Your new movie The
Great Charade - in a few words, what is it about, and what can you
tell us about your character in it?
is a new independent feature by the fab team at Rodeax, spanning the genres of psychological thriller and dark
comedy: Two of Hollywood’s biggest stars (and real-life couple), Amara
Giovani (Francesca Louise White [Francesca
Louise White interview - click here]) and Ryan Sterling (Ricardo
Freitas [Ricardo Freitas
interview - click here]) wake
up, somewhere, bound to chairs. They are, as you may have guessed, not
alone. With them are their biggest fans, Lyle (Marcus Davis-Orrom [Marcus
Davis Orrom interview - click here]) and
Dixie Lee (myself). The twisted and captivating story unfolds from there.
Dixie is the female antagonist of the film. She was dealt a bad hand in
this game we call life and also made some pretty bad choices which led her
to this moment. She is consumed by rage and sorrow and tries to heal the
best way she knows how.
Being an actress
yourself, how close to home did the experiences your character had, the
disappointments she suffered hit?
I don’t want to go into
detail here because I don’t want to give away any part of the story, but
I will say that when I first read the script my initial thought was,
“How the hell am I going to play her?” I mean, we had nothing in
common. But the more I got to know Dixie, the more I realized that
wasn’t exactly the case. Yes, her story is a lot more tragic than my
own, but each emotion Dixie felt, I felt, too and I was able to make
connections just on smaller scales.
What did you draw upon
to bring your character to life, and how much Candice Palladino can we
find in Dixie?
I think a lot of Dixie’s impetus comes from the rejections she’s
faced and how she values herself. Luckily, actresses have a whole slew of
stuff like that in their arsenal, so (I wish I was kidding)… I focused
on that minefield first to figure out why, having experienced what she
did, might she make certain decisions throughout her life. I then let
myself play from there.
How much of me is in Dixie? This is a bit tricky, but I keep coming
back to the fact that I am at Dixie’s core. My brain, my heart, my
courage (sorry, I had to…). I mean, yeah, we have different accents and,
thankfully, different hair, but I’m there. So, there’s a lot me in
her. If my circumstances were different, who knows how I would have turned
out... But, just to be clear I think it’s important for me to say that I
have no intentions of kidnapping anyone and tying them to a chair.
How did you get involved with the project
in the first place, and how did you end up on the production side of
things as well?
The directors Dan and Rodeo Strange [Rodeo and
Daniel Strange interview - click here] have been in my life for a while and I feel extremely
fortunate to have met them. I sent them a self-tape years ago for their
short film The White Room and got the part! That was when I was
starting to dip my toe in the water of screen acting and was learning as I
went. It must have been kismet because we got along so well both as humans
and artists, stayed in touch, and continued to work together on different
projects. I can still vividly remember our last short film, Blood
Child. They just yelled “Cut” for the final shot and gathered us
around for an announcement. With tears in their eyes, they thanked us for
all our hard work and said they weren’t going to be making short films
anymore. Then, with a bit of a dramatic pause, they said they were going
to make their first feature film and wanted us all along for the ride. It
was such a special moment! Needless to say, hugs and happiness were in
abundance. I feel extremely lucky to have been with them on this journey
and am so excited to see what the future holds.
means so much to the entire team. We worked our asses
off and want to be able to bring it to as many people as possible. Through
conversations and brainstorming, I realized I could give support to the
post-production process. So I offered my services and they were accepted!
What can you tell us about your
directors Rodeo and Daniel Strange [Rodeo and
Daniel Strange interview - click here], and what was your collaboration like?
short, they are fantastic. But everyone needs a big head so I’ll go on
(don’t tell them I said that, ha). They’re the type of artists who
know exactly what they want and aren’t afraid to go and make it happen.
But through all of their confidence in their projects they’re not scared
or intimidated by other people’s opinions. In fact, they ask for and use
them. The entire process is an open book of conversation and it’s just a
fabulous way to work. And, yes you’re right… it was a true
collaboration! They didn’t tell us to “walk here, say the line this
way, and move off.” It was a constant conversation from the finalizing
of the script to now. I had a question or suggestion? We talked about it
and didn’t stop until each party was happy. And that wasn’t just
between us. Everyone involved with the film had a voice and it was
especially wonderful playing and sharing the lives of these characters
with Ricardo, Francesca, and Marcus. I absolutely love working with Rodeax
and think any crew member and performer is lucky to be on their set.
few words about the shoot as such, and the on-set atmosphere?
The few words that come to mind: epic, long, tiring, hilarious. The
days were LONG. And by days I should say nights. Due to location
restrictions we were getting to set at 5pm and leaving at 5am (enter
deliriousness), but through it all there was this huge sense of “We are
going to make the best damn thing we can,” and everyone pulled together.
We also laughed a ton. And I don’t mean we’d audibly chuckle every now
and then. I mean, the tears streaming down our face kind of laughter
(I’m really excited for the BTS video). The deliriousness really helped
future projects you'd like to share?
writing a feature film and a stage play about two different women I have
created. Both scripts are still in their early stages, but it’s been
wonderful digging into their worlds and figuring out exactly where their
What got you into
acting in the first place, and did you receive any formal training on the
It was actually all through music. My elementary
school music teachers (Brian O’Connor, James Stehlik, and Jim Coscette)
were fabulous and I will remember them always. It first started with
learning instruments and then singing. That’s where things started to
hit home. Pretty soon I was doing musical theater and I never looked back.
I went to a performing arts high school on Long Island (Long Island High
School for the Arts), got a Bachelor of Fine Arts from New York
University’s TISCH School of the Arts (Department of Drama),
and then my MA in Musical Theatre Performance (graduated with distinction)
Royal Scottish Academy of Musical and Drama (now the Royal Conservatoire
of Scotland). Somehow through all my musical theatre training, I found
the screen… Or maybe I should say the screen found me.
What can you tell us about your filmwork prior
to The Great Charade?
Based on my history, I still consider myself a bit new to film, but
I’ve had the chance to work with some fabulous people on short films. A
few include: Obviously, there’s the Rodeax
team. Then, I met and worked
with Ben Murray of ThatMoose Pictures. He is so talented and I’m
excited for our short Eat My Life to be finished with the
post-production process. I’m also really proud of winning Best Actress
and nominated for Best of Fest at the Actors Awards for The Getaway
directed by Shervin Shirazian and Nicholas Cooke.
would you describe yourself as an actress, and some of your techniques to
bring your characters to life?
Ha, I almost feel like someone else besides me should answer this, but
I’ll give it my best shot. I’m a dramatic character actress and
comedienne… Someone who isn’t afraid to take chances… Someone who
brings a touch of humor and a boat load of honesty to everything she
touches. My techniques for a character? Firstly, I’ll comb through the script
to get all of the information I can about who my character is. Then,
I’ll work on lines. I need to know them backwards and forwards (for
Dixie’s monologue I NEVER would have gotten through it if I was even a
tad bit iffy). Next, I spend HOURS on who the character is and figuring out how
they feel in my body... How they walk and talk. I spend as much time as
possible with them just being so that when it comes time to it, it all
becomes second nature. It can definitely be hard letting that person go
after a shoot or run of a show, but I always try and say goodbye and thank
them for allowing me in.
Actresses (and indeed
actors) who inspire you?
I think I’m more inspired by
performances and projects as a whole. And I think that’s because, yes,
one person can be fabulous but if the whole world created is not up to
scratch then I don’t believe it. So, I love anything Amy
Sherman-Palladino touches (there’s no known relation, but Amy… if
you’re reading, I would KILL to be in anything that comes from your
brain). I do love Melissa McCarthy as well. I remember weeping like a
baby at Roberto Benigni’s Life is Beautiful. Lin-Manuel Miranda and
Hamilton are electric. I saw Company in the West End last year on the
night Jenwaa Saayeng stepped in for Rosalie Craig due to illness. It was
one of the most beautiful nights of theatre I have ever witnessed. Jenwaa
was mesmerizing, as well as the rest of the cast. That night they
re-defined the definition of the word ‘team’ and I thank them for the
gift they gave us. And, speaking of musical theatre, have you seen Fosse/Verdon?! Currently, I’m obsessing over the TV shows
Dark and GLOW.
I finished season 2 of Dark a few months ago but it is STILL with me. My
metaphorical hats are off to everyone involved. And I’m currently on
season 3 of GLOW. There aren’t enough good things I could say about it
Your favourite movies?
that have stayed with me for different reasons are Legally Blonde,
and the Tramp (the original cartoon – yes, I am obsessed with dogs, how
did you know?), The Strangers (it hit me deep, probably one of the
scariest movies I’ve seen).
and of course, films you really deplore?
It doesn’t seem
fair to kiss and tell!
Facebook, whatever else?
Anything else you're dying to
mention and I have merely forgotten to ask?
I want to take a moment just sit right here to thank everyone involved
with the making of the film: Dan and Rodeo [Rodeo and
Daniel Strange interview - click here], you were the best captains.
Will Tullet (DoP) and Sam Ashby (cinematographer), your unwavering
dedication and determination was incredible. Katie Johnson (HMU), you are a creative genius.
Maxwell Riches (sound recordist), you faced every challenge with grace. Lacey Sandiford
(script supervisor), you were always THERE, and that is
everything. Philip Boobyer (caterer), you were so attentive (and your food was
delicious). Richard Wakefield (photographer), you are a stunning artist.
STUNNING. Sam Scholfied (BTS
videographer), you should think about training to be
a ninja because you have skills (with the video camera, also)! And the cast…
it would not been the same with each and every one of
them. Ricardo [Ricardo Freitas
interview - click here] is a force, Francesca [Francesca
Louise White interview - click here] a godsend to the industry, and Marcus [Marcus
Davis Orrom interview - click here]
a light in the darkness.
I also want to thank Susie Dumbreck and the entire team at Infinity
Artist Management. I could not do all I have without your love and