It is always great to hear the origin stories of celebrities, from their rising moments to their glorious prime years. For Canadian rising star, Holly de Barros, it is the start of her first film and career! And what better way to start one’s aspirations than by starring in the latest horror film, Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City. She will be taking on the role of the iconic Resident Evil character, Sherry Birkin, most notably introduced in the video game, Resident Evil 2.
Her acting school skills and inspirations all drive her to continue pursuing a vast, explorative career in acting. She shares her thoughts on what it meant to really find her style with Sherry and hearing about the initial reactions of receiving her first role ever. Her serious commitment to acting comes from her ability to be open to taking on any role within any genre—and it shows. CGMagazine had a quick chat with Holly de Barros about her portrayal of Sherry Birkin, along with her passion and hobbies found throughout the pandemic and potential future plans.
CGMagazine: What motivated you to take on the character of Sherry Birkin for this film?
Holly de Barros: This was one of my first parts, so I was just really excited to get a part in general, I also got Sherry, which was really cool. I thought, I don’t know why, but I thought her character is really funny because she was so innocent in a way. And I don’t know why, funny because Resident Evil is so scary and thrilling all the time. But Sherry’s just keeps her innocence, I feel like, and I really liked that! So, I thought it was really unique, so that’s why I kind of wanted to play her.
CGMagazine: Did you want to play the Sherry Birkin role as the character in the games or did you want to take the character and bring a little bit of yourself into the role?
Holly de Barros: I tried my best to be everything like Sherry could be because I know the fans probably want like actors who are very similar to the game. So, I tried to portray Sherry as much as I could. I guess I put a tiny bit of a twist into it, but I think I mostly tried to actually portray Sherry. I just thought it would be more fun to be more real to the games.
CGMagazine: And what was the biggest challenge about taking on this role?
Holly de Barros: This one is kind of weirdly specific, but Sherry has a really high voice! So, I tried to have a bit more of a high-pitched voice. I suck at like voice acting and stuff. Trying to make a higher-pitched voice was actually really hard, but I like to think I did okay.
CGMagazine: Back in January, there was that Instagram post of the iconic Sherry Birkin cardigan and read on the tag, “Sherry Approved.” What were your initial thoughts? You know, getting that, seeing that and knowing full well, you’re taking on this role.
Holly de Barros: I liked that question. I wanted to answer this. I practised in the shower once when I was pretending a fake interview. I was like…I don’t know. I asked my publicist if I could even post it, because I had a bunch of photos from when I was on set. I think my favourite one was that photo, specifically because my nails looked really nice, and I thought I was a hand model. So, I was like ‘I can post this’! I could show off my amazing hands because maybe I’d get a modelling job, but I don’t know.
I just posted it because I was allowed to, and I didn’t think anyone would really tie the fact that I was Sherry Birkin. So, I posted it, and then it was a month later, I think I was on my Instagram feed, and someone said, ‘Holly de Barros is playing Sherry Birkin’! And I was like, how did you even find this? I could’ve been playing any other Sherry in a movie. How did you figure this out? It wasn’t on my IMDB or anything. It was so weird. I started freaking out because I thought ‘what do they know?’ I was so surprised by how quickly they found out, no one told anyone anything. And they’re just like, ‘oh yeah, Sherry, that must be Sherry Birkin’.
CGMagazine: Who do you go for on set for inspiration or some sage wisdom, for a good laugh, and for decompressing?
Holly de Barros: I definitely went to Kaya [Scodelario] for a bit of inspiration. I really like her acting style. I find that really unique. I’ve always admired her as an actress, so it was really cool seeing her and learning from her. I think to get a laugh I would go to Avan [Jogia] he’s really funny, especially because he was in Victorious and I loved him in Victorious. I still watch it and I grew up with Victorious—I love Victorious! So, I would always go to him, and he was even kind of funny in Resident Evil. He’s like comic relief I feel like. And then…hmm…I think I would go to Robbie for the last one. He’s very, he’s very nice. He is a really genuine person, which is really cool. I don’t know. He’s just, he’s just a great person.
CGMagazine: What or who were some of the inspirations growing up for you that pushed you towards acting?
Holly de Barros: I think I’m gonna say this in every single interview, but I think Liz [Elizabeth] Gillies, she’s always been my favourite. She’s so good at playing mean rules, just really mean. I don’t know why I’ve always wanted to play a character who was very mean, so I thought she was really great inspiration. She’s really funny. And I really liked her in Victorious and I also really like her in Dynasty. I also really like Dove Cameron. She was on Liv and Maddie and that’s what inspired me to do acting. I was watching Liv and Maddie, and I thought, I wanted to do that. She definitely was one of the main reasons I’ve started acting just because she was in Liv and Maddie, and she was really good—I wanted to play Liv and Maddie’s third sister.
CGMagazine: When there was the initial pandemic lockdown, what did you end up doing with your spare time, pick up a new hobby or learn new skills?
Holly de Barros: I really started getting into writing. I’ve always liked writing. I did a writing class and I really liked it as it was for film. And I don’t really think I’m smart enough to write entire film, but I just thought the idea was really fun, so I started writing. I have a couple books that I wrote, but I don’t think I’m going to do anything with them—they’re 300 pages! I don’t know what to do with them, I just have them! I’ve also wrote two short films, which again, I don’t think I’m going to do anything with, but it’s still fun to imagine in like 10 years I can look back on them and think, ‘oh cool, I did that. I spent two years on that, but whatever’. So, I liked writing, and then I also really started getting into…this one might be really weird, but I have a weird obsession with candles. I’m pretty sure I have 30 candles. I don’t know why, they just smell good.
CGMagazine: Since you love writing, are you also an avid reader?
Holly de Barros: I don’t even really like reading that much. I just really like writing, which I feel is so weird, but umm…actually oh wait—a book I do really enjoy reading is Scarlet and Ivy by Sophie Cleverly. That book series is really good, but I do like mystery and crime genre. Those are really cool. Also, I like horror and fantasy, sometimes fantasy is really neat as well.
CGMagazine: And if the Scarlet and Ivy book series were to be adopted into a movie or TV show, would that be something you would like to take on?
Holly de Barros: I feel like you’re asking all the questions that I’ve always ever been wanted to ask! I always really wanted to play Scarlet or Ivy in Scarlet and Ivy. I think I look like them in a way kind of, they have red hair, but, you know, I think I can become a red head. I just think Ivy is very kind while Scarlet’s very mean and what’s the word, more like a daredevil. So, I guess I would prefer to play Scarlet, but Ivy is also really cool. I’m saying this like I’m going to get the part, but I think it would be really cool to play either of them because Scarlet and Ivy was a really mystery kind of genre and I think playing a part in a mystery movie would be really neat.
CGMagazine: So, what would you like to do in terms of future projects for the next five to 10 years?
Holly de Barros: I don’t really know. Because I want to play any part in any genre, but one I’m really trying to think about is probably comedy. I want to learn more about comedy because I feel like comedy scripts are so interesting. You have to know the perfect timing and when to do everything and how to say something a certain way. And I think that that would be really cool to figure out—it would definitely be a hard job—but still fun to learn, I guess.
CGMagazine: And finally, what is a final message you would love to leave your fans and people with?
Holly de Barros: I want to sound really cool, but, I don’t know what to say. I want to sound like a motivational speaker, but I can’t think of anything that’s original. Hmm…maybe…don’t think about what others might think of you. I feel like everyone says that, but it’s really good. I feel like once you stop thinking about what others say, it really just helps your mindset. So that’s probably, that’s probably it.
CGMagazine: Thank you again so much, Holly.
Holly de Barros: Thank you!