it's obviously a festival that fuses together music and film pretty seamlessly. This is a film that I feel embodies both professions and the story about music, so SXSW is the ideal place for it to be seen. 


Also, it's my first time here, and I've heard so many wonderful things. Everyone says this is their favorite festival, and you can see why. Even when I was walking around the other morning, you could see all the bars and the bands and the actors all in one place and it's just really great. You know, there's a sense of excitement, everyone is interested in what everyone else is doing. It's a great environment to find yourself in.

Q: Why has it been so difficult to get a film about Jimi Hendrix made?

A: First of all, I think a lot of people have trepidation about making a film about an icon. Additionally, you have to consider all the music rights and those potential obstacles. That said, Hendrix was so prolific and did an extensive amount of covers, so we were able to use many of those.


But, all that aside, I think the real concern with taking on an icon is people feel some sort of ownership with a figure like Hendrix: the fans, the family, and the people who were actually there. Then there's also the whole corporate side of it, which can turn into something pretty ugly.


I think the way John Ridley navigated through these obstacles was quite clever because he started off from a very human place. John believes that maybe not having all of Hendrix's music actually liberated the story in a way because he could focus on the man rather than the ribbons and bows or "the legend."

Q: Why have you been in so many films about music and/or music legends?

A: I think it probably has something to do with the fact that music, in terms of the profession and being involved in the music industry, is still something that is slightly exotic and foreign to me. At the same time, I'm drawn to these types of films because the musicians are these immense figures and are so seminal. You could look at a performer like Miley Cyrus and say alright, okay, so here is an artist that is product of our culture, but we perhaps can't see the relevance of this yet, you need hindsight for that. I really believe that.


What I love the most about Late Quartet is that I got insight in regard to the politics of being a musician. Being in something like a quartet and the idea that any one of those two violinists could've been the first violin rather than the second because everyone was just as capable. Also, you know the life of an artist. What are the repercussions of being a travelling artist, on your role as a mother. You know, JIMI really explores that too. The lives.


Greetings from Tim Buckley and Jimi: All Is By My Side are both era specific movies. Yes, I loved both musicians and yes, I wanted to be a part of something where the subject matter was about music, but anchored by the life of the artist, the values, the reality.

Q: What is it like being a part of an ensemble cast in a film or series?

A: I had such a great time making Jimi: All is By My Side. Working with that cast was a really cool experience. Andre is an ideal partner in crime for a film like this, and we spent a lot of time together before shooting. A lot of the qualities he brought to Jimi, I really believe that they exist within him; a large curiosity about the world around him, then and now, and in the future, you know this idea of what's next? And if what's next then what's 'now'. Hayley Atwell is just wonderful, and I think it's awesome that John Ridley wrote a story with such strong women and brought them to the attention of an audience willing to watch a Hendrix movie that's not entirely about Jimi. One might say that the movie is perhaps about the people in the side wings of the performance (hence the title: All is By My Side) brought to the forefront.

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