The camera loves her, she hits her marks, she knows how to improv a line – and she seems to have an uncanny understanding of the subtext of a scene.
She’s also the darling of the crew and a good sport who doesn’t mind the long waits between ‘blocking’ and lighting setups – and doesn’t throw any tantrums over going a little overtime to nail a scene.
In fact, young Sophia Bosley is just about the perfect all-round player for a television movie project, with one slight proviso – at just eight months old, she’s not quite ready for the more mature roles.
But the White Rock baby is proving a delight for the production company currently filming Strange Magic in Vancouver and Victoria locations for airing on the Lifetime channel later this year.
It’s an unauthorized biography of legendary Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling, detailing her rise from impoverished single mom to one of the richest women in the world.
Jeffrey Berman and Tony Caballero’s screenplay, based on the book J.K. Rowling – A Biography by Sean Smith follows Joanne (Jo) Rowling from her childhood, through the devastating loss of her mother and a disastrous marriage to a Portuguese boyfriend, to single motherhood, through which she perseveres with her dream of writing even while struggling to make ends meet.
Cast as J.K.’s daughter Jessica, Sophia has the important job of helping sell the gritty realities of the author’s early life as depicted in the film – with locations in Vancouver and Victoria filling in for London and Edinburgh.
Her patience, even temperament and co-operative nature have proven ideal for the scenes featuring the younger Jessica – and even proud parents Rob and Cheryl Bosley say they are also amazed at how well Sophia has picked up on the emotions required.
That includes bursting into tears with perfect timing for a tense dramatic scene between Rowling (Poppy Montgomery) and her first husband, Jorge (Antonio Cupo).
“When they said (the camera) was rolling she started crying, “ Cheryl said. “They’ve started calling her ‘One Take Sophie.’”
In another scene – of Rowling and Jessica travelling to Edinburgh by train –Sophia’s wistful stare to one side was just right for the sad nature of the moment, Rob related.
“For 10 minutes she just stared out of the window,” he said. “When the scene was done, the director – Paul A. Kaufman – turned away from the monitor and said to me ‘that’s the best baby I’ve ever worked with in my entire career.’”
Sophia also entranced Montgomery – a mother herself in real life – who took the trouble to meet and bond with Sophia days before the cameras were set to turn.
“The crew are absolutely crazy about her, calling her munchkin and muffin,” said Cheryl. “We’re allowed to go in to the set while they’re setting up the scene and the camera crew loves her – you’ll see these guys sitting on the floor playing with her before the scene. The producer, Ron Gilbert, came in one day and said, ‘Is that what I’m paying them for?’
“Everyone from the producer to the star of the movie have been so kind to us – bending over backwards to accomodate us and Sophia’s sleeping and eating schedule.”
All of which may explain why what was scheduled to be four shooting days with Sophia became nine days, at last count.
Rob attributes it partly to the wishes of Montgomery – best known for her starring role in the television crime series Without A Trace – who found it better to work with Sophia than the rubber stand-in baby the filmmakers were originally planning to use in medium and long-shot scenes.
Parenthood has been a late arrival in the lives of Rob, a former senior Vancouver police officer who opted to take early retirement after 29 years on the force, and Cheryl, who is currently on maternity leave from her high-profile position as president of the Burnaby Hospital Foundation.
As proud as they are of Sophia, one must hasten to add they are equally proud of of her siblings, Sophia’s twin Lauren and big brother Sam, three.
Rob said that when he and Cheryl first became a couple 15 years ago in Vancouver, children were not in the cards.
But when he had retired and a close friend had trouble finding daycare for her daughter, Rob found himself in a new role of caring for a child – and discovered he liked it.
“Cheryl and I were sitting talking one day and I said ‘You know how we said we both didn’t want children…’”
The couple had no thought of putting their children into films and commercials until they were approached by the girlfriend of Rob’s nephew.
“We didn’t even know she was an agent,” Rob said.
But they’ve since warmed to the idea – Sam is also registered, and has already been shortlisted for some major commercials.
They don’t count themselves as stage parents, they say, but, should the children want to continue in film and commercials they can see advantages in gathering nest eggs for their future education.
Lauren was the twin they were originally going to take to the casting call for Strange Magic, but at the last minute Cheryl decided to take both girls along.
There were some 50 other babies up for the role, they say. They believe that Sophia was picked because she’s much more ready with her dazzling smiles than her more-reserved twin.
“Lauren’s the one who’s going to be a lawyer,” Cheryl laughed.